For one woman, sex was mind-blowing and, literally, totally forgettable, all at the same time.
A case study published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that a 54-year old woman experienced memory loss after having sex with her husband. The patient came into the Georgetown University Hospital emergency department, complaining she could not recall anything 24 hours before climaxing.
The authors of the case report, Drs. Kevin Maloy and Jonathan Davis of Georgetown, diagnosed the woman with transient global amnesia, a rare and sudden episode of memory loss. According to experts, the episodes are temporary and unlikely to happen again.
”Transient global amnesia is caused by a scrambling of the memory circuits in the brain, often brought on by physical or emotional triggers,” said Dr. Carol Lippa, a professor of neurology at Drexel University Medical School. “In post-coital cases, transient global amnesia may be related to changes in blood flow in the vessels that feed the brain’s memory formation areas — sort of a remote consequence of the altered blood flow that occurs during sex.”
Experts say it’s unclear what exactly causes TGA, but it has been found to occur after strenuous physical activity, severe pain or psychological distress.
“TGA can occur after any activity, and I’d imagine that it could occur while someone is playing Ping-Pong, but that wouldn’t be as titillating,” said Shimamura.
About three to five out of 100,000 people experience the condition each year, said the study. Men and women over 50 years old are most likely to experience the peculiar memory loss.
Lippa noted that sex can lead to other adverse effects on a person’s health, including heart attacks and even sudden cardiac death, especially in people who have cardiovascular risk factors.
But before knocking sex, Lippa also mentioned the physical benefits of sexual intercourse.
“Sex may boost immunity, relieve stress, improve sleep, create bonding between couples and it reduces the risk of some types of cancer,” said Lippa. “The good news is that these cases usually resolve in less than a day, and the majority of cases never recur.”
- transient global amnesia