Are Sex Headaches Dangerous?

Before we get into the details, here’s the bottom line. If you are experiencing sex induced headache, and you haven’t seen a doctor, you need to do so right away.

Now that that’s clear, let’s go into more depth. Are sex headaches dangerous?
Are sex headaches dangerous?
In some cases, sex headaches can be dangerous. But if we’re talking about a headache that is a sign of something life-threatening, most sex headaches are not putting you in immediate danger.

If you have ever experienced a massive headache upon climaxing, you know that life-threatening or not, a sex headache can be quite a serious interruption to life and intimacy.

The headaches most commonly related to intercourse are classified as primary headache associated with sexual activity. Why “primary”? A primary headache is diagnosed when the headache (and/or related symptoms) are primary – that is, there is no apparent underlying disorder that is causing the headache. For example, if you are hit in the head, the headache is secondary. If you have a blood clot leading to headache symptoms, the headache is secondary. This is not always a clear and easy differentiation.

These sex headaches are also commonly called orgasm headaches. You may experience a massive headache upon climaxing, or a headache that increases along with sexual excitement, or an abrupt headache that “explodes” just before orgasm.

These headaches are probably not life-threatening, but again, you need to see a doctor right away.

What causes sex headaches? If it’s a primary headache, there are several theories. The headaches may be a response to pressure in the head or problems with the circulation system. There may also be biological problems in the body’s neurological system, leading to hypersensitivity and wrong signals being sent chemically.

However, there is a much more serious cause of sex headaches. Many people ask about headaches during sex and exercise, or they ask – are exertion headaches dangerous?

Some headaches may be cause by fluids leaking from around the brain and spinal cord (a CSF leak). In this case, the headache may increase with a change of posture. With proper tests and treatment, a CSF leak will usually go away in time. Without proper treatment, there can be serious complications, such as swelling of the brain.

There are other headaches which can be brought on by exertion, which have an underlying cause. Aneurysm, stroke, and brain tumour are examples. Other danger signals are headaches that get worse over time, that come with other symptoms (for example dizziness, visual problems, a change in behaviour, seizure, or nausea), and headaches that start abruptly.

But remember, these things can be very difficult to diagnose. Some serious conditions can show no symptoms at all, while some very severe symptoms may be a sign of a disease that isn’t life threatening and can be easily treated.

Either way, a new headache or a change in symptoms should be warning enough to get to a doctor and spend some time investigating.

Is there a cure for sex headache? That will all depend on the cause or diagnosis. There are excellent treatments for most kinds of sex headaches, but as with any headache disorder it can take time to find what works for you.

If you’re struggling with sex headaches, you can be hopeful that you can find good treatment and leave them behind. But they are never something to be ignored.

For more information:

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10 Highlights from the past 3 Months (July 2015 edition)

New products to help us fight migraine, cutting-edge research, and much more this month! As usual, the most popular posts come first (except I cheated and put the two posts on dysautonomia together), and the ones in bold received the most likes on Facebook.

  1. Dizziness – Migraine – Could they be Dysautonomia Symptoms?
  2. Dysautonomia and Migraine
  3. Do you really have “Migraine”?
  4. A Review of Icekap
  5. Botox and CGRP – and the Future of Migraine Treatment
  6. Headache? Instead of a pill, rub this on your skin…
  7. Stroke and “Common” Migraine: A Genetic Connection?
  8. More Concerns About Narcotics in a Migraine Emergency
  9. The Secret of MigreLief-NOW
  10. Are Solar Flares Giving Me A Headache?
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If Your Pain Is Genetic – Could you “Control” Your Genes?

Over the past few years, we’ve learned that there is a strong genetic component to migraine, to say the least. Genetics may go a long way toward explaining why those “triggers” cause contortions of pain in some people, and go unnoticed in others.

So is that it? Are we doomed, at least until some high-tech genetic splicing and dicing can be developed?

No, we’re not exactly doomed. There are a lot of excellent treatments out there. But recent research is raising new questions about our genes and how they work.

A study published in the journal Natural Communications investigated the activity of 22,822 genes in the body, and found that 5,136 of them – almost a quarter – changed their activity depending on the time of year.

What changes? A couple of examples are inflammation and immunity. Inflammation seems to be more “suppressed” in the summer months.

Seasons and GeneticsThe majority of these changes are probably just ways that the body responds to and adapts to environmental changes. More diseases out there? Time to ramp up the immune system.

But what exactly is causing the change of activity? Is it temperature changes? Humidity? Sunlight (and so more vitamin D)?

What if we found that certain genetic activity was triggering migraine attacks – and what if we could “control” that activity by controlling our environment – better lighting, perhaps, or more or less exposure to temperature changes.

If you think this sounds impossibly complicated, it might help to remember how far genetic research has come in the last decade. Besides, we may already be “controlling” genetic activity more than we realize, by recognizing and targeting triggers.

Professor Mike Turner, Head of Infection and Immunobiology at the Wellcome Trust, says:

This is an excellent study which provides real evidence supporting the popular belief that we tend to be healthier in the summer. Seasonal variation to this extent is a fascinating find – the activity of many of our genes, as well as the composition of our blood and fat tissue, varies depending on the seasons. Although we are still unclear of the mechanism that governs this variation, one possible outcome is that treatment for certain diseases could be more effective if tailored to the seasons.

For more information:

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Botox and CGRP – and the Future of Migraine Treatment

A new study about Botox and CGRP confirms some of our suspicions, and may point the way to future migraine research and treatment.

Although it’s really started making headlines over the past year or two, the study of CGRP in migraine has been heating up over the past 20 years. CGRP stands for calcitonin gene-related peptide neurotransmitter. These neurotransmitters are especially involved in the communication of pain messages in the body (see The Secret of CGRP).

Early on, researchers began to suspect that CGRP levels rose during a migraine attack – so far nothing surprising.

However, researchers next began to discover that CGRP levels tended to be higher in migraine patients all the time, although levels seemed to drop with triptan treatments.

Test tubeA study in 2013 showed that women with various types of migraine and cluster had elevated levels of CGRP in their blood (between attacks). Among those with migraine, those with chronic migraine had the highest levels – and among those with chronic migraine, migraine with aura showed the highest levels of all.

That finally brings us to the research related to Botox. As many of you know, Botox treatment works well for some people, and not for others. Why?

Last year we talked about a study which showed that people with high levels of CGRP were far more likely to benefit from Botox (onabotulinumtoxin type A) treatments.

Last month, another study confirmed the same thing. Once again, patients with higher levels of CGRP were more likely to respond well to treatment.

But a month after the Botox treatment, levels of responders dropped – although the levels in nonresponders did not.

We are left with a lot of unanswered questions – but those questions could drive migraine research in the direction it needs to go.

Why the different levels of CGRP? Exactly what role do CGRP levels play in migraine? Could this point us to an underlying cause or disorder?

Perhaps more importantly – why the differences?

Over the past few years, research has shown us again and again and again – not all migraine disease is the same. There are “different migraines”, with different treatments, different symptoms, and different neurological manifestations.

And yet we still so often talk about “migraine” as if it’s one thing and one thing only.

Those in cancer research and treatment are learning this the hard way as well – not all cancer is the same, not all cancer is equally dangerous, and not all cancer should be treated in the same way.

Migraine research is going – and must go – the same direction.

Imagine going to the lab for tests – and then being diagnosed with a specific type of migraine – and then getting treatment for that type specifically. Your chances of excellent treatment will go way up.

For now, we have an important way forward for research into CGRP levels, and for Botox treatment. In the future – something much bigger and better.

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Are Solar Flares Giving Me A Headache?

Many people suggest that solar activity has an impact on their migraine attacks or cluster headache cycles. But could there really be a connection?

The short answer is – yes, there could be a connection. But understanding, confirming and explaining it is very difficult.

So how exactly does activity on the sun affect the earth?

Solar Flares, Migraine and Cluster HeadacheTo explain briefly, solar activity can send a geomagnetic storm toward the earth. For the most part, we are well protected from these storms, which is why they don’t generally make headline news. The biggest concern is usually satellites and electrical grids and equipment (including implants for heart patients).

We do know that magnetic fields are especially important to certain animals, such as those who use the earth’s magnetic field to find direction.

It seems reasonable that changes in the magnetic field could impact human biology. In fact, there have been some studies done that suggest a connection between geomagnetic storms and lifespan (see here also), depression, and other diseases.

A connection – but why? Are solar storms affecting the earth in some way that in turn affects our environments and in turn affects our bodies? Or is there a more direct connection? What exactly are the storms doing? Changing brain activity? Changing our cells? Confusing neurological signals?

The questions about these global storms is as complex as the environment in which we live.

Yes, there have been connections suggested to the severity of migraine attacks (see Geomagnetic Activity and the Severity of the Migraine Attack) and cluster headache cycles (Cluster headaches and solar activity?).

If you would like the check for yourself if there is any connection, the information is a bit complicated but there are resources. The NASA website has a question and answer about migraine and solar activities here. The links are out of date, but you can still find the information on solar activity at the Space Weather Prediction Center. Check also NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

At spaceweather.com you can actually sign up for alerts if there is solar flare activity.

If you’ve seen a connection between your health and geomagnetic storms, leave a comment! We would love to hear from you.

See also: Headache from WiFi? Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity

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