woman heaving a headache

What is a Thunderclap Headache, and How to treat its Symptoms?

Sufferers often describe thunderclap headaches as the worst headache of their lives. These headaches can have multiple causes and triggers. There are two types of thunderclap headaches: postcoital thunderclap headaches and thunderclap headaches that have a different causes.

This article will describe what a thunderclap headache is and how it can be treated. Continue reading to learn more.

What is a Thunderclap Headache?

A thunderclap headache is an excruciating headache that comes on suddenly. You will feel the full intensity of this type of headache as soon as it starts.

It is important to note that a thunderclap headache could signal the presence of a life-threatening condition. For this reason, it is important to seek immediate medical care if you think you might have a thunderclap headache. Although it could have been caused by something not life-threatening, you should get checked out just to make sure the cause isn’t something serious.

Regardless of the cause of a thunderclap headache, the symptoms are intense.

As stated above, thunderclap headaches begin out of nowhere and can feel like the worst headache of your life.

You may feel nauseous and vomit if you have a thunderclap headache. These headaches may also cause you to faint.

Thunderclap headaches can be felt anywhere in your head and sometimes include neck pain.

Certain activities may cause these headaches, but it is also possible that there may be no trigger at all.

A thunderclap headache is usually most painful between 30 seconds to one minute into the headache. Often, it will begin to subside about an hour after the pain reaches its peak, but a thunderclap headache could last for a week or more.

What is a Postcoital Thunderclap Headache?

Some thunderclap headaches can occur during or immediately after sexual activity. These are known as postcoital or orgasm headaches.

Postcoital thunderclap headaches may be caused by blood pressure increases and blood vessels dilating during an orgasm. Another potential cause is head and neck muscle contractions that happen during periods of increased arousal.

Postcoital thunderclap headaches can happen very suddenly. Typically, you will feel an intense pounding sensation in your head immediately before or during an orgasm. There may also be a dull ache in your head or neck that increases as you become more aroused.

This type of thunderclap headache may be mild or very severe and could last between one minute and three days.

Anyone may experience postcoital thunderclaps, but you are at a higher risk if you are male or have a history of migraines.

What are the Causes and Triggers of a Thunderclap Headache?

The most common cause of thunderclap headaches is a type of brain bleed called a subarachnoid hemorrhage. This condition can be life-threatening if it is not treated quickly. Subarachnoid hemorrhages are usually caused by a ruptured aneurysm in the brain.

These headaches could have a number of other serious and potentially life-threatening causes. You may have a torn, blocked, or ruptured blood vessel in your brain. You may have suffered a hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke or mild to moderate head injury. You could possibly have reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome. Thunderclap headaches can also be caused by an inflamed blood vessel.

If no physical cause for these headaches is found after extensive testing and ruling out all possible causes, you may have an idiopathic benign recurrent headache disorder.

Common triggers for thunderclap headaches are physical or sexual activity. They can also be brought on by injury or straining during a bowel movement.

How Can a Thunderclap Headache be Treated?

Depending on the cause of your headaches, there are several treatments that may be appropriate.

You may need to undergo surgery to have a tear or blockage in a brain blood vessel repair.

Your doctor may prescribe blood pressure medication to keep your blood pressure from going too high.

Pain medications may also effectively mitigate recurrent thunderclap headaches, especially if there is a known trigger for them.

Another treatment option available is IV (intravenous) vitamin therapy. This is a safe, natural way to treat thunderclap headache symptoms quickly. This can be especially helpful if you have a pattern of thunderclap headaches more than once. Unlike oral pain medications, IV vitamin therapy delivers vitamins directly into your bloodstream. This leads to faster effects and recovery because oral medications need to go through your digestive system before you can feel their effects, but IV vitamins go to work immediately.

It is very important that you get medical help if you experience a thunderclap headache, especially a non-postcoital one. However, if you get these headaches from time to time and there is no known cause or trigger, IV vitamin therapy may be a good solution for you.

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