(CBS NEWS) -- Having sex may be the solution to curing a splitting headache.
Researchersfrom the University of Munster in Germany have found that sexualactivity was successful in treating migraines in 60 percent sufferersand in one-third of patients with cluster headaches.
"Our datasuggest...that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief ofheadache in some migraine and a few cluster headache patients," wrotethe authors of the study, published Feb. 19 in Cephalagia.
"Ourresults show that sexual activity during a migraine attack mightrelieve or even stop an attack in some cases, and that sexual activityin the presence of headache is not an unusual behavior," they added.
Migrainesare a kind of throbbing headache that may cause nausea, vomiting orsensitivity to light. Some people get a warning symptom like visiondisturbances called an aura before the headache hits. Migraines occurmore often in women than men and may run in families. Some women saythey have less migraines when they are pregnant.
Clusterheadaches differ from migraines, and are characterized by chronic,one-sided headaches that can include eye tearing, steady burning andsharp sensations, and stuffy noses. They can occur regularly during oneweek to one year, and may be spaced out by attack-free periods. Acluster headache can begin as a severe, sudden headache often around thesame time of the day you had the last one. They happen more often inmen than women and may run in families.
The researchers lookedat 800 patients with migraines and 200 patients with cluster headaches.Patients were asked to complete a questionnaire about their sexualactivity during their headache episodes and write how sex affected thepain.
About one-third of the patients said they had sex during amigraine or a cluster headache. Sixty percent of migraine sufferers whohad sex said they had some sort of pain relief, with most of themreporting moderate or complete alleviation of their symptoms. Someparticipants -- mostly men -- admitted to using sex as a way to treatthe migraines. For one-third of the migraine patients who had sex, thepain got worse.
Thirty-seven percent of cluster headache patientssaid sex helped lessen the pain, with 90 percent of those patients whohad sex saying they experienced moderate to complete relief ofheadaches. However, 50 percent of them said sex only made headachesworse.
Study researcher Stefan Evers, a neurologist and headache specialist at the University of Munster in Germany, told LiveSciencethat sex releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. Otherstudies have shown that sex can alleviate migraines, but the studieswere done on a smaller scale. Evers suggested that masturbation or anysexual activity may be able to get rid of headaches in some people.
"Having an orgasm in any way shape or form will help (them)," he said.