From period cramps to childbirth and fuckboys to UTIs, women already have a lot of painful BS to deal with. And sex? Well, that's one thing women should not feel pain before, during, or after.
And yet, lots of women experience cramps for minutes, hours, days, and sometimes even weeks after sex. If you’re one of these women, you’ve come to the right place.
We spoke to two amazing doctors about everything there is to know about post-sex cramps. Read along and get ready to conquer your cramps once and for all.
Are post-sex cramps normal?
Simply put? No. “Any pain is not normal—although that doesn’t mean something dire is happening, it just means you may need an evaluation,” says Felice Gersh, MD, founder and director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine and the author of Pcos SOS: A Gynecologist's Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness.
If you're experiencing cramps after sex regularly, it's time to schedule an appointment with your gyno to get things checked out.
Why do they happen?
There are lots of reasons why women experience cramps after intercourse. “Pain with or after intercourse (called dyspareunia) alerts me to a couple of possible underlying conditions or diseases," says ob-gyn Kimberly Langdon, MD, a medical advisor at Dr Felix, a digital health company based in Europe and California.
A few possible reasons?
Endometriosis—a disease related to menstruation where tissue that grows on the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus (where it shouldn't).
Adenomyosis—endometriosis found inside the muscle portion of the uterus.
Fibroid tumors—benign muscle tumors of the uterus.
Pelvic inflammatory disease—when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.
Ovarian cysts—fluid-filled sacs in the ovary.
Urinary tract disease—infection in any part of your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Irritable bowel syndrome—a disorder that affects the large intestine and causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation.
"It may also be possible for a woman who is ultra-sensitive to oxytocin to experience cramps after sexual intercourse,” says Dr. Langdon.
Dr. Gersh also notes that emotional pain can cause you to experience physical cramps after sex. “Another area that is often overlooked but can be the underlying cause of sexual pain is a history of sexual trauma,” she explains.
“Women who have experienced such things in their lives may inadvertently tighten their pelvic-floor muscles and this can result in very painful cramping with and following sexual activity.”
Where do post-sex cramps typically occur?
According to Dr. Langdon, post-sex cramps typically happen in your “low suprapubic” area, meaning the front bone of the pelvis. That being said, they can be so deep that they actually radiate to your lower back and upper thighs.
When should you see a doctor?
Dr. Gersh urges you to consult with your ob-gyn “right away” if you’re experiencing post-sex cramps. If the doctor doesn’t find anything physical going on, she suggests going to both a mental-health therapist and a pelvic-floor therapist to help figure out if there are any emotional issues at hand.
What can you do to avoid them?
The first thing you have to do is go to the doctor where you can be treated with any necessary medications or treatments.
If you don’t have underlying pelvic diseases and are still experiencing cramps, Dr. Langdon recommends trying any of the following over-the-counter drugs an hour before intercourse, then again right after to help avoid the pain:
Dr. Langdon also suggests the following natural remedies for the pain:
Omega 3 fatty acids
Bark of viburnum
Abdominal heat packs