A recent study in Italy focused on how primary headaches (ie migraine and chronic tension-type headache) impacted the sex lives of women. This was a small, simple study meant to introduce an important topic.
100 women were a part of the study. All were headache or migraine patients.
Of course it’s not surprising that headache disorders impact sexuality. It was common for the patients to have unusually low sexual desire, to have problems with sexual function, and to worry about sex (sexual distress).
Although it was common, the problems were still in the minority. For any given issue, most women did not have a major problem. (In fact, we know that sometimes migraine attacks bring with them increased sexual desire)
However, if 1-in-4 or 1-in-5 women have a particular problem, the numbers are still unusually high.
What perhaps makes this study most interesting, however, is the difference in patients diagnosed with chronic tension-type headache.
Although both migraineurs and tension-type headache patients often reported low sexual desire and pain during sex, the women with chronic tension-type headache were significantly more likely to develop sexual distress. In fact, a full 45.5% – almost 1 in 2 – reported distress about sex.
Knowing about the risk for these symptoms should help patients, partners and health professionals deal with the issues. Sometimes being aware is all that is needed to pay special attention and find extra help.