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Benign Coital Headache

John R Østergaard, Morten Kraft

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We studied the natural history of patients with a diagnosis of benign coital headache who presented to a private neurological clinic between the years 1978 and 1991. Thirty-two patients (24M, 8F) were invited to participate and 26 patients (83%) responded. The period of follow-up ranged from six months to 14 years (median 6 years). Thirteen patients (50%) had recurrent attacks of coital headache epochs separated by intervals of up to 10 years. Eleven of these patients suffered a concomitant primary headache whereas this was present in only one of those patients without recurrent attacks of coital headache ( p < 0.001). In all but one patient, who had a transient blurred vision, the headache was not accompanied by nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, sensory/motor disturbances, or unconsciousness. We concluded that benign coital headache can be clearly distinguished from headaches due to cerebral aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation rupture. The presence of a concomitant primary headache syndrome is a risk-factor for recurrence of coital headache.