Causes of Cramping After Sex
There are numerous reasons why cramping may occur after sex. The following are a few of the most common causes of cramps after intercourse. You should note that if you are concerned about cramping after sex or are experiencing other symptoms, you should speak to your doctor to identify the root cause and treatment options.
If you have a new IUD, cramping can occur at any time, but especially during and after sex. This is because the uterus contracts. An IUD is inserted into the uterus through the cervix and It stays in the uterus and can’t be moved by having sex.
When an IUD is inserted into the uterus, the uterus tightens and contracts, which causes cramping. This is normal during the first six months of having one inserted. Your body knows that the IUD is a foreign object inside the uterus and it needs time to adjust to it, so cramping is normal.
This should improve after six months, but if it doesn’t or you are in significant pain, speak to your doctor. The placement of the IUD may need to be checked.
Women produce prostaglandins as part of a normal menstrual cycle. When the lining of your uterus breaks down and starts to shed during your period, it releases a high dose of prostaglandins, which causes inflammation. This constricts your blood vessels in the uterus which leads to menstrual cramps.
Semen contains high amounts of prostaglandins, which can also cause a similar inflammation of the uterus which can lead to cramping. Some women are more sensitive to prostaglandins in semen than others.
One way to test out the theory is to wear a condom during sex. If you don’t cramp afterward, this could be the cause of your cramping. If cramping continues, speak to your doctor.
During early pregnancy, implantation occurs inside the uterus and causes many changes to the uterus. The uterus, which is the size of a lemon, needs to grow to accommodate a growing fetus. It contracts during this process and causes more cramping throughout the pregnancy.
With the changes going on in your body, cramping after sex is very common in pregnancy. Some bleeding after sex is also relatively normal as well.
If the cramping is very painful or you bleed more than a little, contact your obstetrician immediately.
During ovulation, which occurs about halfway through your menstrual cycle, cramping after sex can occur. When you ovulate, an egg enters into the fallopian tube. During this process, you can experience cramping because of what is going on in your body when this happens.
Your uterus and cervix go through changes during ovulation to prepare for pregnancy. Your cervix will drop lower and become firmer and the opening to the uterus will close. When this happens the penis may bump into the cervix at a different angle which may be more sensitive. This can cause muscle contractions in the cervix and uterus.
Since each woman’s anatomy is unique, this means that some people will experience this while others do not. Keep track of your ovulation and the cramps following sex. If they only happen during the ovulatory period, this is likely the cause of your cramps.
Tilted Uterus and Cervix Position
A tilted uterus is common, occurring in one out of five women. Many people don’t know they have a tilted uterus, but some experience painful intercourse or cramps after sex as a result.
A tilted uterus may position the cervix at an odd angle. For some women, this may cause the penis to bump into the cervix at an angle that is more sensitive or uncomfortable, which can cause pain or cramping following sex.
Since your cervix moves throughout the menstrual cycle, the pain may be more prevalent during specific times of the cycle. Track your menstrual cycle and see if you notice any patterns. If you are concerned at any time, speak to your doctor about those concerns.
There are many kinds of uterine cysts that you can develop and most of them are harmless or benign. Cysts can occur as a result of ovulation in which an egg wasn’t released during the ovulatory period or if an egg is released but fluid fills the sac the egg was released from and forms a cyst.
There are other reasons why cysts may form, but the most common cysts form as a result of ovulation. During intercourse, one of these cysts may rupture and make sex painful or cause cramping afterward. Some women are more susceptible to cysts, such as those who have PCOS, endometriosis, are pregnant, or have had a cyst in the past.
If you have one of these risk factors and begin to experience cramping after intercourse, it would be a good idea to follow up with your doctor because other complications can occur as a result of ovarian cysts.
Fibroids are benign growths on the uterus, but they can get quite large and cause serious problems. The symptoms of fibroids include painful sex, swelling of the uterus, and pain or pressure in the lower abdomen.
Risk factors of fibroids include obesity, consuming a lot of red meat, low vitamin D3 levels, and a family history of fibroids. Three of these factors can be controlled by eating a healthy diet, exercise, and taking supplements. If you think that fibroids may be the cause of cramps after sex, see your doctor.
What You Can Do
If you experience cramps after intercourse, remember that you are not alone. This is common and something can usually be done to prevent it from happening. Identifying the underlying cause is important to prevent cramps. Almost all of the underlying causes are treatable, but you need to know the exact cause to treat it.
If you know what causes your cramps, there are ways to fix the problem. For example, if you have an IUD and it’s been longer than six months, have things checked out by your doctor. IUDs can shift and cause pain and may need to be repositioned or you may choose to have it removed.
Most other causes have very simple solutions. Using a condom can resolve sensitivity to your partner’s semen. Both early pregnancy and ovulation will resolve on their own after your body moves past its current phase and birth control is also a good option for ovulation-related cramps.
Problems with your anatomy should be addressed by a doctor. A tilted uterus,
ovarian cysts, and fibroids can have many treatment options or solutions to prevent pain. For example, if you have a tilted uterus, you can try to find a more comfortable position or you may notice a different partner makes a difference.
Treatment of Cramps After Sex
There are many things that you can do to treat post-sex cramps at home. You can start by taking ibuprofen or naproxen at least 30 minutes before intercourse. Both of these medications are NSAIDs, which reduce inflammation that can cause cramps.
If you have not done so, make an appointment with your doctor for your annual pelvic exam and a pap smear if you haven’t had one or it’s time for you to have another. During an exam, a doctor will check your uterus for abnormalities and if they note anything unusual, you may be referred for an ultrasound.
You have options to ease your cramps such as taking a warm bath following sex. Another good idea is to take ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce inflammation afterward. Using a heating pad is another option to treat cramps. These methods will give you fast relief if the cramps become painful.
You Are Not Alone
Many women suffer from cramping after having intercourse. Understanding the underlying cause of your cramps will go a long way to preventing and treating them. If you are worried or have any questions, your doctor is your best resource. They can help you figure this out quickly so that you can have a healthy and enjoyable sex life.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Is it normal to cramp after you have sex?
It can be. It is a fairly common occurrence and is usually caused by something simple and will either improve on its own or with minor adjustments during sex. See your doctor if the cramps are severe or last longer than a few hours.
Can you prevent cramps?
If you know the underlying cause of your cramps, you will likely have options to prevent them. If you have an IUD or your anatomy causes cramps, take ibuprofen or naproxen 30 minutes or longer before intercourse to prevent the inflammation that causes them.
What should I do if I don't know what is causing my cramps?
See your doctor if you don't know the underlying cause of your cramps. Your doctor can rule out many of these causes with a pelvic exam and help you find a resolution that will allow you to more fully enjoy your sex life.
How long should cramping last after sex?
It depends on the cause, but they shouldn't last longer than a few hours unless you are on your period and the cramps are period-related. If they are longer than a few hours, speak to your doctor.