Orgasm-Triggered Migraine

An instantaneous explosion of unbelievable pain perfectly describes the first post-orgasm migraine I’ve ever had. (At least the first one I’ve been able to correlate.) The pain overwhelms any thought about what this might mean for my sex life, but I know it isn’t good. Why can’t I be one of the lucky people for whom orgasms relieve migraines?

Orgasm, Headache and Migraine: Does the “Big O” Affect Headaches and Migraine? is a well-researched explanation of the contradictory phenomena of sex and orgasms triggering headaches or migraines or relieving them, sometimes entirely.


23 Responses to “Orgasm-Triggered Migraine”

  1. deborah Says:

    file that under; “well if it isn’t one thing, it’s definitely ANOTHER!” And doesn’t it figure they go, you know, THERE, of all places.

    So, I’ve been there with the hmm, trigger?? But not everytime. and there is no aura, either. No rhyme or reason. Just happens. Pretty much out of the freaking blue when I don’t expect it. Sorry to say. I am real sorry Kerrie. That totally sucks. But I will say, for me at least, it’s not EVERY time. Hopefully, this will be of some comfort for you.

  2. Kelly Says:

    That totally sucks, but it could be worse. At least yours didn’t happen until “post” orgasm. Mine happen just “pre” orgasm; I’m sure you can imagine what that does to the mood. Talk to your doctors about this right away and get help before it destroys your sex life.

    It only had to happen a few times before it really started to mess with mine. At first I thought my arousal problems were caused by a bad relationship, but the relationship wasn’t that serious and I wasn’t that upset about its end.

    That was three years ago. My interest in sex has declined further since that time mainly because the pain destroyed my ability to become aroused beyond a certain point and orgasm is an impossibility. I’ve tried a number of ways to reverse the problem without success. Thankfully, I’m single right now so I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s needs, but that will change eventually and I’ll have to deal with this again.

    I think delay was part of my problem, so don’t make my mistake.

    Good luck Kerrie.


  3. Kerrie Smyres Says:

    Thanks for the support and suggestions. I’ll definitely talk to my doctor about it.


  4. Christina P Says:

    Anyone else notice that that article was written in 2003?

    Aside from the abbreviated list of triptans, the articles cited are from 2001 and 1999 respectively, and there is more recent data available.

    The headache content is not what it used to be–that’s for sure.

  5. Annie Says:

    ive been having post orgasm mirgraines for a whlie now….on and off. how do i stop them? is there any medicine you take? aleve does no good! its unbearable.

  6. Megan Says:

    Annie take a look at this article by Teri Robert on My Migraine Connection – you will find several suggestions there on how to treat and even prevent them.
    – Megan

  7. Darin Says:

    Your not alone!

    I have suffered from intractable migraine disease for 25+ years. I have one a week sometimes two. I have also suffered from Climax headache “coital cephalgia” for the same amount of time and it happens even during masturbation. It happens about one out of every five times I have intercourse. As any male will know the point just prior to orgasm can NOT be stopped and once it starts you MUST finish so the ice pick in my brain is something you know is happening but CAN NOT STOP.Even when you stop intercourse it still happens so you might as well have the fun part along with the excruciating part. I always say there is nothing that feels so good and hurts so bad all at the same time. Mine last for about five minutes or I sometimes get a full blown migraine out of it one hour later. he trick to getting them to calm down for me is to have my wife push down on my shoulders because they are up to my ears cringing from the pain. Then she rubs (very hard) my occipital region ( the point at the base of the skull). This helps get rid of it sooner. Try and relax during intercourse and NOT let the upper part of you body stiffen up. Don’t get up on your fists and hold yourself over your partner. Its a recipe for disaster. I know, its hard to do but if you aviod this position it helps a lot!

    I call them suicide headaches. Its one thing to ramp up to the that level of pain over a four to six hour period but to have it all hit you within 15 seconds is more than I can bear sometimes. I usually fall off the bed, roll around on the floor and breath fast and heavy trying to catch my breath and breath through the pain. People who have these laugh at loud when others call them “headaches”. Headache my eye, they are a brain explosion! It will put a damper on your sex life thats for sure.

    Its nothing to be ashamed of. Talk with your doctor.

  8. Joe Says:

    Brain explosion is exactly what it’s like!

    It happened to me for the first time yesterday. I’ve been looking everywhere for what it was, since I don’t tend to get a lot of headaches, and certainly never did (mine happened immediately after orgasm). It was like being electrified. I felt like a pavlov dog collar was around my neck and had zapped me for “barking”. I felt the pain from the front of the throat, where the thyroid gland is located, thru to the back of my neck at the base of my skull, and simultaneously sharp stabbing pains pressuring in my temples and behind my eyes on both sides. My girlfriend asked me questions about tingling in my extremities and made me move arms and legs, and looked into my eyes to see if one eye was more dilated than the other. None of these symptoms were there, so we didn’t go straight to the ER. The headache went away relatively quickly as I rested for about 20 minutes.

    I was more afraid that it was an aneurism than anything else, just like others who’ve had this happen to them. I’m 38 and have never had anything like this happen to me in my life. I reason that it would be the best way to go out of this world (“he died while getting off”), but my girlfriend complains this would leave her stigmatized and no one would want her ever again.

    From what I understand so far, if you have it for the first time and you aren’t a teenager, you should get a ct scan to search for possible brain bleeding. Most of these are benign, but you can’t really know if there was a weak-walled vessel that has suddenly sprung a leak. So you get the CT scan done. So that’s what I’m doing.

    Of everything anyone has said, Darin’s testimonial here resonates the most. I was on my fists. I notice that most people this is happening to tend to be people who have a high sex drive, getting their O’s on more than once in a day. My girlfriend and I have celebrated our libidos, but we are concerned about the “damper” effect. I fear the pain, and she fears she’ll kill me.

    What I’m most curious about is whether this is actually vascular (I have very low blood pressure, but when I achieve orgasm my heartrate speeds up, my temperature rises to the point of sweating profusely, and it stands to reason that my normally very low blood pressure will have risen), or whether this is related to neurotransmitter-paths–an electrical short of some kind within the pleasure area of the brain.

    Are there any major studies going on about this?

  9. bill - UK Says:

    this type of headache started with me at age 40, out of the blue. I saw the doc and took a UK drug Imigran for a while, which is strong and made me feel quite weird. The explosions stopped after a couple of months, I wasn’t sure if the drug helped or not. About 2 years later I had a short repeat, it’s now 6 years and during my vacation a repeat explosion occurred, extreme pain at the point of orgasm. Currently masturbation to orgasm is also bad, so time to keep to pleasure at a lower level. I may call the doc to mark the date but otherwise will keep fit, try to de-stress, and patiently wait for the problem to vanish.

  10. Chance Says:

    Hi, I’m a 28yr old male that just had a wisdom tooth pulled 6 days ago. I not sure if the headaches are caused by that or has no relations to it but, it happened 3 times now. Twice, during masturbation and once during intercourse w/ my wife. It happens just befor climaxe. The first time during masturbation, it hurt so bad, i couldn’t finish. I get this sudden pain in the back of my lower head and it goes down the left side of my neck to my upper shoulders. Which the wisdom tooth was my upper left side. The pain last for real intenes for about 10 mins and then turns into just a ache for the next few hours. Never had this before until the tooth was removed, just wondering if this could be from some nerve damage, or just happened at the same time.

    I’m not sure what could be happening. I recommend talking to the doctor who pulled your tooth.

    Good luck,

  11. Vanessa Says:

    It seems as though this is happening to older guys from what i can read above. However I am a 24 year old female who has been sexually active since 18. I have a great sex life and have had no problems. I do masturbate on occasion and today received my first migraine ever right before climaxing. So I stopped because this huge stabbing pain to my left lower head/neck was excruciating. So then i waited and it happened again. The pain lasted 5-10 min. an hour later I tried again and managed to succeed twice but just 10 min ago i wanted to see if it was all a fluke and no it wasnt… now im looking at blogs for the answer and nothing is helping. Guys…Ur not alone

  12. Michelle Says:

    Guys… ur definately NOT alone! Except my headache / migraine focuses on the top front left side of my head and my face also goes numb. This onsets just before orgasm. It’s the only enjoyable thing left in my busy life and now it’s associated with PAIN. Or should I say ‘was’. lol Has anyone experienced this and had the migraines go away and NOT come back? Or am I looking at this for the rest of my life?

  13. Bill Says:

    I have reading everything on the internet about these headaches for the last two days. I am 40 years old and just experienced this for the first time a few days ago. The first time I thought I had just amped up a hangover but the next two times were exactly the same, horrible, throbbing pain starting at the base of the back of my head and wrapping up to behind my eyes. This all happens at the point or just after orgasm. I have had some bouts of either cluster or migrains in the past (maybe one or two a year) not triggered by anything, but this sudden onset is crazy and it lasts a good 24 hours slowly going away. I thought for sure after the last one that I must be having a brain bleed, thank god I am not the only one (sorry).

  14. HN Says:

    I just stumbled across this site while looking for some answers to my own headache questions. I, too, have had these “brain explosion” headaches right at the point of orgasm. Unfortunately, I can’t elaborate on how often they happen, or if they happen every time, because the orgasm in question was my one and only. I’m not exactly what you’d call sexually active. But my question is actually about what happened in the weeks following this episode. Every few days after this happened, I would get a repeat of the worst-pain-I’ve-ever-felt headache, but with NO trigger. It would just happen out of the blue. Same exact pain each time – starting at the base of the skull, flowing over the entire head, and throbbing with each heartbeat. Lying down made it worse, so I was forced to stand up and walk around until the worst of it passed – usually about an hour. After that, if I sat down and hung my head between my knees, it would relieve the pain at least enough for me to think straight. Obviously, I’ve learned I am not the only one who has experienced this the orgasm-induced thunderclap headache, which is quite a relief, but so far, I haven’t come across anyone else who has had these repeats like I have. Does anyone here know anything that might help me out?

    I’m not sure what could be going on. I definitely recommend seeing a doctor.

    Best of luck,

  15. Janice Says:

    Well I’ve had two “brain explosion” headaches (the medical literature also calls them thunderclap headaches). I am in my late 50’s. Mine happened right at the beginning of orgasm while masturbating. Starts with tightening in the neck, but at the end it is like the top of my head will blow off – that part lasted less than a minute. I’ve had a residual headache since. Look at the Mayo Clinic article on sexual headaches –

    I am hoping this will go away (soon) and never recur, but I plan to abstain till the headache is totally gone … just getting aroused causes the symptoms of the residual headache to increase. I have gone to my physician, test have been run, will have to see what she suggests.

  16. ava Says:

    I too have just experienced this awful pain pre orgasm. I am a 47 year old female.

    The pain is so bad that it brings me to tears and will still throb hours later.

    I was afraid it was a stroke as it’s primarily on the left side and starts at the base and goes into the front top of my head.

    On a scale of 1-10 I rate it as a 30. Yes, that’s how bad the pain is.

    I am glad to see that there is a bit of info about this as I did not want to see my doctor about it, though still worried it can cause a stroke or something as it feels like head is exploding.

  17. dee dee Says:

    OMG – I can’t believe this! I am a very healthy 52-year old female. I has this headache for the first time yesterday and was convinced that I had a tumor or a brain bleed going on. I have NEVER heard of such a thing! And all of the descriptions above are right on target – the most intense pain I’ve ever had. My pain stayed concentrated at the base of my brain in back and along my upper neck. I, too, could not lay down, as the throbbing seemed to get worse. I am headed to the doctor tomorrow to check it all out. I am somewhat relieved that I’m not alone, but I’m very concerned about my sex life at this point. I don’t EVER want one of those again!!!!!

  18. Katie Says:

    I experienced some headaches in the past during orgasm, but attributed it to a pinched nerve or some sort of misalignment in my spine. Yesterday, I experienced the end all orgasm and a headache that was so explosive and sudden that I thought I might be having a stroke. It started at the base of my skull and quickly engulfed my entire head, then was over in a matter of minutes.
    I am 37yo, I smoke and am overweight but have been fairly healthy otherwise. Please tell me its not the end of my sexlife. Should I expect this to happen everytime now that its happened once?

  19. Diane Says:

    I experienced the same excruciating pain just prior to orgasm. The pain is indescribable. I can’t open my eyes, lift my head out of the grip of my hands, dry heave and left side of my face goes numb. This intense pain lasts for about 15 minutes (could be less, seems like more). The I have a lingering headache that dissipates with time and ibuprofen. I’ve always had a high libido. I’m 56 and have these on occasion for about 5 years now.

  20. Diane Says:

    p.s. I felt as if a blook clot had traveled to my brain and I was sure if I had not stopped, I would have a devastating stroke.

  21. Diane Says:

    sorry, blood clot… it far surpassed the reality of pain. I felt as if the top of my skull was about to blow off, literally. No exaggeration, more likely an understatement.

  22. JJ Says:

    hey everyone.
    i’m a 28 yr old female and this is the second time-period in my life that i’ve experienced these orgasm induced migraines. like those of you above, i have NEVER felt pain like this in my life (and had never experienced a migraine before this happened). mine show up out of the blue mid-orgasm. the pain is debilitating and blinding; sometimes it hurts to even breathe, since that makes my head pound with each heartbeat.
    the first time this happened to me, i’d have thought it was an anyeurism if i hadn’t known better, but the pain is like a band tightening around my skull, eventually localizing after 15mins to the base of my skull (which then aches for days). all-in-all, the headaches lasted (with eventually-decreasing intensity) for about 2-3 wks, during which time i had many massages and religiously did neck stretches. though the first attack was brought on by orgasm, any exertion can trigger it again afterwards, including exercise.
    i am currently in the midst of my second ‘episode’. about two weeks ago, it happened again (after disappearing for a year). i’ve had ct scans, xrays, carotid ultrasounds – all in the attempts to rule out the cause.
    i have to say, what has helped more than anything else, is a combination of acupuncture and chiro. being able to work out the strain in those tiny areas of muscle in the neck have relieved the strain. as a result, i theorize that this is a result of carrying tension in my neck and shoulders…and then, while orgasming (like many above, usually on top) something triggers the strain and it systemically triggers the headache. makes sense if you examine the muscular architecture of the head.
    anyways, so my best advice is to try chiro and acupuncture if you can…at least the chiro. work on relieving that tension in the neck and not straining the area during sex….and cross your f*cking fingers for us all. Because really, wtf could be worse?

  23. Nancy Says:

    Have been experiencing these for the last several years. I’ve been to a neurologist and had an MRI and an MRA. Everything appears to be normal. But the pain is indescribable and each time I wonder if I really may be having a stroke or aneurism. My doctor recommended Cafergot and hour or two before sexual activity. If I take two it helps some. But this has surely affected my enjoyment of sexual intimacy with my husband.

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