Treatment of Orgasm Headaches

Orgasmic headaches, or “sex headaches,” are little understood and are experienced by relatively few people, most of them young men.  Those unlucky sufferers experience sudden, explosive head pain right as they climax or just before.  While this severe headache is painful and comes at an embarrassing time, sufferers can find relief.

What Are Orgasm Headaches, and What Causes Them?

While very little is definitely known about what causes orgasm headaches, one common theory among medical professionals is that the sudden excessive opening of the blood vessels may cause them.  Other doctors think it may be caused by the adrenaline that floods your body during an orgasm.

ALthough orgasmic headaches are very severe, they are usually harmless, but are still dangerous to ignore. According to the Mayo Clinic, they may be indicative of problems with “the blood vessels that feed your brain.”  WebMD says they may also be indicative of a “space-occupying lesion in the brain, like a tumor or an aneurysm.”  Though these health dangers are uncommon, it is for this reason health professionals recommend that you urgently see your doctor or go to an emergency room if you are experiencing an orgasmic headache for the first time.

What Are Orgasm Headache Triggers?

Orgasm headaches are triggered by having an orgasm and by sexual excitement, whether during sex or masturbation.  They may occur before, during, or after an orgasm.  Another possible contributor is intense emotional stress.

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What are the Symptoms of Orgasm Headaches?

Orgasm headaches are hard to mistake for anything else, simply because they only occur during sex or masturbation, and no other headache does.

While people with migraines are more likely to experience orgasm headaches, the headache they experience when having an orgasm is very different in symptoms from a migraine. Among some differences, it is not localized on one side of the head and is not accompanied by vision distortion as migraines so often are.

  • Location: The pain associated with orgasm headaches is usually located at the back of the head just at the base of the skull.
  • Type: Orgasm headache pain is often very intense and comes on suddenly.  Some experience instead a dull pain that begins to build with sexual excitement.

In rare cases, orgasm headaches are accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

  • Severity: Orgasm headaches are very intense.
  • Duration: Orgasm headaches are usually brief.  They may only last for a few minutes, but sometimes take several hours to subside.

As to frequency, a person may only experience an orgasm headache once.  More commonly, however, someone who has experienced an orgasm headache will continue to experience them for a couple weeks every time he or she has sex.  After that, they tend to permanently disappear.

Types of Orgasm Headaches

Headaches that are considered orgasmic are those that come on just before, during, or after an orgasm.  There are three different patterns in which orgasm headaches are manifested.

The first and most common is a “sudden onset” pattern.  70% of orgasm headaches fit this category.  Here the pain comes on very quickly just before, during, or after climax. Severe and throbbing pain builds quickly over a few minutes or is felt all at once.

The second pattern is called “subacute.” 25% of sufferers experience “subacute” orgasm headaches.  A “subacute” orgasm headache begins much earlier on in sex.  Pain is localized in the lower half of the back of the head, and gradually increases in severity until climax.  They are sometimes accompanied with nausea and vomiting.

The third pattern is called “postural.”  These are headaches that occur in the elderly and are often the result of neck muscle spasm because of an uncomfortable position.

Risk factors

Little is known about what makes some individuals susceptible to orgasm headaches.  Health professionals do know that more men suffer than women and the men suffering are usually younger.  Emotional stress and poor physical conditioning may be a contributor. .

  • Gender: Orgasm headaches are 3 times more common in men than women.
  • Age: Orgasm headaches are more common in young men than older men.  They occur most often in men 20-25 and 35-45.
  • Ethnicity: So far a correlation between ethnicity and susceptibility to orgasm headaches have not been made.
  • Family: So far a hereditary correlation has not been made.
  • Migraines: Studies show that those who have migraines are more likely to have orgasm headaches.
  • Emotional Stress: Some studies have shown that high emotional stress may make someone more susceptible to getting migraine headaches.

Treatment Options

Because there is little known about orgasm headaches, there is little one can do to avoid them entirely, other than never having sex.  Doctors have, however, had success in using pharmaceuticals to treat orgasm headaches to relieve pain and prevent them from flaring up again. Regular aerobic exercise can also provide relief.


Taking pain relief medication 1 to 2 hours before sex can sometimes prevent and usually reduce the pain of orgasm headaches.  Medications that are known to be effective include Migralex.

If treatment right before sex is ineffective, patients may need to take a daily prescription medication instead.  For this patients should consult with their doctor. Because almost all cases of orgasm headaches go away after a few weeks, patients who decide to take medication preventatively should only do so for a short period of time.

Reducing stress may help to prevent recurrence of orgasm headaches as well.

Positional sex-induced headaches are relieved by changing position and strengthening neck exercises.

Immediate Treatment

The first thing that you should do is make the problem known to your partner so he or she doesn’t take your reaction personally.  After that, there are several treatments known to relieve the pain that you can try.

  • Lie Flat and Still:  When you begin to experience an orgasm headache, try to relax and lie still for a couple hours.
  • Slow down: According to WebMD, “roughly half of the patients said they were able to lessen the severity of the headaches by slowing down the period of sexual excitement.”
  • Indomethacin: Indomethacin is a NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) prescription pain medicine that doctors have found effective in treating orgasm headaches.
  • Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers, also used to treat migraines, have been very effective in treating orgasm headaches.

One of the best ways to treat the severe pain of an orgasm headache is with a strong, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever like  Migralex (available online).  Because orgasm headaches are so severe, most non-prescription medicines simply are not strong enough to provide the patient with the relief they need.

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