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Migraines, Headaches Linked With Sexual Problems: Study

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Just last month, Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers found that women with migraines may have a greater risk of depression, compared with those who don't have migraines. And now, a different study shows another issue with a possible link to headaches and migraines: problems in the bedroom.

A new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shows that 90 percent of women with migraines and tension-type headaches also have sexual problems, and 29 percent of these women are stressed about their sex lives, MyHealthNewsDaily reported.

"Women treated for primary headaches were found to display a high rate of sexual symptoms and distress," the researchers wrote in the study.

They found that migraines and tension-type headaches are linked with the sexual pain and hypoactive sexual desire disorder (low sex drive that results in personal distress, according to the Mayo Clinic), while women with chronic tension-type headaches were more likely to have sexual distress. Tension type headaches are the most common kind of headache in adults; they are also called "stress headaches," according to WebMD.

Migraines are also common, with more than 29.5 million people in the United States suffering from migraine, according to the National Headache Foundation. Migraines are more common in women than in men.

The study involved 100 women with migraines (both with and without an aura) and chronic and episodic tension-type headaches. Researchers also took note of whether they had anxiety or depression. These women were observed for three months.

The Daily Mail pointed out that women with headaches sometimes also have depression and anxiety that are also factors in sexual satisfaction. Some headache medication can also affect sex.

Looking at things from the other direction, Everyday Health reported that sex can both help ease or hinder recovery from a migraine, depending on the person. For some people, the release of chemicals in the brain during sex help to make a migraine feel better; for others, sexual activity leads increased blood pressure and blood vessel dilation, which can lead to a headache, accordion to Everyday Health.

Everyday Health reported:

Sex, like exercise, is a physical activity, however, which for some migraine sufferers can trigger an attack. The exertion puts pressure on both the back and the neck, which can provoke a migraine in people prone to headaches.

But as any person who gets headaches or migraines knows, the condition can affect more than just sex life -- it's also responsible for $1 billion a year in medical expenses, Health.com reported. For some tips on fighting headache pain, click to Health.com's advice here.

Do you suffer from migraines or chronic headaches? How do they affect your life? How do you manage them?

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