MEDCICS from University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has told how a pensioner presented to an A&E hospital here with short-term memory loss brought on by having sex with his wife during the day.
In a new paper by UHL doctors, they document how the 66-year-old suffered from sudden amnesia or transient global amnesia (TGA) within ten minutes of having sex.
It was the second time the man suffered sudden amnesia within 10 minutes of having sex.
In the article from the recently published May edition of the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), doctors from UHL’s Department of Neurology say the case highlights sexual intercourse as a trigger for transient global amnesia recurring.
Outlining the details, doctors tell how the man endured an hour of amnesia before showing up at A&E Hospital one afternoon. The doctors state that “during the afternoon presentation, he had had intercourse 10 minutes before the onset of memory impairment”.
They say “after seeing the date on his phone, he was saddened to have forgotten his wedding anniversary the day before”.
“He had, in fact, celebrated his wedding anniversary with his wife and family the day before. His autobiographical memory remained intact, but he had no recollection of that morning or of the celebrations the day before.”
The doctors state that “the man repeatedly questioned his wife and daughter about the events of this morning and the previous day”.
The newspaper states that “no other neurological symptoms were reported and that on arrival at the emergency room, his neurological examination was completely normal”.
The episode of amnesia suffered by the man followed a similar event presented to the hospital seven years before by him and, according to the doctors, this event of amnesia also occurred within 10 minutes of having sex. . The physicians describe that the prior amnesia event occurred “with an identical post-coital onset.”
Doctors report that the man’s medical history was significant for hypertension, gout and high cholesterol. The doctors also say the case highlights the importance of an early MRI in identifying changes in the brain’s mescal temporal lobes.
In their article, “Recurrent Postcoital Transient Amnesia Associated with Diffusion Restriction,” the doctors state that TGA is a syndrome of sudden amnesia that can last up to 24 hours.
They state that TGA “may present a diagnostic challenge because its mechanism is poorly understood and it has many potential mimics.”
They state that the precipitation of TGA has been linked to several activities, including physical exertion, immersion in hot or cold water, emotional stress, pain, and sexual intercourse. They state that TGA usually occurs in people between the ages of 50 and 70, often in isolation as a one-time event, but studies report an annual recurrence rate of between 6 and 10 pc.