Why Does My Stomach Feel Weird After Sex?

A lot of people have trouble figuring out why their stomach hurts after sex. But the answer isn’t always as scary as it sounds:

The pain you feel could be due to a variety of things. POPSUGAR talked to two ob-gyns about the reasons your stomach might hurt after sex, and what you can do about it.

Period Cramps

If you have a period, cramping is a normal part of your menstrual cycle. It’s caused by tightening of the muscles in your uterus to shed your uterine lining and can be triggered by sexual activity – This section is a manifestation of the portal editorial team’s work Alluring Whispers. The cramps typically feel like a throbbing ache, lower in your abdomen than a stomach ache and may radiate to your hips, back or upper legs. It’s also common for cramping to get worse during or after sex because the act of reproducing rubs and tugs your uterus, which can aggravate your symptoms.

If your pain is consistent and gets worse during sex, it’s important to talk to a doctor about it. New York-based gynecologist Dr. Adeeti Gupta recommends getting a urine test and pelvic sonogram to see if there’s an infection causing your pain. She says STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which causes pain during intercourse and after. PID can also cause a swollen and painful uterus, so it’s best to be regularly tested for STIs.

If you’re not on birth control, there’s a chance your cramping is due to a uterine fibroid, a non-cancerous tumor in the uterus that can grow large enough to cause pain during and after sexual activity. If this is a persistent problem, a pelvic ultrasound or MRI might be needed to diagnose and treat a fibroid.

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Birth Control Devices

Women on birth control may experience pain after sex for a variety of reasons. For example, a diaphragm, which looks like a small dome-shaped cup and is placed inside the vagina to prevent pregnancy, can sometimes cause pain. The device works by blocking the cervix and sperm can’t get into the uterus to fertilize an egg. Women should insert the device one to two hours before sexual activity and remove it six to 24 hours afterward. A diaphragm, along with spermicide or contraceptive gel, is a highly effective form of birth control and can reduce pregnancy risk by 85 percent when used properly.

A bacterial UTI, or urinary tract infection, can also cause stomach pain after sex. Bacteria that gets into your urethra during sex can trigger contractions in the pelvic floor and bladder, which can lead to pain. If you have a UTI, you should avoid sexual activity until the infection has cleared up.

Orgasms can also make your stomach hurt after sex for some people. According to Sherry Ross, women’s sexual health expert and author of she-ology and she-quel, this pain is due to the uterine contractions that accompany an orgasm. She recommends trying different sexual positions and avoiding deep penetration if you have a tilted uterus to see if that helps.

Stomach pain after sex can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as endometriosis or adenomyosis. If you’re experiencing stomach pain and don’t have a reason for it, it’s important to see your gynecologist right away.

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Urinary Tract Infections

During sexual intercourse, deep penetration can trigger the vasovagal nerve (which connects your brain, heart, and digestive system) to send a message of pain. This can cause your stomach to feel weird after sex or, more commonly, to hurt during sex. This type of stomach pain during or after sex is called dyspareunia and it can be caused by a variety of things.

Sometimes, bacteria from the rectum (or urethra for men) can migrate to the bladder and cause a urinary tract infection. This is more common in women than in men because of the way their genitals are designed. Women have shorter urethras and more friction around the anus, so it’s easier for germs to move from the rectum to the vagina or urethra. Having lots of sex can also increase this risk because there is a lot of friction and movement in the genital area.

The good news is that UTIs are treatable with antibiotics and your symptoms should go away in a few days. Just be sure to take the whole course of antibiotics so the infection is completely gone. If your symptoms don’t go away, talk to your doctor. They may do a urine test to confirm the diagnosis and make sure you have the right dosage of medication. They might also check for STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Endometriosis

Women with endometriosis have tissue resembling the uterus lining, but it grows outside the uterus. This can cause pain during menstruation and spotting between periods. It can also cause pain in the pelvic area. For some women, this can make sexual intercourse painful. It’s a good idea to try to find ways to make sex more pleasurable if you have this condition, and to talk to your partner about what works or doesn’t work.

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Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your healthcare provider will most likely start by doing a physical exam and asking about any history of pregnancy or other gynecological problems. They may also ask you about whether your symptoms seem to get worse around your period. They will then probably order a pelvic ultrasound and possibly an MRI. These tests can help your healthcare provider see the areas where the tissue growth is located and measure its thickness.

In some cases, a healthcare professional will recommend medications to control your symptoms, or they might suggest laparoscopic surgery. This is a procedure that involves inserting a camera into the pelvic area to remove the tissue growths that are causing your pain. This treatment option is almost always effective and can help to reduce your pain and restore pleasure in the bedroom. You may still have to make some adjustments, but sex can be more pleasurable again for most people with endometriosis.

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