sudden memory loss after sex

OK, I don’t normally share secrets of my intimate private life with the public. But—you know me—wherever there is a lesson to be gleaned and it does somebody some good, somewhere, then I’m right there.

A few weeks ago I had an alarming episode that doctors call “transient global amnesia” (TGA). It’s sudden but temporary memory loss following some strenuous or stressful event. In my case it came on after passionate sex with my beloved wife.

All of a sudden, I couldn’t remember what we were doing or why. I knew who I was but wasn’t sure about the lady with me! For several hours I was quite confused about recent events and couldn’t get a grasp on things. I remember shopping at the local supermarket but not what we bought.

It may result from the deactivation of the brain’s temporal lobes and/or thalamus (the part of the brain that serves as a center for the relay of sensory information). Usually occurring in otherwise healthy persons, TGA triggers memory loss from external stresses such as strenuous exertion, high levels of anxiety, sexual intercourse, immersion in hot or cold water, and other similar conditions.

It was quite scary for me but absolutely frightened Vivien out of her wits. She assumed I had had a stroke or some serious event and from the first imagined that she’d lost me, for good. I was GONE!

Hours later my memory came back and although I am still a little vacant about those few hours (I can remember maybe 60%), my considerable intellectual powers are not diminished in the least.

In fact the curious thing is there is almost never any residual damage. What’s more it’s rare to experience this TGA more than once; certainly 3 times maximum in a lifetime. Only 3% of people who have a TGA will ever get it again.

There are no ethnic associations or inherited conditions associated with TGA. Men experience the condition more often than women. In addition, the occurrence of this type of amnesia rarely happens before middle age, with about 12 out of 100,000 people ever experiencing the condition before age 50. The most likely ages in which to experience TGA are the 50s and 60s. I’m 65 next birthday (and feel around 30 years old).

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  1. My husband has just experienced his 3rd episode of what I believe is TGA although his doctors here in the UK refuse to believe that this is what he is suffering from. All his symptons are exactly as those described by others, but just because he has suffered more that one episode his doctor has stated that it is unlikely to be TGA. We are hoping that this will be his last bout of this upsetting condition.

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