Headaches are a common symptom among American adults. Women are five times more likely to experience migraines than men. Headaches can range from common tension headaches - which are described by dull, aching pain - to debilitating migraines. There are several different headache treatments, like drinking water, taking medication, and exercising. There is, however, an unconventional headache treatment: sex. Studies have shown that having sex can significantly reduce headache pain. Next time you feel a headache coming on, sex may be a treatment option.
Hormone imbalance is a primary cause of headaches in women. Estrogen and progesterone fluctuate during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. This hormone flux causes blood vessels in the scalp to constantly expand and contract, which results in pain. Additional factors that can contribute to headaches include stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, poor diet, and lack of exercise.
A study at the University of Munster in Germany - published in Cephalalgia, the journal of the International Headache Society - concluded that sex can help relieve headaches. Researchers surveyed 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffer from cluster headaches. The study found that:
60% of the migraine patients reported that sex helped reduce migraine pain, and 37% of those suffering from cluster headaches reported pain relief from sex. One in five patients of the study left without any pain at all.
Further results showed sexual activity during a migraine may relieve or even eliminate it in some cases.
According to the same study, you can get headache pain relief no matter who your partner is, which position you use, or which type of sexual activity you engage in - as long as you achieve orgasm.
Researchers identified serotonin - which is a neurotransmitter released in the brain during sex that creates an all-over feel-good sensation - as the painkiller. An orgasm releases dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, which are the opiate-like neurotransmitters that are linked to happy feelings and keep pain messages from reaching the brain. Read more about how to cure headaches naturally.
Endorphins are also released during exercise, causing that feeling of a “runner's high”. These neurotransmitters work instantly, stopping headaches before they have a chance to develop, whereas pain medication can take up to 15 minutes before it starts working.
Headaches are one of the most commonly reported ailments among adults. They can come on at any time, and range from minor tension or cluster headaches to intense migraines. A study from the University of Munster showed that sex can significantly relieve headache pain. Sex is essentially exercise that helps release “feel-good” neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. They help relieve pain, release tension, and promote blissful feelings. Next time you are feeling a headache coming on, try having sex before taking medication for instant pain relief and a good workout.
- Hambach, A. et al. (2013). The impact of sexual activity on idiopathic headaches: An observational study. Cephalalgia. doi: 10.1177/0333102413476374
- MacGregor, E.A. (2009). Migraine headache in perimenopausal and menopausal women. Current pain and headache reports, 13(5), 399-403. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19728968