Five years ago, 38-year-old Lucinda Allen noticed a sharp pain in her head, just above her right eye, immediately after orgasming.
"I’ve experienced what’s known as post-orgasm ‘thunderclap’ head-pain all through my adult life, so I really wasn’t worried," Allen told The Sun. "The pain I usually have after orgasm is a bit like brain-freeze – quite painful but never lasts long."
But this time, the pain didn't go away.
At the time, Cosmo reports, Allen was 26 weeks pregnant, and suffering from gestational diabetes that affected her blood pressure. But since her blood pressure happened to be low at that point, she and her husband decided it was safe to have sex.
However, Allen told The Sun, she was left "writhing on the bed in agony and crying," and was rushed to the hospital.
"That’s when I started to panic," she told The Sun. "That’s when I thought I might be having a brain hemorrhage. After that, it was a blur."
On the way to the hospital, she realized she was unable to speak, and doctors' scans revealed that she did indeed have a brain hemorrhage. Allen was then put into an induced coma and had brain surgery while an emergency team stood by in case her daughter needed to be delivered.
Though that thankfully didn't happen, Allen was found to have suffered a major stroke, followed by four small ones, which all caused significant damage to her body. While she was able to deliver her daughter safely six days after the coma via C-section, Allen remains paralyzed on her left side after the brain hemorrhage and strokes, and is now using a wheelchair full-time.
"Waking after a coma is nothing like it is in the movies," she told The Sun. "It’s a slow and confusing process. I was extremely distressed — suicidal at times — and I refused to acknowledge that I‘d survived a stroke."
Allen is opening up about her story now, she said, to raise awareness amongst others.
"Because of what’s happened to me, I am now on a mission to raise awareness of how this pain can be a warning sign of impending brain hemorrhage," she told The Sun.
Her neurosurgeon, Alessandro Palazzo, told The Sun that her condition is very rare, but should you experience a persistent headache after sexual activity (HSA), you should check with your doctor immediately.
"If you get a headache during or after sex and the pain is severe, you should seek immediate medical attention, as this could be a sign that a brain hemorrhage has taken place," Palazzo said. "If the pain persists, go to the A & E department of your nearest hospital. If the post-coital head-pain has happened before — if it’s an episodic occurrence — and you’re concerned, get advice from a neurologist and maybe get an MRI scan, just to rule out any underlying conditions or vascular malformation."
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