Women who experience cramps after sexual intercourse may be worried that something is wrong with their reproductive system or other internal organs. While in some cases cramps are nothing to be concerned about, it may also be a sign of an underlying health condition. Pain during or after intercourse can be caused by a number of things from orgasms to fibroids and certain medical conditions.
Table of Contents
- 6 Probable Causes of Cramping after Intercourse
- 4 More Causes of Cramps Without a Period
- Symptoms of Cramping after Sex
- Cramps After Sex When Pregnant
- When To See a Doctor for Cramps after Sex
- Treating Cramps after Sex
- Safety Issue about Cramping after Sex
6 Probable Causes of Cramping after Intercourse
There are many things that can cause a women to experience pain or cramping after sex. Some are more serious than others.
Endometriosis often causes pain or cramping after sex. This condition occurs when uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus where it doesn’t belong. Sometimes, the tissue will grow on the ovaries. Like the tissue is in the lining of your uterus, it will thicken and eventually shed (or bleed). Because the blood doesn’t have an easy way to leave the body, it can become trapped and cause a great deal of pain. Women with endometriosis commonly experience menstrual-like cramps, but no period.
Women with endometriosis experience debilitating pain during their periods to the point where it disrupts their lives. And because the tissue is growing abnormally outside of the uterus, women can also experience pain during sexual intercourse.
♠ Pelvic inflammatory disease
Women with pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, can also experience cramping after sex. PID can be caused by chlamydia, a very common STD, and in some cases, gonorrhea.
When PID occurs, the fallopian tubes and uterus become inflamed, which can cause pain after sex and during other times e.g. sometimes it happens after period.
♠ Fibroids or cysts
Fibroids are very common in women. These are benign, or non-cancerous, tumors that form on the uterus. Cysts can also form on the ovaries. Both of these conditions can cause pain and cramping after sex. Fibroids can also cause heavy bleeding during periods and bleeding in between periods.
Many women experience severe cramping after a cyst rupture. In some cases, cramps can last for several days and be accompanied by bloating.
Fibroids and cysts are the most common causes of cramping after sex. While they are generally harmless, it’s important to see your doctor if you are experiencing pain. Cysts and fibroids may be removed by doctors to alleviate pain in the future.
For some women, orgasms can cause severe cramping in the lower abdominal area. Some women may experience pain in their bottoms. Cramping can last anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours.
Painful orgasms tend to be most common in women between the ages of 35 and 55. Women who are at or near menopause may be more likely to experience this.
♠ Tilted uterus or deep penetration
Many women will experience cramping if her cervix is hit during sex. If her partner’s penis hits the cervix during intercourse, it can cause the muscles to contract, which causes the cramping.
For some women, this occurs because they have a titled, or tipped, uterus. In this case, it’s very easy for her partner to hit her cervix and cause pain. The cervix may also be hit during deep penetration.
Furthermore, click here to see what implantation cramping is.
♠ Early pregnancy
It is not uncommon for women to experience pain or cramping after sex in the early stages of a pregnancy, and especially after an orgasm. When orgasms occur, they cause mild uterine contractions. These contractions can feel just like menstrual cramps. Sometimes, the pain is mild. In other cases, the pain can be severe.
Mild uterine contractions are normal and generally nothing to be concerned about. However, if you are pregnant and experiencing severe cramps after sex, see your doctor right away.
4 More Causes of Cramps Without a Period
Some women will experience cramping during ovulation when the egg is released from the ovary. Most women will experience this pain on one side of the body. Cramping can last anywhere between a few hours and a few days.
Women who are going through menopause may experience menstrual-like cramping, but not have any periods for several months at a time. In this case, the cramping is caused by lower levels of reproductive hormones in the body.
♠ Cervical stenosis
This medical condition occurs when the cervix is so narrow that blood flow is restricted. Irregular periods are common with women who have this condition, and many experience cramping even when they do not get their period.
♠ Ovarian cancer
Cramping, but no period can be a symptom of ovarian cancer. Irregular periods, abdominal swelling, pressure or pain in the abdomen and frequent urination are other signs of ovarian cancer.
For most women, cramping after sex is nothing to be concerned about, especially if it only occurred one time and only lasted a few hours. However, if you are experiencing cramps after sex each time you and your partner are intimate, see your doctor to determine if an underlying health condition is the cause.
Symptoms of Cramping after Sex
Dyspareunia is any kind of discomfort in the pelvic area or vaginal region during or immediately following intercourse. Other symptoms of cramping after sex include muscle tightness, sharp pain in the pelvis, or deep pain in the cervix after penetration.
A survey conducted in Britain shows that 1 in 10 women experience some type of discomfort after having intercourse, but most women are embarrassed and hesitant to talk to their doctors about it.
However, since the causes of cramping can be a result of so many different things, talking with your doctor is very important.
Having sex when you are pregnant, even up until your due date, is perfectly safe for you and your baby – unless otherwise directed by your doctor. The amniotic sac, uterine muscles and amniotic fluids all provide a safe cushion and protect the baby.
The mucus plug that blocks the cervix keeps sperm and infectious fluids from reaching the fetus. Minor contractions after having an orgasm are normal and are usually only temporary.
Cramping or contractions can also be caused by your partner’s semen or by rubbing your nipples. If your pain is severe or prolonged, you should see your doctor.
You should also contact your doctor if you:
- have in one hour more than four contractions that feel as though you might be in labor
- have persistent sharp pains in your lower abdomen
- experience nausea or vomiting
- notice that your baby moves less than normal
- experience spotting that lasts longer than three days
- have pain that does not go away after resting
After all, you can never be too cautious when it comes to the safety of you and your unborn child.
There are times when you should definitely go see a doctor if you are experiencing cramps after sex.
If you often have sex during pregnancy, you may get a urinary tract infection (UTI), especially if you have previously gotten them. If you do not treat a UTI when you’re pregnant, you leave yourself open to complications during your pregnancy.
One complication is a kidney infection, which is linked to a low birth weight and early labor. Treating a UTI at the first sign of symptoms can prevent unnecessary complications during pregnancy.
Some of the symptoms of a UTI include:
- a persistent urge to urinate
- a burning sensation when urinating
- cloudy, reddish, or strong-smelling urine
- abdominal cramping
Emptying your bladder after sex is one way to help prevent a UTI, but you should see your doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
There are some STIs that may cause the following: abdominal cramping are chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease and hepatitis. If you have any of these infections, the cramping tends to be more severe after sex.
However, STIs are often accompanied by other symptoms besides abdominal cramping. That is why being familiar with the other symptoms can aid you when it comes to determining the problem.
Regardless, if you believe you may have contracted an STI, you should see your doctor and find out the best course of action for you and your sexual partner.
If you experience cramps after sex while you are menstruating, it generally is not something you should be concerned about. However, a painful period can sometimes be a sign of a bigger problem.
Menstrual pain that begins early and lasts longer may be caused by endometriosis, adenomyosis, or uterine fibroids, which are reproductive disorders.
If your menstrual cramps or post-sex menstrual cramps are severe and long-lasting, you should see your doctor, explain what you are experiencing and ask to be screened for any medical issues that could be the cause.
Treating Cramps after Sex
If you are experiencing cramps after having sex, whether it is serious or not is up to a medical professional to decide. However, there are things you can do to help alleviate the pain.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease the pain of cramping by relaxing the abdominal muscles. However, be sure to follow the dosing instructions. You should use the type of pain-reliever that works best for you, but some options include:
- Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin)
- Naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Another way to reduce abdominal cramping is to apply heat to your abdomen or stomach – wherever the pain seems to be originating. Applying heat will increase the blood flow to the area and relieve pain. Several ways to do this include:
- Heating pad
- Hot bath
- Heating patch
- Hot water bottle or rice sock
If you don’t have a heating pad or a heating patch handy, try filling an empty water or soda bottle with water and microwaving it until it is warm enough to feel through your clothing.
You can also fill a sock, preferably a tube-sock or a longer type of sock, with white rice and tie the end of it securely.
You can then microwave it for a few minutes – start with two minutes and go up from there in 30-second increments – until it is warm enough to feel the heat through your clothes.
Add Supplements to Your Diet
Supplements may help ease your muscle tension, which would ease the cramping and pain. Plus, it never hurts to add a few vitamins to your daily diet. You can try the following:
- Vitamin E – helps widen blood vessels and increase blood flow
- Omega-3 fatty acids – boosts the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs
- Vitamin B-1 (thiamine) – some evidence points to its effectiveness in the pain relief of menstrual pain and cramps
- Vitamin B-6 – relieves muscle pain
- Magnesium – helps to relieve menstrual pain and other side effects associated with premenstrual syndrome
Even though sex can be pleasurable, having an orgasm can cause your body to become tense. Cramps after sex can sometimes be eased by learning and practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, stretching, deep breathing and meditation.
If you drink or smoke tobacco, you may want to consider changing your habits. This is because both drinking and smoking can make cramps worse.
Safety Issue about Cramping after Sex
Cramping after sex isn’t necessarily a reason to call the doctor, but you should pay close attention to what your body is telling you.
Regardless of whether you are pregnant or not, don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you are experiencing cramping that you believe is more severe than what you are accustomed to. Nothing is more important than your safety.