Monday, January 21, 2008

You've got questions, I've got answers (though they may or may not be correct)

Howdy, y'all. I've got an occasional let's-interact-more kind of idea...questions and answers, a la "Ask Dr. Oz" or "Ask Dr. Phil" or whatever in Oprah's magazine, with the obvious caveat that I am not a physician as Mehmet Oz is, nor even at this point a medical student (though I do have access to lots of medical databases via my job) and also that I am obviously not a tremendous douchebag, as Dr. Phil is, though I do have access to a lot of douchebaggery simply as a result of living in a world where contact with such people is inevitable. So if you have a question, post it--anonymously, not-anonymously, with a pseudonym like "Phil McGraw"--and I will try to supply an unprofessional but non-jerky answer. Today's first question is made up, as other questions will be until real queries start to trickle in. This won't be an everyday sort of thing, you understand--just now and again, ie, when I feel like it.

Dear Anne,
Recently I was involved in some, um, romantic activities, when all of a sudden I felt like someone was stabbing me in the head. Since I don't go in for that sort of thing, it really affected my ability to enjoy myself, and eventually I just put the kibosh on the whole encounter. Within a half an hour, the pain was gone, but now I'm afraid to get frisky again. Seriously, it felt like my skull was cracking. What's the deal?
Margaret Thatcher

Dear Marge,
I would say you're being paid back for your economic policy (the universe is trying to get you to empathize with the lower classes by showing you that it sometimes hurts to get screwed) but that seems unnecessarily antagonistic. What you're dealing with is called "coital cephalgia," or sex headache, where 'coital' means 'sex-related,' 'ceph-' relates to the head (enCEPHalitis=inflammation of stuff in the head; normoCEPHalic=the head looks normal) and 'algia' means 'that hurts, dammit' (arthrALGIA=my joints hurt, dammit; myALGIA=my muscles hurt, dammit). Most of the time this pain is a result of elevated blood pressure/muscle tension dilating or constricting blood vessels in the head; it can come on before, during or after orgasm, and is most common when someone's really getting into what they're doing, ie, is being an active and enthusiastic participant. It's a subtype of the exertion headache people sometimes get from exercising, and isn't something you should worry about too much. Taking a dose of pain reliever an hour or so before you anticipate sexual activity should help, as should being a little less active for a while.
However, if this is a first-time occurence, if the pain makes you nauseous or dizzy, or if you have other symptoms like disorientation, slurred speech or numbness and tingling, for God's sake go to the emergency room. It's possible, though not likely, that you've popped a blood vessel, or that you've got some other emergency condition going on. Better safe than sorry; even the best sex isn't supposed to be LITERALLY mind-blowing.
Take care,


The Anonymous Therapist said...

I'd just like to tell you that you're my hero. If I had kids I'd tell them to be you when they grow up. For real, you made me laugh after a rotten day, so thanks.

Anne said...

You make me laugh too, so we're even. *link love*