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Why some people develop headaches during sex –Neurologist

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A Professor of Clinical Neurology and Internal Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Ikenna Onwuekwe, has said that people with existing headaches are often more prone to having headaches when having sexual intercourse.

The health urged people who experience headaches during sex not to take it lightly but rather seek medical intervention from specialists.

According to the neurologist, people who have migraine, tension, medications, or fevers often experience a worsening of their headache when they engage in sex.

Prof. Onwuekwe, however, noted that some people without already existing headaches also experience headaches with the onset of sex, before orgasm, or after orgasm. 

Onwuekwe, who is also the head of the Neurology Unit and Consultant Neurologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, explained that since there are possibly confusing reasons for sex to cause headaches, anyone having such must be seen by a competent Neurologist and Headache Specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, the don said sexual intercourse is a demanding physical activity, adding that it can be associated with the start of or worsening of an already existing headache.

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He stated that the 2018 International Classification of Headache Disorders recognises the disorder called primary headache associated with sexual activity. 

“This primary disorder serves to distinguish it from headache due to other causes such as migraine that can be made worse during or secondary to sexual activity.

“Because sex is a demanding physiological activity, people with already existing headaches from migraine, tension, medications, or fevers may experience a worsening of their headache if they start or engage in sex.

“The primary headache associated with sexual activity describes people who only get a headache with the onset of sex, before orgasm, or at orgasm. 

“Such people must not have any prior existing headache condition,” he said.

According to him, for a few people who experience headaches post-orgasm, it may be due to issues with cerebrospinal fluid leakage.

A cerebrospinal fluid leak is when you’re leaking the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. CSF is vital to how your brain and spinal cord work, protecting and cushioning them from outside forces, Cleaveland Clinic said.

Continuing, the neurologist said for primary headache associated with sexual activity, the headache may be severe in intensity for one minute to 24 hours duration or of mild intensity for up to 72 hours. 

He said that while there is no accurate data for this condition in Nigeria, about one per cent of the general population worldwide is estimated to have primary headaches associated with sex, adding that men are at greater risk than women.

He added that the typical age of presentation is between 20 – 45 years. 

“By way of the cause of this primary headache of sexual activity, the exact reason is unsure though factors associated with haemodynamic instability are incriminated. 

“It is known that during sexual activity, the Valsalva maneuver occurs and there are robust increases in blood pressure of these sufferers during sex much more than is seen in healthy controls and people with migraine. 

“Systolic blood pressure can shoot up to as high as 160-170mmHg or more in this condition.

“Typically, the headache will repeat with recurrent sexual activity but 15 per cent of cases may have remissions lasting two months at a time in-between attacks. A chronic cause is well recognised.

“In every case of headache brought on by or worsened during sex, it is important to distinguish primary headache (without any other evidence associated condition that can cause headache) from secondary headache syndromes where potentially lethal conditions may exist such as brain aneurysms or tumours or stroke with bleeding into the brain.”

“Another condition that may look like primary sexual headache is called reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome where selected arteries at the back of the brain get temporarily blocked by spasm. This can occur during sex or any exercise but it is not a primary headache associated with sex.

On the diagnosis, he said apart from detailed clerking and examination, neuroimaging modalities and examination of cerebrospinal fluid amongst other investigations may be needed to arrive at the specific disorder and to establish the diagnosis of a primary or a secondary headache syndrome.

He said treatment varies according to the specific cause. 

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“For some people, the Neurologist may recommend reducing the frequency of sex while for others, there may be a need to adopt more passive sex positions and use recumbent postures more often.

“People with hypertension need to be properly controlled on medications and the use of certain drugs that enhance sexual function but cause vasodilation of blood vessels must be strictly regulated. 

“For candidates diagnosed to have primary headache associated with sexual activity, certain medications are useful such as indomethacin and propranolol among others.

“In all cases, there is a need to stress the critical need for the headache expert to guide the identified sufferer to ensure best practices and better quality health including satisfactory sexual health.

“So many cases have come to public knowledge about people found to have collapsed and died in bedrooms at home and in hotels during sex activity.

These are not usually cases of primary headaches associated with sexual activity but likely cases of lethal consequences of secondary headaches associated with sexual activity. 

“In these latter cases, at the height of orgasm or with increasing intensity of sex, there is either a massive acute coronary event such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) or a massive intracranial event such as a large cerebral haemorrhage.”

The expert noted that to have satisfactory and safe sexual life, it is vital to have a clean bill of health, to know one’s health risks, and have them controlled by a competent physician.

“Otherwise, one can sometimes pass on to the other side while in active pleasurable service.

“For those known to have a diagnosis of primary headache associated with sexual activity and it happens frequently, the headache can be prevented by taking medications like indomethacin or beta-blockers minutes before the onset of sex.

“But it must be stressed that there is no room for self-prescription here. Expert neurological management is key,” Onwuekwe said.  

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Just in: Abia doctors begin strike over kidnap of colleague

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Doctors in Abia State have begun an indefinite strike in protest against the kidnap and continued detention of their colleague, Prof. Uwadinachi Iweha.

Iweha was Kidnapped on Sunday June 6, 2022, around 4pm, in front of his house at Umuokpara in Umuahia South Local Government Area.

The doctors had during their earlier protest last Friday, threatened to down tools if after 47 hours their Kidnapped colleague were not released.

Declaring the decision of the doctors Tuesday after a rally and prayer session at the car park of the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, the Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Abia State, Dr Chimezie Okwuonu, said the action was to alert the world that the safety of doctors in the state was no longer guaranteed.

NMA argued that there was no way doctors would continue to provide maximum services amid uncertainties over the safety of their members who are always on duty to serve humanity.

Reading from a prepared speech he co-signed with the Secretary of the body, Dr Robinson Ugwuanyi, the NMA Chairman said:” As an Association deeply involved in the welfare of Medical Doctors in Abia State, we are worried that 9 days down the line, Prof Uwadinachi Iweha is still within the kidnappers Den. This is traumatic, depressing, dehumanising and has instilled a lot of fear within the medical community whose primary objective is to save the life of Abians from the medical point of view.

“The Nigerian Medical Association Abia State hereby condemns the kidnap of its member and calls on the Abia State Government and security apparatus to do all that is necessary to secure his release.

“Our ernest prayer is that his health condition does not deteriorate further and he comes back alive to us and his family.

“The recent spate of kidnap with its attendant consequences on the morale of its citizens has the capability of eroding the achievement we have made, as a state, in the area of security.

“Medical Doctors work all round the clock. This includes normal duties, surgeries, clinical calls, emergencies and administrative duties. The nature and scope of our work involves been on the road any time you are called, as more than 95% of Doctors reside outside their place of work.

“With the current state of fear caused by the kidnap and detention of our colleague, safety cannot be guaranteed and it will be difficult to attend to duties as normal as no one knows who will be the next victim.

Arising from its meeting on Friday 10th June 2022, the NMA Abia State Branch took a peaceful protest to the Government house where it registered its displeasure at the kidnap of its senior medical colleague.

“We were received by the Chief of Staff Chief Okey Ahaiwe, who assured us, on behalf of the Governor, that government will do all the needful to ensure release of its colleague. We are still looking up to this promise.

“Today, Tuesday 14th, the NMA Abia State has commenced a withdrawal of services in both public and private sectors, to register its deep displeasure at this unfortunate incident and give its members time to join the family in searching for its members.

”However, emergency services are still going on to enable our members attend to critical patients.

“We shall also take out time to pray for Prof Iweha and carry out a very peaceful rally to show that we stand by our own in this time of trial. These, in addition to this press conference, are the main three activities for today.

“Our Physicians pledge, as amended by the 68th World Medical Association General Assembly Chicago in 2017 states in line 11 ‘ I will take care of my health and well being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standards’.

“With the kidnap and continued detention of our colleague, we are not assured of our health and well-being as Doctors in this environment; hence may not provide care of highest standard.

“It is our utmost desire that the Government enables a secured release of our colleague and restores the peace and security we enjoy.

The Nigerian Medical Association Abia State wishes to ask its members to pray for Prof Uwadinachi Iweha, and ask any member of the public with useful information about his whereabouts to report to the nearest police station.”

Prof Iweha served as the Chief Medical Director of Abia State University Teaching Hospital Aba; and Abia Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre.

He is currently the Provost of Gregory University College Of Medicine, Umuahia Campus.

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420,000 die annually of contaminated food, 600 million fall ill – Minister

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Dr. Osagie Ehanire

Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has said that every year, nearly one in every ten people in the world, an estimated 600 million people fall ill and 420,000 others die after eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances such as heavy metals.

Ehanire disclosed this during an event to mark 2022 World Food Safety Day, adding, over 200 diseases are caused by eating contaminated food.

According to him, food, if not safe, is not food. Food is a health product and the first component of basic health care delivery. The slogan for World Food Safety Day is “Food Safety is Every One’s Business and is a reminder that we all play a role in keeping food safe. This calls for prioritization of food safety throughout the d supply chain, from farm to table.”

He also said, “Children under the age of five are at higher risk of malnutrition and mortality due to unsafe food and they carry 40% of food borne disease burden. Unsafe food causes one in six deaths from diarrhea, a major killer in this age group. World Food Safety Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of unsafe food with governments, producers, handlers and consumers having a role to play in making food safe.”

The Minister noted that unsafe food hinted that World Food Safety Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of unsafe food with governments, producers, handlers and consumers having a role to play in making food safe.

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“Unsafe food hinders development especially on low- and middle-income economies, which lose around US$ 95 billion in productivity associated with illness, disability, and premature death suffered by workers (farmers, processors, handlers and marketers and consumers).

“This is standing in accord with World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the National Food Safety Management Committee (NFSMC) and the global Food Safety Community with the aim to draw attention and inspire action that prevents, detect and manage food borne risks that guarantee safer food for better health.

“In line with this year’s theme “Safer food, better health” emphasizes that all are consumers and food safety counts first for better health. Safe food is essential to human health and well-being. Only when food is safe can we fully benefit from its nutritional value and from the mental and social benefits of sharing a safe meal.

“Safe food is one of the most critical guarantors for good health. Unsafe foods are the cause of many diseases and contribute to other poor health conditions, such as impaired growth and development.

“The good news is that most food borne diseases are preventable. Our behaviour, the way we build food systems and how we organize food supply chains can prevent infectious and toxic hazards, microbial pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites), chemical residues, biotoxins and other noxious or dangerous substances from getting into our plates. We need to transform food systems to deliver better health, and we need to do so in a sustainable manner.

“Food systems policy-makers, practitioners and investors should reorient their activities to increase the sustainable production and consumption of safe foods in order to improve health outcomes, to make safe and healthy diets”, he stated.

PILOT

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Measles kills 14 children in Anambra

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The Anambra State government has confirmed the death of 14 children from measles outbreak in nine local government areas of the state.

Commissioner for Health Dr Afam Obidike announced the figure at a news conference in Awka yesterday.

He said that 414 cases of measles were recorded in nine local government areas in the state.

Obidike listed the affected local government areas as Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ihiala, Idemili North, Nnewi North, Onitsha North, Njikoka, and Oyi.

The commissioner said that support from World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund helped the state to curtail the spread.

“In March, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) alerted us of measles outbreak in nine LGAs in the state. We contacted the WHO) and UNICEF to assist us curtail further spread of the disease.

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“The disease spread from nine LGAs to 13 LGAs but with the help of WHO, we activated surveillance and our emergency response team in the affected LGAs and wards.

“Unfortunately, we recorded case fatalities. We lost about 14 children to the Measles outbreak out of 414 cases we had.

“It is something we need to be mindful of because the case fatality is high, about 48 per cent,” he said.

He said 19,609 unvaccinated children from age zero to 59 months had been vaccinated.

The commissioner said that the surrounding communities of the nine local government areas were also vaccinated to prevent the spread of the disease.

He identified the impact of COVID-19 which affected routine immunisation in the state in 2021 as the major reason for the outbreak.

“We also noticed that people living in clusters, poor environmental hygiene practices and poor uptake of vaccine were the other causes of the outbreak in the affected areas.

“We have contacted the Ministries  of Environment and Water Resources, to improve environmental hygiene and water supply in those affected areas.

“We will also intensify social mobilisation to encourage residents to receive vaccination. We have activated routine immunisation in the state to prevent future outbreaks,” he said.

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