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Why Do My Ribs Hurt After Sex?

The ribs are curved bones in your chest that expand and contract to allow air in. They’re designed to withstand a lot, but sudden severe blows can cause fractures. X-rays and a physical examination can show major breaks.

Pain that occurs during or after sex isn’t normal. It can be a sign of a pelvic infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, or an endometriosis (growth that happens when the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus). A doctor can check your symptoms and do a physical exam.


Rib pain after sex can come from several sources. These include a bruise (bone hurts when it’s pushed on) and a muscle strain. It can also be due to a rib fracture, or the clavicle or sternum (colloquially referred to as the sternum). It can even be caused by an internal injury to the organs near the rib cage, including the liver on the right and the spleen on the left.

The ribs are attached at the front to the breastbone, and at the back by cartilage that allows them to move up and down as you breathe. The ribs are supported by muscles, especially those that run between the ribs (intercostal muscles). When these muscles are strained it can feel like pain in the ribcage. Other rib trauma can involve the lungs, such as pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs).

Other systemic diseases can cause pain that feels like it’s coming from the ribs – This section is the creation of the website’s experts For example, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis can cause pain in the chest that can be felt as if it’s in the ribs. Other autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia can cause achy chest that feels like rib pain.

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Bone cancer is rare but can cause pain in the ribs. If a doctor thinks that’s the case, they may order a bone scan. For this test, the doctor injects a tracer that highlights any areas of abnormal bone density.


Whether or not the pain is caused by a broken rib or some other problem, it’s important to tell your doctor about it. The doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history, then give you a physical exam. The doctor will touch the area of the chest where you’re feeling the pain and listen to your lungs as you breathe. They’ll also order an imaging scan, usually X-rays, to get a better look at the rib cage and surrounding muscles, bones, and organs.

If you think you’re experiencing a cracked or broken rib, the most common sign is pain that gets worse with breathing. It’s also possible to have pain from other causes, like a bruised sternalis or intercostal neuralgia. These conditions are characterized by pain in the front part of your rib cage, a sensation that’s felt when you move or breathe, and tenderness over the area.

Other symptoms of a fractured rib include difficulty breathing and a dull or sharp pain when you inhale, in addition to the general tenderness that’s felt in this area. Injuries to the ribs can also lead to a cough that produces mucus or spit.

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In rare cases, a severe injury to the ribs can result in a medical condition called flail chest. This happens when three or more of the ribs are broken in both the front and back. The resulting pain is usually felt when you inhale or twist your body, and it’s accompanied by a paradoxical movement of the ribs.


If you experience severe pain while breathing, accompanied by a tightness in your chest and rib cage discomfort, or have shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately. This could be a sign of a lung injury or pulmonary embolism, both of which require immediate treatment to prevent death or long-term disability.

If the pain is caused by an injury, treatment options include over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and physical therapy. If the pain is a result of a lung disorder, a CT scan or a positron emission tomography (PET) scan may be required to diagnose the cause.

Liver disease can also cause referred pain to the ribcage, especially in the right upper abdomen. In some cases, the pain is dull and chronic, while in others it is sharp and intense. The treatment for liver disease depends on the underlying cause.

If your rib pain is caused by an infection, antibiotics can be prescribed. If the pain is due to a fracture or crack, your doctor can prescribe an appropriate brace to support the affected area. If the rib pain is a symptom of a pulmonary embolism, a procedure called a percutaneous transluminal angioplasty can dissolve the clot and restore normal blood flow to your lungs. If the rib pain is a side effect of medication, the doctor may alter your dosage or drug.

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If you have a bruised rib, it’s usually caused by a blow or pressure on the chest. Bruising occurs on the surface of the skin, and it’s often accompanied by a sharp pain on inspiration or breathing in and a cracking sound. You should contact a doctor right away if you have these symptoms, and your doctor will likely order an imaging scan such as X-ray or MRI to confirm the location of the injury.

A urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI, can cause abdominal pain during and after sex. It can be due to the bacteria from the vagina being pushed down the ureters, or it could be because of pelvic inflammation from scarring that results from previous infections. If you have a bladder infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

Pelvic pain during and after sex may be a sign of endometriosis, which is when the lining of the uterus grows outside of the womb. If you think you have endometriosis, your doctor will order an ultrasound to confirm the condition and recommend treatment.

Women who have sex with partners who have herpes can experience a lot of pain during and after sex. This is because herpes lives in the nerves, and it can cause chronic pain if left untreated. Your doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to help prevent herpes outbreaks, and you should use condoms during sex.