Sex with her husband turned into an almost deadly experience for Lucinda Allen.

As the Mirror reports, a six-months pregnant Lucinda was having an intimate moment with her husband, Tony, when she experienced a “thunderclap” headache. She had experienced them before, but never like this one:

“One thing led to another and after I had a second orgasm that old familiar sharp pain started in my head, above my right eye. It’s normally a bit like brain freeze and never lasts long — but this time it didn’t go away and soon I was writhing in agony.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, the painful headache gets its name because it suddenly grabs your attention, like a clap of thunder, peaking within 60 seconds and lasting anywhere from one hour to more than a week. The pain can be felt anywhere in the head, neck, or lower back, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.

The 43-year-old woman had experienced the sex-related headache most of her adult life, so she wasn’t shocked when her head began to hurt. She explained:

“My neurosurgeon believes I have a congenital abnormality in a blood vessel and that’s what caused my lifelong intermittent head pain after orgasm. I thought it was normal, but I was heading for a brain hemorrhage.”

But as Lucinda was “writhing in agony,” she began to panic:

“I thought I might be having a brain hemorrhage.”

She was brought to Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital where she was put into a medically induced coma. While in the coma, doctors cut open part of her skull to perform a craniotomy, relieving pressure on her brain from the damage her orgasm caused.

Flickr/Weiss & Paarz

Lucinda had five strokes during the six days she was in a coma, leaving permanent damage to her body and her mind:

“Waking after a coma is a slow, confusing process. […] I refused to acknowledge I’d had a stroke. […] I didn’t realise how much damage had been done until the nurse told me. […] I couldn’t believe what she was saying. I felt suicidal.”

She was left completely paralyzed on the left side of her body and became wheelchair-bound.

Doctors believe that the hemorrhage after sex led to bleeding inside Lucinda’s brain. This is uncommon as most hemorrhages lead to bleeding on the surface of the brain. The bleeding inside Lucinda’s brain may have caused her strokes.

Lucinda wasn’t just battling for her own life after her thunderclap headache put her on the brink of death, but for her baby as well.

Luckily, tests showed her unborn baby was healthy.

The couple’s daughter, Marri-Alice, was born via planned C-section days after Lucinda was released from her three month hospital stay. She recalled:

“It was a bittersweet moment, as I couldn’t hold her. She had to be placed in my right arm, which was full of drips. When we came home, I felt grief at the loss of my old self. I wasn’t the mother I’d dreamed of being. I couldn’t just go and pick her up.”

The wife and mother has now found her happiness after surviving the terrifying tragedy:

“What happened has changed me for the better. I appreciate every moment and the amazing support my family and friends have given me.”

Now she wants other women to know that sex-related headaches are real, and they can strike at any time:

“Nobody talks about post-orgasm head pain, That’s understandable. But I want to raise awareness of how it can be a warning sign.”

Sex headaches usually occur as the result of an orgasm. Sometimes a dull ache in the head and neck builds up as sexual excitement increases, and sometimes a sudden, severe headache happens just before or during orgasm. Some people experience a combination of both.

Many people who have sex headaches experience them in clusters within a few months of each other.

Those who think they may have sex-related headaches should see a doctor.

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