Anke Hambach, Stefan Evers, Oliver Summ and Ingo W. Husstedt of the University of Munster in Germany and colleagues performed an observational study among patients of a tertiary headache clinic. A questionnaire was sent to 800 migraine patients and 200 cluster headache patients.
"We asked for experience with sexual activity during a headache attack and its impact on headache intensity," the researchers wrote in the study. "The survey was strictly and completely anonymous."
Thirty-eight percent of the migraine patients and 48 percent of the patients with cluster headache responded.
The study, published in the journal Cephalalgia, found 34 percent of the patients with a migraine had experience with sexual activity during an attack; out of these patients, 60 percent reported an improvement of their migraine attack, 70 percent of them reported moderate to complete relief and 33 percent reported worsening.
In cluster headache, 31 percent of the patients had experience with sexual activity during an attack; out of these patients, 37 percent reported an improvement of their cluster headache attack -- 91 percent of them reported moderate to complete relief -- and 50 percent reported worsening.
Some patients, in particular male migraine patients, even used sexual activity as a therapeutic tool, the researchers said.
"The majority of patients with migraine or cluster headache do not have sexual activity during headache attacks," the researchers said. "Our data suggest, however, that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some migraine and a few cluster headache patients."