Sex should be a pleasurable activity, but in some cases, you may feel some pain after sex is over. There are different things that can lead to abdominal pain after having sex — some of them are simple, common causes; but others can be more serious and require attention. It’s important to identify the cause of pain after sex, since this will determine whether you need treatment, or if it’s just a one-time occurence.
Read on to learn why your stomach hurts after having sex.
Why does my stomach hurt after having sex?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the term dyspareunia is used to refer to recurrent or consistent pain that happens immediately before, during, or after sex. Dyspareunia is a relatively common problem, and it affects a large percentage of sexually active people at least once in their lives — especially women.
Pain after sex can be felt in different parts of the body, including the genitals and abdomen. There are many different causes of dyspareunia, ranging from psychological concerns to anatomical variations. Let’s take a look at some of the conditions that can lead to stomach pain after sex.
When you reach an orgasm, your pelvic muscles will contract because your body releases substances called prostaglandins. This is a normal phenomenon, although each woman can experience orgasms differently. In some cases, these uterine contractions can cause mild abdominal cramps after having sex.
Pain after an orgasm is known as dysorgasmia. This disorder is poorly understood, but possible causes include endometriosis, uterus or bladder problems, and even some medications, such as antidepressants. A study published by The Journal of Urology also found a link between low-dose oral contraceptives and pelvic pain after orgasms.
Some positions can lead to postcoital soreness, especially for women. In some cases, deep penetration allow your partner’s penis, fingers, or a sex toy to touch your cervix, which can cause soreness or pain after sex. Anal sex can also result in postcoital discomfort for both men and women, especially if you didn’t use enough lubricant during intercourse.
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
UTIs are infections that affect your urinary tract, which includes the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. This is a very common condition, and many women will get a UTI at least once in their lives. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the symptoms of a UTI can include:
- Painful or burning sensation during urination
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Incomplete bladder emptying
- Urinary incontinence
- Pus or blood in the urine
- Pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, or sides of the abdomen
Having sex with a UTI can worsen the pain caused by the infection. UTIs don’t cause stomach pain, but they can cause abdominal pain which can be mistaken for stomach pain.
Sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Similarly to a UTI, an STD can also lead to inflammation and pain during or after sex. There are different STDs that can lead to similar symptoms, but according to the CDC, chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two STDs more likely to cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can feel like lower abdominal pain, which can worsen after having sex.
Remember that it’s important to get regular STD tests if you’re sexually active, even if you don’t have any other symptoms of an STD. These infections can be completely asymptomatic, but you could still spread them to your partner(s) or develop complications.
There are other conditions that can cause abdominal pain after having sex, including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Tilted or retroverted uterus
- Ovarian cysts
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine prolapse
- Psychological factors
- Recent IUD insertion
- Recent childbirth
- Prostatitis (males)
When to see a doctor
If you only experience postcoital pain once or twice and it resolves on its own, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. If the pain is caused by deep penetration, you can try using more lubricant or switching positions the next time you have sex.
However, you should seek medical assistance if you frequently have pain before, during, or after sex. You should also see a doctor if the pain is intense, is accompanied by other symptoms (such as bleeding), or doesn’t resolve on its own.
Your doctor will probably ask detailed questions about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and order different lab and imaging tests to determine the cause of the pain. Depending on your diagnosis, you may need different types of treatment to manage the issue. For example, a UTI or STD may be treated with a simple course of antibiotics, while cases of endometriosis will require a more thorough management.
Additionally, you should get tested for STDs regularly, especially if you have recently had unprotected sex with a new partner or have symptoms of an STD. Common signs of an STD include:
- Genital itching
- Abnormal vaginal or penile discharge
- Abdominal pain
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
You can learn more about STD testing and other sexual health topics at STDWatch.com.
Painful intercourse (dyspareunia) - mayoclinic.org
Urinary Tract Infections - my.clevelandclinic.org