Can having sex help cure a migraine?
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your sex questions
Q. I am regularly unable to have sex due to migraines. Is this normal?
A. A migraine usually causes severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. Women are three times more likely to suffer migraines and the causes are not understood. However, genetics and environmental factors have been identified.
Migraines can be tough on every aspect of your life, including romance and intimacy. One study found that one in four migraine sufferers reported an impact on the frequency or quality of sex. In another study, some women said having sex actually relieved their migraine symptoms, while some said having an orgasm triggered a migraine.
Migraines can cause significant pain, sometimes for weeks at a time. The pain can be disabling, resulting in an inability to concentrate and disrupting activities at home, work and in school.
For many women, menstrual changes in hormone levels often trigger headaches. Medication such as the oral contraceptive pill, intense physical activity, and food allergies can also cause migraines.
It helps to know the symptoms - which include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to smell, light, sound, movement and touch - and the factors that aggravate the problem.
Awareness of these factors may help to avoid the harm migraines can do to your sex life. Common triggers include red wine, chocolate, strong smells like perfume, bright light, and changes in the weather.
If you regularly experience migraines, discuss the problem with your health provider.
• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, DISA Clinic, 011-886-2286, visit safersex.co.za.
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