The journal Headache reports that contrary to the cliché: "Not tonight, I have a headache," migraine sufferers in fact have higher levels of sexual desire. The researchers, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, concluded that sexual desire and migraine headaches may be influenced by the same brain chemical.
"The results support the idea that migraine, as a syndrome, is associated with other common phenomena. Understanding of this link will help us to better understand the nature of migraine and perhaps lead to improved treatment," said researcher Timothy Houle.
The researchers were examining the relationship between migraine headache and self-reported sexual desire and found evidence of a complex relationship between the two. Both sexual desire and migraine headache have been linked to levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that also plays a role in depression. An excess of serotonin may be associated with decreased libido, and migraine sufferers are reported to have low system levels of the brain chemical.
"Considering the circumstantial evidence linking both migraine and sexual desire to serotonin, we wanted to explore whether the two phenomena are actually related," said Houle. Because high levels of serotonin are associated with low sexual desire, and migraine sufferers have low levels of the chemical, it was predicted that they would report higher levels of sex drive.
The study found that migraine sufferers reported levels of sexual desire that were 20 percent higher than those suffering from other headaches. "The study demonstrated that migraine patients in general may experience higher levels of sexual desire than others," said Houle. "They appeared to be aware of this, rating their sex drive as being higher than others their age and gender." He added that the results suggest that a serotonin link may be implicated in both migraine headaches and sexual desire.
Source: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center