So, you’ve just finished an intimate sex session with your S.O., but instead of basking in the afterglow –something just doesn’t feel right in your lady parts. Maybe it’s a dull ache inside your vagina or a burning sensation closer to your vulva — or perhaps more of a sharp pain deeper into your pelvis. Whatever the hecks going on, you know it’s not normal. Sex is supposed to feel amazing — not leave you wincing in pain.
Believe it or not, post-sex pain is more common than you might think. In fact, some estimates are that up to one in three women experiences pain during or after the sex. And according to women’s health care professionals, it’s one of the top issues they help patients with. There are many possible causes — as well as treatments that can help.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about cramping after sex, including common causes, possible solutions, and when to be concerned.
What’s Causing the Cramping?
For some individuals, sex isn’t always a wonderful experience. Frequently experiencing pain during or after intercourse can really put a damper on your sex life, to say the least. There’s a wide variety of causes that may be to blame for cramps post-sex, ranging from acute problems to chronic conditions.
So, what’s causing the cramps, you ask? Here are some of the most common reasons why you might feel experience cramping after sex:
Reason #1: You have a UTI
One in five women experiences a painful urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point or another. Pain in and around your vagina is one of the most common symptoms — what’s going on? Well, inflammation from the infection can cause spasms in the muscles surrounding your pelvic organs. When you have penetrative sexual intercourse, and your partner’s penis makes repeated contact with your vaginal wall, these spasms can be exacerbated and really hurt.
What to do about it: If you’re susceptible to urinary tract infections, consider taking UTI Don’t Think So from Love Wellness — a targeted supplement that keeps your urinary tract feeling 10/10. This powerful supplement works by using 36mg of PAC (proanthocyanidins), which is a cranberry fruit extract clinically proven to support urinary tract health. This supplement does not treat active infections, so if you have one, please consult with your doc for an antibiotic.
Reason #2: A tight fit
Okay, so here’s the time when size really does matter — anatomy plays a pretty big role in pain after sex. If your S.O. is on the well-endowed side of things, the muscle group surrounding your vagina and other pelvic organs can cramp up and stay that way even after intercourse. The average vagina is no longer than five inches or so. Therefore, the ‘average’ male penis — six inches long — may still cause some trauma to the pelvic floor, which can cause cramping after sex.
What to do about it: If your partner’s penis is particularly lengthy in size or girth and, after sex, your vagina feels a bit raw (even though you were aroused and used good-quality lube), experiment with different positions that make an XXL penis fit better, like woman-on-top or spooning. Always be open with your partner and speak up if sex is making you uncomfortable. Have fun experimenting with positions that are more comfortable!
Reason #3: You have an ovarian cyst
Most ovarian cysts are fluid-filled structures on your ovaries. In most women, they tend to resolve on their own in two to three months without you even knowing you had one. But sometimes, ovarian cysts trigger achy pain — typical in the lower left or lower right side of the pelvis where your ovaries are. And if they are large enough, ovarian cysts can cause tummy pain and cramping during and after sex.
What to do about it: Most ovarian cysts stay under four inches, but some can grow much bigger. These oversized cysts additionally can twist or torse, which can be excruciatingly painful. Your primary care provider would have to do an ultrasound to see if you have a cyst, and then the treatment would likely be watchful waiting. If your doc confirms that you do have a cyst and the pain gets to be too much, it may be possible to remove it with a small surgery.
Reason #4: You have endometriosis
Did you know that one in ten women suffer from endometriosis, a medical condition thought to be caused by uterine tissue that has migrated into the pelvic cavity? That tissue may adhere anywhere in the body, but typically it stays in the pelvic cavity and forms into cysts on the ovaries, the bladder, the peritoneum, and around pelvic muscles. If the tissue adhesions are behind your vagina, it can make penetrative sex painful.
Now, to be clear, not all women with this condition will experience pain during or after sex, but if you do, it’ll likely be more of a deeper kind of stabbing or sharp pain. Other signs include extra painful period cramps and pelvic pain all month long — even out of the bedroom.
What to do about it: Endometriosis isn’t thought to be curable, but surgery and medications can help relieve symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doc know if you suspect it!
Reason #5: You weren’t aroused enough before sex
Painful chafing caused by a lack of lubrication during sex is the number one culprit behind post-sex soreness. Sometimes, we tend to get a little carried away in the heat of the moment, not always realizing how much friction there may have been down under. Even if you know you’re in the mood and can’t wait to have sex, your body just might need a little more time (or even some outside assistance) to catch up — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
What to do about it: Before the act, make sure to indulge in foreplay — enough so that your vagina becomes sufficiently lubricated. How wet you can get is influenced by a few things like where you are in your cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and even the meds you take. So if you need a little bit of assistance, don’t hesitate to use a top-notch lube, like Sex Stuff™ from Love Wellness. Made with aloe, this personal lubricant is pH balanced to match and maintain your vagina’s pH balance and good bacteria. Super slippery and super hydrating, Sex Stuff is free of ingredients like parabens and glycerine that can disrupt the vaginal environment and supports women’s health — and it’s lots of fun, too!
When Should Cramping After Sex Be A Cause For Concern?
If you experience tummy cramps and pain after sex every once in a blue moon, take a deep breath — it’s not something to worry about. Taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen and using a heating pad may help ease the discomfort. However, if it happens often, you feel a sharp or stabbing pain during or after sex that radiates, or symptoms last longer than a few hours, you should see your women’s health provider to figure out what’s going on. (See a doctor ASAP if you experience sudden sharp abdominal pain, as it can be a sign of ovarian torsion. It’s rare but requires immediate medical attention)
Regular or persistent cramping after sex is usually a sign that something’s off, and your gyno can help you to figure out the cause so that you can properly treat it and go back to enjoying sex without the worry of cramps.
A Final Word
Sex should be enjoyable — not painful. If you’re experiencing cramping during or after sex, make sure you see your gyno to determine what might be causing it. However, if the cramping only happens once in a blue moon, chances are a simple fix like using a clean lube like Sex Stuff from Love Wellness or switching sex positions just might do the trick.
Love Wellness is an innovative wellness company that takes a sensible approach to self-care that’s based on science, body-positive, and made with what you want in mind. Each supplement is made with clean ingredients and lots of love.
For all of your wellness needs, Love Wellness has your back. Always.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) – Symptoms and causes (mayoclinic.org)
Endometriosis – Symptoms and causes (mayoclinic.,org)
Ovarian cysts – Symptoms and causes (mayoclinic.org)
How cranberry products Prevent Urinary Tract Infections (sciencedaily.com)