Exposure to some special events, also called stroke triggers, can precipitate the onset of ischemic stroke (IS). Previous studies have presented preliminary hypotheses about sexual intercourse as a trigger of IS in predisposed individuals, but the mechanisms of IS associated with sexual intercourse are still not well defined. This literature review summarizes the etiologies and mechanisms of IS associated with sexual intercourse. Further studies on stroke triggers are warranted, and early recognition and appropriate preventive strategies directed against the short-term risks posed by stroke triggers may complement the long-term risk factor reduction approach.
Articles were selected from PubMed (1946-2021) and Web of Science Core Collection (1990-2021) using the following search terms: ischemic stroke, ischaemic stroke, stroke, cerebral infarction, cerebral ischemia, cerebral embolism, embolism, sexual intercourse, sexual activity, intercourse, coitus, coition, and coital.
A total of 20 studies, which included 26 patients with IS associated with sexual intercourse, were included. This literature review found that IS associated with sexual intercourse is not rare but has not received enough attention, and paradoxical embolization and postcoital arterial dissection are common etiologies. Other etiologies include drug usage (such as sexual adjuvant drugs and illicit drugs), paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity, and reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.
Sexual intercourse should be considered an important trigger for IS. Clinicians should be aware that IS associated with sexual intercourse is not subjective but may be a warning sign of multiple etiologies and mechanisms.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.