Migraines and Your Sex Life (Or Lack Thereof)

Fact:  Women are at a higher risk of migraine than men.

Another Fact:  Migraines are linked to mental illness, stress, and decreased sex drive.

However, the jury is still out on whether sex relieves or triggers migraine symptoms.   

In a study out of Italy, researchers found women who get migraines are at an increased risk of sexual problems. However, other studies suggest it may be a bit more complicated than that. Researchers out of Wake Forest discovered a person’s sexual desire and risk of migraine might be connected to the same brain chemical.

What these studies (and others) have done is show us there’s a relationship between migraines and the libido but understanding what and where the link is will take some time.

How Migraines Affect Your Libido

As if the pain of a migraine and the disturbance it causes in your life aren’t bad enough, there are many other not-so-obvious problems, too. Sexual function is a big one many don’t think about when it comes to migraine symptoms.

It’s much easier to say “I’m not in the mood” than it is to explain what is likely a severe hormonal and chemical reaction.  It’s not just a lack of interest.

What’s more, sexual activity doesn’t always interact with migraine in the same way. Everyone is different.  Patients have reported both having sex and not having sex can trigger a migraine attack; however, many others have said that it can relieve the pain and stop symptoms.

Confusing, I know, but as with everything else in your body and health, it’s totally unique.  Sometimes, sex with your partner may relieve symptoms, while the next time you do it, your pain is incredibly intense. 

Understanding the role migraines play in your sex life can help you address the issue more directly. One study showed that 90 percent of women who seek treatment for migraine report problems with their libido, and 29 percent feel anxious and stressed because of this.

That sounds dreary, but it means you have a place to start for healing.

Is Migraine Controlling Your Sex Life?

There are many different types of migraine and even more triggers. The first phase of a migraine, prodrome, is often associated with little interest in sex. This is because many people experience a lot of anxiety and anticipation with the onset of a migraine, which can make it challenging to feel like having sex.

On the other side of this, studies have shown an orgasm can provide relief from migraine pain. With both an orgasm and migraine, the neurons are firing on all cylinders. So, in a sense, the neural event of an orgasm may suppress that of a migraine.

What You Can Do About It

No migraine is created equal, nor any human. Some migraineurs may find relief with sex, while others are saddled with too much anxiety. Keep a migraine diary and talk to your doctor about how migraine is impacting your sex drive but be sure they don’t just push the pills.  Talk about your triggers and natural ways to address them.

The more research that is done about the connection between migraine and your sex drive, the more answers we will have. In the meantime, it’ll take some detective work.


HuffPost: Migraines, Headaches Linked With Sexual Problems: Study

Science Daily: Migraine Headaches and Sexual Desire May Be Linked

VeryWell Health: Sex and Migraines