Love bite: Expert warns of common sexual practice that could trigger a deadly stroke

Hickeys may be fun and exciting, but there's a deadly side to this sexual practice that very few people know about.

Mixing a little of pain with pleasure is not always a bad idea. Of course, we’ve heard of countless stories where a couple takes it slightly too far and ends up in desperate need of medical attention. But when it comes to love bites, as long as you’re aware of the other person’s pain tolerance, it should generally be more exciting than agonizing.

Unfortunately for this woman, she ended up with a rather unexpected complication that was triggered by her partner’s lustful bite.

Paralysed by love

In 2011, a 44-year-old woman was rushed to the hospital in New Zealand after she lost sensation in her left arm. Doctors figured that she had a small stroke which triggered the paralysis, but they had no idea what caused it. Then they saw a rather obvious bruise on her neck. Upon further examination, they found that at the time of suction, a blood clot had formed, and a major artery had been bruised. The clot then travelled all the way to the heart, causing the stroke and paralysis. Dr Teddy Wu, who was treating her at the time, said:

The clot had gone into the woman's heart and caused a minor stroke that led to the loss of movement.
We looked around the medical literature and that example of having a love bite causing something like that hasn't been described before.

Dangers of love bite

Fast-forward a decade later, the story has been trending once again after Dr Karan Rajan, NHS doctor and famous TikToker broke down the incident in a video. He explained:

When someone gets a hickey, the suction causes trauma to the surface blood vessels, often causing it to burst and leaving a bruise.
The carotid artery lies close to the surface which is why you can feel a pulse in your neck.
This violent hickey had likely caused trauma to the carotid artery resulting in turbulent blood flow and a clot to form.
And this clot likely caused poor blood flow to the brain resulting in a stroke.

He mentioned that while it was rare, there have been three reported cases of love bites causing a stroke. Another case, covered by The Independent, was of a teenager that died from a stroke which was induced by a love bite. The 17-year-old passed away in 2016.

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