Byline: CATRIONA WROTTESLEY
A HEADACHE is often given as an excuse not to have sex ... and women are seen as chief culprits.
But research shows it is young men who are most likely to get a sexual headache - and it's usually the real thing.
Neurologists in Germany have found that men in their early 20s are most prone to these headaches and about one per cent of the population suffers from them at least once in their lifetime. Before diagnosing a sexual headache, a doctor must rule out a cerebral lesion or some other disease as the cause.
Researchers Dr Achim Frese and Dr Stefan Evers, of the University of Munster, studied a group of more than 45 patients suffering from sexual headache.
They found that approximately three times more men than woman experienced sexual headache. The group most at risk of having their first attack was aged 20-25. The second age at which men were most likely to develop sexual headache was between 35 and 45.
Dr Frese said: "We found the vast majority of patients suffered from an explosive and very severe headache starting suddenly around the orgasm. The others suffered from a dull headache with the pain increasing more gradually before the orgasm.
"We don't know why more men suffer than women - with most other types of headache, women seem more prone to them.
"About half of our patients said that they could ease or prevent sexual headache by taking a more passive role during sexual activity. Is it possible that men are more active during sex? It's only a speculation. We don't yet know the answers."
Generally, the headache did not depend on special sex partners or special sexual habits.
Dr Frese said: "About half of the patients had realised that they could avoid some of the headache attacks by intensifying the sexual excitement more gradually. In most of the patients, specific treatment is not necessary as spontaneous remissions are common."
When treatment was necessary, some were prescribed preventive treatment such as betablockers (to prevent migraine) or indomethacin (painkiller) before sex. …