In a recent medical case study, doctors in Japan tell the story of how masturbation sparked a bleed on the brain of a 51-year-old man. A stroke that led to a stroke, so to speak.
As reported in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases earlier this year, doctors at the Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Japan explained that the right-handed man (the case report was very particular about that) was single and was in the habit of masturbating several times each day.
He headed to the hospital after orgasming and suddenly experiencing a searing headache that lasted for around one minute, followed by an intense bout of vomiting. A CT scan of the patient’s brain revealed an acute subarachnoid hemorrhage – a life-threatening type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain – in the left hemisphere.
Strokes come in a few different forms, but they tend to refer to ischemic stroke (when a blockage occurs in the artery that supplies blood to the brain) or hemorrhagic stroke (when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures). The researchers note that masturbation causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and noradrenaline plasma levels – which are likely to contribute to the risk of splitting a blood vessel in the brain and result in a hemorrhagic stroke.
The man was treated with stents and coiling, two techniques used to bolster the blood vessel and maintain blood flow to the brain, and he went on to make a full recovery.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that the risk of such a complication is unbelievably rare considering millions upon millions of people masturbate on a fairly regular basis. For the overwhelming majority of people, masturbation is harmless fun. In fact, there's some evidence that it may possess some health benefits.
The study authors say that they found just two other cases of masturbation-linked strokes in other scientific literature. In one of the cited studies, a woman in Serbia died from a stroke while performing anal self-stimulation. The case report read explains: “A 39-year-old woman was found dead on a couch, with the wooden handle of a spring twirl whisk inserted inside her anus and rectum as a dildo-like object.” The initial death scene investigation found no other injuries and no signs of foul play, but an autopsy later revealed she had suffered from a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage, the same time of stroke more recently experienced by the man in Japan.