Evaluation of the Frequency and the Association of Sexual Pain and Chronic Headaches


  • Conflict of Interest: Dr. Allan Gordon and the Wasser Pain Management Centre have consulted for, advised, and/or participated in research projects or have received research funding from Purdue, Pfizer, Allergan, Merck, Eli Lily, Valeant, Janssen-Ortho. Denise Paneduro: No conflicts of interest; Leah Pink: No conflicts of interest; Valerie Lawler: No conflicts of interest; Christine Lay: Speakers Bureau, Johnson and Johnson, Allergan, Pfizer, Merck, Teva and advisor to Allergan but funds go to WCH.
  • Sponsor: Merck provided funding for this project but had no role in the planning, organizing, and execution of the study, or in the evaluation of the data.



Sexual pain and chronic headaches are both complex conditions with associated high disability. Little research has examined whether there is a relationship between the 2. The aim of this survey-based study was to explore the frequency of sexual pain in a population of women being treated for chronic headache. Peripheral aims included exploring the number of patients receiving treatment for sexual pain and the association between sexual pain and libido, and history of abuse.


Patients presenting to an ambulatory chronic headache clinic were administered a short 10-item survey.


Forty-four percent of patients reported that they had pelvic region or genital pain brought on by sexual activity. Only half of these patients had ever discussed their pelvic pain with a health care provider, and 31% of these patients had not received treatment. Almost all patients would be interested in treatment if available. Seventy-five percent of patients indicated a change in libido.


Chronic headaches and sexual pain are both conditions that have a significant impact on patients and the health care system, and they do coexist. More research is needed to look at the relationship between these conditions in addition to epidemiology, symptomatology, evaluation, and treatments.