Cramping Pain During Or After Sex

Cramping pain during or after sex isn’t normal, but it’s not always due to a medical problem. If it happens a lot, however, it’s worth mentioning to your doctor.

“When you reach climax, there are strong muscular contractions that occur,” OB/GYN Aimee Eyvazzadeh tells Bustle. If these muscles continue to contract after orgasm, you may experience pelvic pain—or dyspareunia.

Vaginal Pain

Women who experience pain in the vulva during sexual activity may find that their sex life becomes less enjoyable, which can have an impact on sexual desire and overall sexual satisfaction. If a woman is not enjoying sexual activity as much because of this type of pain, it is recommended that she seek medical attention.

There are several ways to address the pain that some women feel in the vagina during sex, and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Treatment options can include the use of lubricants, practicing relaxation techniques before sexual activity, and talking to your partner about sex. Treatment can also involve addressing any underlying emotional or relationship issues that might be contributing to the pain.

This type of pain is known as dyspareunia, and it is common in both men and women of all ages. It can be a result of injury or damage to the genitals, various medical or nerve conditions, or psychological problems such as anxiety or depression.

Often, the causes of pain in the vulva during sex are physical and can be treated by using lubricants, practicing relaxation techniques before sex, and making sure that a woman has sufficient sexual lubrication. Medications such as birth control and hormone replacement therapy can help to regulate hormonal changes, which can alleviate pain in some women.

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Pelvic Pain

Pain during sex or penetration is often felt at the pelvic area. It may feel sharp and deep, or achy and tight. It may be localized at the site of penetration, or it can spread to other areas of the vulva. The type of pain varies for each person. It can be categorized as primary, secondary, situational or superficial-entry pain.

A number of medical conditions and treatments can cause pain during sexual activity, including menopause, hysterectomy or cancer treatment. Dyspareunia, a condition in which the vaginal opening becomes painful to touch, is another problem that can make sexual intimacy difficult. Inflammation of the vulva, known as vulvodynia, can also be painful. A lack of foreplay can lead to painful sex, as well as clenching of the vaginal muscles (called vaginismus).

It’s important to understand that pain during sexual arousal or sex is not normal. Women who suffer from painful sex should consult with an experienced pelvic pain specialist to determine the source of their discomfort. Once the root cause is identified, your doctor can create a holistic treatment plan that may include exercises to relax the pelvic floor muscles, medication for underlying infections and counseling to work through emotional causes of pain. She may also recommend at-home remedies, such as using lubricants and self-massage. She will help you to regain control of your pelvic health and be able to enjoy sex with confidence.

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Abdominal Pain

Women and men both can experience pain during sexual activity that affects the vulva, vagina, pelvis or abdomen. This is called dyspareunia and can be caused by a number of things. It’s important to see a doctor so they can rule out any underlying causes of sexual pain.

Dyspareunia is often caused by infection. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic pain in both men and women. Infections can also cause scarring which can then irritate the area during sexual activity and lead to pain.

Other causes of painful intercourse include hormonal changes and issues affecting the reproductive organs. For example, some premenopausal women develop ovarian cysts which are fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries that can cause pain during sex. Women may also develop endometriosis, a condition that causes tissue that typically lines the uterus to grow outside of the uterus, on other pelvic organs and then break down, causing pain during sex and menstruation.

Sometimes pain during sex is due to a particular position or act and can be reduced by taking longer foreplay, regulating penetration to a depth that feels good, and using a personal lubricant. For men, a swollen prostate (a walnut-sized gland that produces semen) can also cause pain during and after sexual activity. This can be prevented by consuming plenty of water and using a personal lubricant.

Back Pain

The back is a complex network of muscles, ligaments, tendons and disks that work together to support the body and enable movement. Back pain can result from injury or degenerative conditions in the spine, but can also be caused by poor posture and some health issues such as fibromyalgia.

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Sometimes back pain can make sexual activity uncomfortable or even painful. This can cause both partners to slow down and may lead to reduced sex. Having an understanding of how back pain affects sex can help couples plan ahead and find ways to overcome this obstacle.

In some cases, sex can alleviate back pain by releasing endorphins that block the pain signals sent to the brain. This can be especially helpful for women with lower back pain who have trouble finding a position that is comfortable during sex. One option is for the woman to try the missionary position where she lies on her stomach with her knees pulled toward her chest. Then she can place a pillow or rolled up towel under her lower back for support.

A woman who has back pain during sex can also try lying in the fetal position with a pillow under her head or on her side to relieve pressure on the spine. It can be helpful to alternate between a cold pack and a heating pad and take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

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