Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 275-278

First online:

Symptoms and therapies: Exertional and sexual headaches

  • Luiz Paulo QueirozAffiliated withClinica do Cerebro

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This article discusses the headache disorders associated with physical and sexual activity, highlighting their differences and similarities. The place of exertional and sexual headaches in the classification of the International Headache Society and in the proposed classification of Indomethacin-Responsive Headache Disorders is addressed here. The Valsalva’s maneuver as a shared pathophysiologic mechanism is mentioned as well.

Exertional headaches are divided into two subtypes, according to the pattern of physical exercises. Sexual headaches are divided into three subtypes, based on the onset time, related to orgasm. The clinical characteristics of each type are presented, and their etiologies pointed out. The diagnostic approach is discussed, as well as the nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment options.