In the vast majority of cases, masturbation is absolutely safe. However, there are times when it can trigger a major health problem, such as a brain hemorrhage.

The story is about a 51-year-old Japanese man who was an avid masturbation enthusiast which he did several times a day. On one of these occasions, he experienced a severe headache, followed by vomiting. Admitted to the emergency room (Nagoya University Hospital), he underwent a brain scan which showed a cerebral hemorrhage on the left side, the one where the head pain was located.

More in-depth examinations (angiography) showed dilation of the internal carotid artery, a major artery that supplies most of the brain with blood. At cause, an aneurysm, which is a dilation of a section of the blood vessel. Aneurysms increase the risk of rupture, which leads to sudden bleeding. In this case, the situation has evolved less dramatically.

As Japanese media explains, in this patient, the sudden increase in blood pressure linked to orgasm probably caused a dissection (tear) of the internal wall of the cerebral carotid artery, which caused the formation of a hematoma as well as bleeding. After surgery, the patient recovered perfectly.

Cases of hemorrhagic stroke associated with masturbation are extremely rare. The few cases reported by the medical literature almost all refer to a ruptured aneurysm, the development of which is not accompanied by any truly specific symptoms. And each time, the sudden increase in blood pressure due to pleasure is probably to blame.

Betsy Wilson

A true science nerd and pediatric nursing specialist, Betsy is passionate about all things pregnancy and baby-related. She contributes her expertise to the Scientific Origin.