Quiz time. It’s cold season and you’re all stuffed up. Do you 1) reach for the hot tea 2) Head to the steam room or 3) get yourself an orgasm?
If you’re thinking “one of these three is not like the others” you’re wrong. Having an orgasm has been proven to ease congestion. You just might want to consider pleasuring your sick self, and not another person.
Michael S. Benninger, M.D., chairman of the Head and Neck Institute at the Cleveland Clinic tells Men’s Health:
Sexual activity and arousal beginning with foreplay activates the sympathetic nervous system. That results in nasal constriction and essentially shrinks the nasal turbinates (blood vessels) and increases nasal airflow and [allows for] easier breathing.
Here’s how it works. According to Ryan Berglund, M.D., urologist at the Cleveland Clinic, your orgasms are controlled by the two parts of your automatic nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system, which gears up your body for sex, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which restores your body to its initial pre-sex state.
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The former (sympathetic nervous system) controls the release of the hormone epinephrine, which causes the blood vessels in your nose to constrict, making it less stuffy. But the latter (parasympathetic nervous system) enables the return of your inflammation and stuffy nose. Dr. Landon W. Trost, urologist at the Mayo Clinic, tells Men’s Health that you’ll only feel those nasal decongestant effects for about 20 to 60 minutes after you climax. And not only that, you might actually feel worse after having an orgasm.
Says Dr. Benninger:
As the parasympathetic system takes over, you can actually get a rebound congestion that is worse than your steady state, and you may get increased nasal discharge or drainage.
The good news is that having an orgasm will hopefully make you forget about how sick you are. There’s always nasal spray.