SCIENTISTS have asked people experiencing headache to resort to sex rather than painkillers, so as to cure their aches.
Experts in a new study reported in Cephalalgia, the journal of the International Headache Society, that more than half of those who suffered migraine and had sex during an attack experienced improvement in symptoms.
At least, one in five of the people left without any pain at all after sex.
“Our results show that sexual activity during a migraine attack might relieve or even stop an attack in some cases, and that sexual activity in the presence of headache is not an unusual behaviour.
“Sex can abort migraine and cluster headache attacks, while sexual activity is used by some patients as acute headache treatment,” the researchers said.
Consultant neurologist, Dr Nick Silver, of the NHS Walton Centre for Neuroscience and Neurosurgery in Liverpool, United Kingdom, said this was a preliminary study, limiting conclusions that could be reached.
“We can now say, however, that the excuse of ‘not tonight, I have a headache’ may not be taken seriously by all sexual partners,” the researchers said.
In the study at the University of Munster in Germany, neurologists collected data on 400 patients with the two types of headache who had been treated over a two-year period.
They found that 33 per cent had made love during a headache and of the number, 60 per cent of migraine patients and 36 per cent of men and women with cluster headaches had an improvement in symptoms.
Men were more likely to benefit than women, according to the study, with 36 per cent of men using sexual activity as a therapy for dealing with their headache.
Meanwhile, 13 per cent of women used sex to combat headache.
Of the migraine patients who saw an improvement in their pain, 19 per cent had complete relief of headache symptoms, 51 per cent experienced moderate relief and 29 per cent reported mild relief.
“In total, 42.7 per cent of all migraine patients experienced, at least, 50 per cent relief, a response rate as high as in studies on acute medication,” the researchers said.
According to them, there were a number of possible explanations for the findings, including the release of painkilling endorphins during sex and changes in blood pressure.