A study conducted at the Wasser Pain Management Centre, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto looked at the prevalence of sexual pain in a group of 72 women with chronic headaches.

Findings from the study found that 44% of women with headache reported sexual pain either brought on by or preventing sexual activity. While there was not a notable connection between chronic headache and sexual pain, a larger percentage of patients reported pelvic pain brought on by sexual activity if they presented with both chronic medication overuse headache and chronic migraine, and the frequency of sexual pain in the sample was high. The researchers believe this may suggest that there is a link between pelvic pain and chronic headache, and that patients with more than 1 headache diagnosis may have a higher chance of developing pelvic pain.

The majority of patients in the study who had pelvic pain said they had experienced pain for greater than 1 year. About 18% of patients reported that their pain prevented them from engaging in sexual activities, and 75% said that the pain had an impact on their libido, with most saying the change in sexual desire happened after their sexual pain began.

Another issue the results emphasized was the hesitancy of some patients to talk about their condition with their healthcare providers. Almost all the patients said they would be interested in receiving treatment if available. It was suggested by the authors that healthcare providers should make every effort to validate and address their patients concerns, and to consider referring patients to a gynecologist and/or a multidisciplinary pain clinic, especially if they feel unsure of how to proceed clinically.

The researchers highlighted the need for continued study between sexual pain and chronic headaches, as well as pain-related symptoms specific to these populations. And, they stressed that clinicians should ask their patients about pain, whether it be pelvic, headache, or other so that they can provide them with the most comprehensive treatment available…….     Headache  The Journal of Head and Face Pain   January  2014

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