The physiology of orgasmic headache


  • Emojevwe Victor Department of Physiology, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City, Ondo State, Nigeria
  • Oyovwi Mega Obukohwo Department of Physiology, Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria
  • Gbemi Olasunkanmi Korede Department of Physiology, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City, Ondo State, Nigeria
  • Naiho Alexander Obidike Department of Physiology, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City, Ondo State, Nigeria; Department of Physiology, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria
  • Oyeleke Abiodun Abioye Department of Anatomy, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Nigeria



Orgasm, Headache, CGRP, HSA


Orgasmic headache is a headache caused by sexual activity that emerges as sexual excitement increases (progressive at onset) or as an immediate and powerful headache following orgasm (thunderclap at onset) or combines these two characteristics. The idea that orgasmic headache (OGH) is caused by physiologically inappropriate responses is extremely simplistic. As a result, a complete analysis of the physiological mechanisms is provided here in order to comprehend the complex situation of OGH. The physiology of OGH was studied in humans utilizing peer-reviewed papers from Pubmed, Science direct, EBSCO, Scopus, Cochrane library, Sage Journals, and Google Scholar. Author, year of publication published between 2003 and 2020. OGH can regulate psychophysiological reactions, but it can also cause a rise in blood pressure, persistent pain, intracranial hemorrhage, and cerebral infarction. This review explains two physiological systems: the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which induces the creation of less serotonin, resulting in an inflammatory response and discomfort. The release of epinephrine and nor-epinephrine can cause cerebral ischemia, which can lead to headaches in headache-prone patients. Fear of an orgasmic headache can lead to lower libido, leading to lower sex pleasure. As a result, the condition may deprive sex of its pleasure and turn it into a ‘headache’. We conduct a literature review to study the physiological processes of OGH in connection to its physiological maladaptive responses. A greater understanding of the physiological mechanisms underlying Orgasmic headache will allow practitioners to properly identify and counsel patients without attributing physiological maladaptive reactions to OGH.


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