Sex and the CM: 6 Things Chronic Migraine Sufferers Should Know

Sex and Migraines
If you suffer from chronic migraines, then you know that the experience of chronic migraine pain can keep you from participating in many of the activities you love most, intimate relationship experiences included. Chronic migraine occurrences as well as the fear of triggering migraines can weigh down a couple’s physical intimacy and put a damper on their romantic relationships.  

While some chronic migraine sufferers report that engaging in intimate sexual activities are among their migraine triggers, a recent study reported in the Science Daily from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, suggested that sexual desire and drive are higher among sufferers and that some find the activity a form of migraine relief. While these studies remain unproven, there are correlations between lifestyle, migraines and sex that sufferers should be aware of to improve intimacy. 

Here are six things chronic migraine sufferers should know to improve sex and intimacy:

1. The Connection Between Stress And Sex 

The National Headache Foundation points out that stress is one of the most common migraine triggers. Because stress is known to elevate certain neurochemicals in the brain, such as cortisol, an inflammatory response takes place, possibly contributing to your experience of migraines and overall reduction in desire to engage in intimate activities. Identifying and reducing both large and small influences of stress in your environment is not only calming, but can positively impact your focus on the activities you may be experiencing challenges with, such as sex.

2. Sleeping Better May Enhance Intimacy And Reduce Migraines

Migraines may not always be to blame for intimacy concerns in a relationship, or at least not entirely. A study conducted at Missouri State University showed that how well we sleep, that is, the quality of our sleep, largely affects our experience of migraines. And, you guessed it, when sleep quality is diminished, there can be increased reporting of frequent migraines in patients. 

You may not have the opportunity to sleep for eight continuous hours every single night, but uninterrupted sleep is what you are after. Regular sleep patterns improve our neurotransmitter balance and therefore regulate energy and mood—two essential ingredients for a positive intimate experience. 

3. Neurochemical Effects 

Generally speaking, sexual activity triggers the release of neurochemicals that affects mood and happiness of individuals. Why is this important? Studies claim that some migraine sufferers experience migraine relief from engaging in intimate activities, as the brain receives optimal levels of endorphins and other positive neurochemicals from physical contact and intimacy.

While some studies suggest this, they have not been proven and is not the case for everyone. Some sufferers experience migraine attacks triggered by sexual activities. In any case, it is probably best not to rely on sexual activities as a form of reprieve, especially when it may potentially trigger your migraines.

4. Rule Out Coital Cephalalgia Phenomenon 

You may have found yourself saying at one time, “Sorry honey, not tonight, I have a migraine,” yet, if you are experiencing an intense migraine that develops suddenly during sexual intercourse, there is more to explore. Although rare, researchers at the British Journal of Medical Practitioners reported that one in 100 people suffer from what is known as coital cephalalgia, an intense, lightning-like pain sensation that strikes during or just after sexual intercourse. 

This phenomenon can be even higher for those already suffering from chronic migraines. While the incidence of coital cephalalgia is far more common among men, women have reported suffering from the painful phenomena. Don’t let fear keep you from exploring the cause of these types of migraines. A proper diagnosis can help lead to ideal treatment perspectives to discover relief. 

5. Talking About It Helps 

If it has been a prolonged lapse since you have engaged in intimacy because migraines have been standing in your way, it can be difficult to initiate the behavior, despite possessing the mental desire. Women often share among one another how relieved and happy they are once they begin re-engaging in intimate activities with their partners. Joining a group of others experiencing the same lifestyle concerns related to sex, intimacy and chronic migraines can help you feel safe and empowered by discussing your personal situation.  

6. Lift Depression And Libido May Rise As A Result

Does your pain make you feel as if the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders? Because chronic pain can reduce neurochemicals such as “feel good” levels of serotonin, libido may take a dive as a result of this reduction. Enacting preventive behaviors in addition to stress reduction and sleep improvement such as dietary modifications, breathing techniques and mild exercise such as yoga all assist in heightening neurochemicals to ideal levels. Chronic migraine sufferers report as depression diminishes a positive shift toward improved libido takes place. 

Chronic migraines poses many difficult challenges when it comes to relationships and intimacy. Knowing your body well, as well as your triggers is a simple way to ease the burden caused by migraines on your romantic relationships. What ways have you found helpful in coping with migraines without affecting your intimate relationships?   

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