All about ‘Sex Headaches’

Headaches that are triggered by sexual activity are known as ‘sex headaches’ (medically known as ‘coital cephalalgia’). This headache causes sharp pain around the base of the skull and in the upper parts of neck as well. As it is directly associated with the sexual activities, it may raise with the increase in sexual pleasure. In many cases, it comes all of a sudden during, or just after an orgasm.

Generally, sex headaches are nothing to worry about, however in few cases (rare), these headaches can be serious and harm the blood vessels that feed your brain.



Any sexual activity (including intercourse, masturbation and even oral sex) that leads to an orgasm can be the reason of sex headaches.

Below mentioned are the specified causes that lead to sex headaches:

  1. Rise in blood pressure and fastening of heartbeat.
  2. Subarachnoid hemorrhage- Bleeding around or inside the brain.
  3. Sex headaches can also be triggered by bleeding inside the arteries that are linked to the brain.
  4. Regular intake of birth controlling pills can also work as trigger for sex headaches.
  5. Sinus infection, inflammation of the paranasal sinuses that can be because of allergy, infection or autoimmune problems.
  6. Coronary artery disease- Accumulation of fats inside the walls of arteries, making them narrow.
  7. Pheochromocytoma- vascular tumor of adrenal gland.
  8. Glaucoma- Rise of pressure inside the eyeball.


On the basis of its nature, sex headaches have been classified into two types:

(I) slow-to-build sex headaches (II) Abrupt sex headaches. Each of these has their own symptoms.

‘Slow-to-build sex headache’ is the result of tightening of head and neck muscles and as suggested by the name, it comes gradually and does last for some time, whereas ‘Abrupt sex headache’ is the one that comes all of a sudden during orgasm. It may/may not last for long.

Other symptoms include:

  1. Mild ache in both the sides of the head.
  2. Stretch in neck and jaw muscles.
  3. Heaviness of the head before orgasm.
  4. Gradual increase in headache with the rise of sexual excitement.



There are several methods to diagnose sex headaches. The most prominent methods are mentioned below:

  1. Brain scans- It is quite likely that your doctor may suggest you a MRI exam of your brain. This is a very successful way to know the root causes of the problem. In this method, radio waves and a magnetic field are used to make cross sectional picture of the composition inside your brain.
  2. Angiograms- Angiograms are generally suggested by the doctor during the treatment of sex headaches, as with this test, the doctor gets a fair idea of the condition of brain and neck arteries.
  3. Spinal tap- This method of diagnosis is recommended if the sex headache is abrupt in nature. In this method, doctor takes a sample of the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. They examine it to find if there is any sign of infection or bleeding, or not.


It has been seen that in most of the cases, first sex headache is the last one too. Whereas in some other cases, it lasts for such a short period of time, that they are gone before you take a pill for it. But there are certain cases in which it lasts longer. If you find yourself in that condition, it is advised not to get involved in any sexual activity until the previous sex headache is completely gone. Such cases must not be taken lightly and you must start its treatment as soon as possible, otherwise it can be lot more troubling that you can expect it to be.

If you consistently remain troubled by severe sex headaches, then there is strong probability that your doctor will prescribe you any of the below mentioned drugs.

  1. Indomethacin- It is an anti-inflammatory that is known for its magical affect on sex headaches.
  2. Triptans- It is a segment of anti-migraine drugs.
  3. Even Beta blockers, (like propranolol or metoprolol) can also be recommended for quick relief from sex headaches.

The above mentioned three medications are the ones that are commonly prescribed by most of the medical experts all around the world.


Sex HeadachesThere are a few tips which if followed, can keep you away from sex headaches. You can also follow these tips if you are already troubled by sex headache or undergoing it.

  1. While performing sexual activity, people often gets rough in the arousing moments. Try to be in control in those moments! Being gentle can keep you away from such headaches.
  2. Try not to stretch your body muscles before/during/after an orgasm. That stretch can trigger sex headache.
  3. If you are already suffering from it, it is suggested not to do any sort of sexual activity, until you are totally relieved from it. Otherwise, your pain may increase.
  4. If you have been experiencing sex headache, then better get some drugs prescribed for yourself. These drugs should be consumed before doing any sexual activity.

Frequently asked questions

Despite of the fact that sex headache is quite a common health problem, people aren’t much aware about it. Hence there are several questions that people ask regarding sex headaches. Few most commonly asked questions with their answers are mentioned here:

  1. Is it some serious trouble? – Generally not!
  2. Should I be bothered or ignorant about it? – See, if it’s the first or second time that you had sex headache, then it’s okay. Try the above mention prevention tips and hopefully it won’t come back. However, it you have been experiencing it consistently, then you better don’t ignore it.
  3. Does this problem have any over the counter medication? – No!
  4. Is it curable? – Of course yes! It is not any disease. It is just a health issue.
  5. Is there any home remedy to get rid of sex headaches? – Not really! All what you can do at your home to get rid of it, is to follow the prevention tips.

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