3 Ways Sex Can Make You Sick

  • Sex Headaches
    1 / 3 Sex Headaches

    Your body is throbbing with desire, but your head is just plain throbbing. About one in 100 people suffer from headaches during or after sex, according to the American Headache Society. And guys are more likely to feel the pain than women.

    Related: 4 Types Of Headaches You’ve Never Heard Of

    Some headaches gradually build as the action heats up, while others strike just before or during orgasm. One potential reason: When you have sex, you release adrenaline, which increases your blood pressure and can trigger headaches.

    What to do: Book a visit to your doc, especially if your sex headaches are sudden, severe, or persistent. Though most cases aren’t cause for concern, some can signal serious medical issues like strokes or aneurysms, says Mohit Khera, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., a urology professor at Baylor College of Medicine and the coauthor of Re-Coupling: A Couple’s 4-Step Guide to Greater Intimacy.

    Provided you have a clean bill of health, taking a dose of Tylenol about an hour before sex can help prevent pain, Dr. Khera says.

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  • Post-Sex Depression
    2 / 3 Post-Sex Depression

    You should feel ecstatic after a good romp. Instead, you find yourself down in the dumps for as long as an hour post-sex, even when it was pleasurable. Experts aren’t totally sure why the depression—called post-coital dysphoria—occurs, but it affects about 10 percent of women, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Sexual Health.

    Though there isn’t much research on the condition, it probably affects slightly fewer men, says licensed psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini, M.Ed., L.P.C., coauthor of Re-Coupling.

    What to do: Though antidepressants might help, side effects of those meds include sex problems of their own, like dampened desire and delayed ejaculation, Dr. Khera says. Instead, he usually refers patients with this problem to therapists who specialize in sexual issues.

    Related: 9 Things That Could Mean You’re Depressed

    Rapini says the underlying cause often relates to a deeper issue in your relationship with your partner, like different expectations about how much sex you’re having, or how you treat each other in public.

    You can also try this strategy: Write down three sexual things you’d like to do, and ask your partner to do it, too. Then try to make at least one item from each list happen. Aligning your goals can leave you both happier and more satisfied, Rapini says.

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  • Semen Allergy
    3 / 3 Semen Allergy

    A fever, runny nose, and upset stomach could be the flu—or they could combine for a condition called post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS). Your body essentially mislabels proteins in your own semen as foreign invaders, ramping up your immune reaction to attack them.

    It’s also possible that women’s fluids can cause an allergic reaction in men, though that hasn’t been well-documented in the medical books—and it’s likely rarer than POIS. In a slightly more common phenomenon, you can have an allergy to someone else’s semen, too.

    What to do: Because symptoms can develop immediately or days later, it’s difficult to diagnose the condition, Dr. Khera says. If you suspect sex is linked to your symptoms, visit an allergist or immunologist. The same types of tests that can spot sensitivities to dog or ragweed can identify a semen allergy.

    Taking anti-inflammatory medications before and after sex might calm this autoimmune reaction, according to a recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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