Over the past few days, you’ve probably seen a pretty troubling headline floating around about a woman named Lucinda Allen who had sex, orgasmed, and, as a result, had a stroke and became paralyzed on her left side.
This, to say the least, is, um, pretty scary. If you’re anything like me, it’s enough to make you want to stop having sex for a good, long while. Possibly forever! But here’s some good news–post-orgasm strokes like the one that Lucinda experienced are quite rare. But, according to the Mayo Clinic, post-coital headaches (called “HSAs”) are actually relatively common, and, in most cases, they aren’t really anything to worry about. Usually, they’re caused by muscle contractions in the neck during sex, which can cause tension headaches. They can also be caused by low blood sugar and a magnesium deficiency, as well as a general tendency towards migraines and headaches.
But, in certain, rare instances, these headaches associated with sexual activity can be dangerous. This kind, called “orgasmic cephalalgia,” usually happens right after or during an orgasm. It is caused by increased blood pressure in the brain, which results in sharp, intense pain behind the eyes and can sometimes be a sign of a stroke, brain hemorrhage, or tumor. Again, this is super rare–and, for what it’s worth, tends to be more common for men than for women.
Basically? If you get slight, manageable headache after sex, it’s probably nothing to worry about. If you pop an ibuprofen before having sex, and make sure you’re hydrated and have been fed in the last couple hours, you’ll be just fine. But if you experience an abrupt, painful headache during sex–not just after–that persists for a few hours afterwards, and you’re not usually prone to sex-based headaches, it might be cause for more concern. Either way, if sex is causing you pain, you should probably talk to a doctor about it, just to be safe. It’s probably nothing, but you know what they say–sex is complicated enough as it is. Why add unnecessary pain into the mix?
Do you get headaches after having sex? Did this news freak you out at all? Let us know in the comments!