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“I have a headache” might not be a good excuse to get out of sex anymore, according to a new study.
Conducted at the University of Munster in Germany, the results show endorphins released during sexual activity may help numb the pain.
Researchers surveyed 800 migraine patients along with 200 who suffer from cluster headaches. Questions were focused on their experiences with sexual activity during headaches and how the pain threshold was effected.
Sixty percent of the migraine patients indicated experiencing relief from headaches. Of those, the majority rated their relief as moderate or complete. However, a third reported sex intensified the headaches.
“Sixty percent of migraine patients
experienced relief during sex.”
For cluster headaches, which are less common but more severe, roughly a third had some level of pain relief when sexually active. Fifty percent indicated their headaches had worsened.
Neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, who also led the study, determined some patients use sex as a means of pain relief.
Evers reminds that while other stimuli, including loud noises and bright lights, are more associated with triggering headache symptoms, about 1 percent of the population experiences headaches due to sexual activity.
For those reporting complete relief from their symptoms after sex, Evers believes this is more direct evidence of endorphins being released.
“The same people who release endorphins from extreme sports activity, so a triathlon or marathon, it might be that these are the patients who release endorphins during sexual activity,” he said.
Earlier research has suggested sex could aid in pain relief for migraines. However, according to neurologist Alexander Mauskop, this study represents the largest sampling of migraine patients so far.