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Cephalalgia. 2005 Mar;25(3):191-8.

Bath-related headache.

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Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, PR China.


Bath-related headache (BRH) is a rare primary headache syndrome. We present our experience over seven years and review all reported cases of BRH. Thirteen patients, including six from our group, are described. BRH occurred exclusively in middle-aged or elderly Oriental women (mean age 51 years, range 32-67. Hong Kong 6 cases, Taiwan 4 cases, Japan 3 cases). The typical presentation was a uniphasic cluster of severe headache recurrently triggered by bathing or other activities involving contact with water. Each attack lasted 30 min to 30 h. Onset was hyperacute, consistent with that of thunderclap headache. Reversible multisegmental cerebral vasoconstriction was found in two patients. No underlying secondary causes were identified. Response to acute treatment was generally unsatisfactory, but headache could be prevented by avoiding the specific trigger(s). BRH runs a self-limiting course; all patients remitted within three months after onset. Nimodipine may shorten the duration of illness.

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