Doctors shocked to discover woman's excruciating headache triggered by a SHOWER | The Sun

DOCTORS were shocked to discover a woman's "excruciating" headaches were triggered by her taking a shower.

The extremely rare phenomenon has only been reported 51 times globally since 2000.

According to a paper in the Journal of Medical Case Reports the 60 year old Sri Lankan woman first developed a "severe headache" in March 2021, immediately after a hot shower.

The following day, she took another shower which left her with a headache so "excruciatingly unbearable" she was admitted to hospital.

Several brain scans came back normal suggesting the unnamed woman had no underlying health issues, doctors from the University of Columbo, Sri Lanka said.

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They diagnosed her with bath-related headache (BRH), a rare headache syndrome provoked by contact with water to the head, usually through a bath or shower.

The woman was prescribed nimodipine, a drug used to treat hypertension, and her headache slowly disappeared after three days.

BRH is a form of thunderclap headache, which come on suddenly and is most painful during onset.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, people who have had a thunderclap headache often describe it as the worst headache of their life, unlike any headache they’ve ever experienced.

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At a check up two years later – during which time she had avoided hot showers – doctors discovered her headaches had not recured.

The experts are now calling for BRH to be included in the International Classification of Headache Disorders, a system used by medics globally to define and classify all headache disorders.

Managing headaches

According to the NHS, here is how to treat a headache:

  • rest
  • take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • relax (if stress is the cause)
  • take regular exercise


  • treatments recommended by your pharmacist does not relieve your headache
  • your headache gets worse despite taking painkillers
  • painful or frequent headaches affect your ability to do everyday tasks

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