Cramps are an unavoidable part of life. And, yes, most people identify them with menstruation rather than sex. However, cramping after sex is more prevalent than you may believe.

Your uterus and pelvic muscles contract and then relax as you orgasm. However, if it aches, something stops your uterus from relaxing when the tension is released, according to Aditi Gupta, MD, an ob-gyn, sexual health specialist, and the CEO and creator of Walk In GYN Care.

Orgasms

Your heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and breathing rate all increase before and during an orgasm. “The muscle contractions that come with climax can sometimes cause pain,” explains Katherine O’Connell White, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine and the author of Your Sexual Health. In addition, your pelvic muscles contract, and these contractions might last long after intercourse has stopped.

Ovarian cysts

According to Dr. Dweck, an ovarian cyst can rupture or leak during intercourse, causing enough agony to prompt a doctor’s or emergency room visit. According to the Office on Women’s Health (OASH), ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs on the ovary, one of two glands where eggs form within the uterus. They can result in dull or acute discomfort in the pelvis and/or abdomen.

Periods

Having sex while on your period might be exhilarating, but because your uterus is already working hard to release menstrual blood, all that action and movement can aggravate and worsen your cramps.

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“For cramping that begins (again) after intercourse, the treatments that work for cramping with your period will most likely work for post-coital cramping,” Dr. White explains. “Try a hot shower or bath (with or without your partner) or more targeted heat like a heating pad or hot water bottle.”

IUD

A T-shaped device put into the uterus as a type of long-term birth control is an intrauterine device (IUD). According to Planned Parenthood, cramping and spotting are normal if you recently had one placed or removed. However, make an appointment with a doctor if the discomfort lasts over a few months.

Rough Sex

“From time to time, cramps can occur due to more rigorous sex or experimenting with different positions,” adds Dr. Dweck, “especially if anatomy necessitates it,” such as if you have a tilted uterus. Pay attention to how your pain levels fluctuate while you and your partner roll around, and make adjustments as needed.

Muscle Tension

“Just like any other muscle in your body, you may experience discomfort after working out your uterus,” Dr. Greves notes. Staining your uterine muscle is possible, resulting in pain and cramping. Relax for a few minutes to allow your body to rest and heal.

Bowel Issues (IBS, Colitis)

A deep, dull, and continual discomfort after sex could indicate a problem with your GI tract. Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, and gas are all signs of irritable bowel syndrome, which affects the large intestine, and sex can exacerbate these symptoms. Additionally, sex can make colon inflammation worse by causing urgent bowel movements and cramps. Consult your doctor about the many therapies and medications available for your suffering.

Interstitial cystitis

According to Dr. McGuirk, interstitial cystitis is a persistent illness that causes bladder pressure, bladder pain, and pelvic pain during and after sex. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is part of a group of disorders known as painful bladder syndrome, and treatments range from prescription drugs to surgery, depending on the severity of the ailment.

Endometriosis

Pain after sex is a typical symptom of endometriosis, a disease in which tissue that forms on the uterine lining begins to grow in places outside of the uterus. According to Dr. White, cramping pain after intercourse and extremely painful periods are signs of endometriosis.

“However, others with endometriosis may also experience painful periods, painful ovulation, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, or bloating,” Dr. Orbuch adds.

Lubrication needs to be improved.

There could be various reasons why your body isn’t producing enough natural lubrication, ranging from a decline in estrogen levels postpartum to taking specific medications like antidepressants, blood pressure medications, sedatives, antihistamines, and birth control pills.

The solution is simple: use a lubricant. Spending extra time on foreplay is another important strategy to increase your desire before sex.

Causes of cramps in men

Cramping after sex is less prevalent in men, although it does happen. Some male-specific factors include:

Prostatitis

The prostate gland is a tiny, walnut-sized gland in the lower pelvis. During intercourse, it increases the amount of seminal fluid in the ejaculate.

Pelvic discomfort during and after sex can occur if the prostate gets inflamed, either suddenly or gradually.

Prevention and treatment

The underlying cause affects the prevention or treatment of cramps following sexual activity. Mild cramping after intercourse, on the other hand, is usually transient and will go away on its own.

You should stop or move to a more comfortable position if a specific posture or action is causing the cramps.

A person may seek alternative treatment if a physical or mental condition is to blame for the pain. This could include:

  • antibiotics to treat an infection
  • therapy or counseling for anxiety
  • surgery to remove fibroids or a cyst
  • hormonal pills to prevent ovulation or treat an ovarian cyst

Takeaway

Suffering from cramps after sex isn’t good for your physical or mental well-being. Care for yourself and your body when something feels wrong by visiting a doctor. Remember, you shouldn’t have to suffer from pain after sex.

While mild vaginal cramps are a common menstrual symptom, severe or recurring pain may indicate an underlying medical condition.

A doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and prescribe treatment choices for pain relief and reducing the frequency of vaginal cramps.