Agony and ecstasy

IF YOU thought headaches were restricted to reluctant Mills and Boons heroines, think again. After a 14-year follow-up study of 26 patients, scientists John R Ostergaard and Morten Kraft from the University Hospital of Arhus and the Private Clinic of Neurology in Denmark report a number of men and women suffer from headaches associated with orgasm.

The condition, known as benign coital headache because there is no serious underlying disease, usually occurs at or near orgasm. The scientists found the headaches could begin suddenly, continue for a time and then end abruptly. Or, the headaches could occur fairly regularly during sexual activity. A significant association was found between coital and tension headaches. If a patient with a migraine or tension headache has a benign coital headache, he or she is at a greater risk of having recurrent attacks.