Woman Suffering from a Stomach Pain Lying Down on Bed

Why Does Stomach Hurt After Sex?

Pain after sex is pretty normal (and usually a good thing), but sometimes the discomfort can feel more like a stomachache. This is often because of the deep penetration that occurs during sex.

Other times it can be caused by a urinary tract infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, or other medical issues that may not have been transmitted sexually.

Endometriosis

There’s a good chance your pain isn’t from something serious—but you should always check in with a gynecologist if it lasts more than a few hours, especially if you have other symptoms like bleeding or abnormal vaginal discharge. The lower abdominal or stomach pain you feel after sex could be due to things like deep penetration, a change in position, or not using enough lube. Or, it may be the sign of an underlying condition that requires medical attention, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition where bits of your uterine lining are found outside your uterus. They grow in the area around your pelvic organs, and can adhere to your other organs, causing pain. It can also cause heavy periods with painful cramping, spotting between periods, or infertility. You can get diagnosed with endometriosis through your gynecologist, but you might need to undergo laparoscopic surgery to receive a definitive diagnosis. Once you do, your gynecologist can prescribe birth control pills or other medications that can help manage your symptoms.

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Uterine Fibroids

If you’re experiencing pain during and after sex, it can be a sign of sexually transmitted infections or an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. According to physical therapist Rachel Gelman, founder of Pelvic Wellness and Physical Therapy, the most common causes of stomach pain after sex include period cramps, deep penetrative vaginal sex or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

However, it’s important to remember that pain during and after sex can also be due to uterine fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors that develop inside the uterus, also known as the womb. These growths can be as small as a seed or as large as a melon. If they grow to be very large, they can create pressure on the abdomen and lower pelvic area.

When a woman has a fibroid, her uterus can become tilted, which means that organs like the intestines are attached to the uterus and can get hit during sexual activity. This is why women with uterine fibroids often experience abdominal and pelvic pain, even when they aren’t engaging in sex.

Uterine fibroids can be treated with a minimally invasive procedure called an endometrial fibroid embolization (UFE). During this treatment, the fibroid is targeted and the bleeding it causes is stopped. In most cases, this FDA-approved procedure has an 85 to 95 percent success rate.

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

In many cases, stomach pain after sex is due to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This happens when an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI) spreads from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. This can lead to severe pelvis and abdominal pain and heavy periods. It can also cause inflammation and scar tissue in the fallopian tubes or ovaries, which makes it harder for women to get pregnant.

Symptoms of PID include pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis, severe menstrual cramping and spotting between periods. It’s important to see a doctor if you have these symptoms, especially since they can be difficult to diagnose. Your doctor may ask for a sample of the lining of your uterus or cervix and do a pelvic exam. They may also order a blood test, an ultrasound or a laparoscopy.

If your doctor suspects you have PID, they will probably give you antibiotics to treat it. This is usually a combination of drugs that work against a variety of bacteria. It’s important to take your antibiotics as directed, even if your symptoms go away. Otherwise, the infection could return. You should also tell your partner that you’re taking antibiotics so that he or she can get tested for the same STI and get treatment. Getting treated early can prevent complications, like infertility, later on.

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Infections

The most common reason for stomach pain after sex is a strained muscle. This happens when you have to strain your body to hold a difficult position during sexual activity. It’s similar to how your lower abdominal muscles can hurt after a vigorous exercise class.

A vaginal infection caused by STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhea can also cause cramping after sex. This is because the toxins from these infections can travel from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries (a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease). This causes pain both during and after sex.

For men, a urinary tract infection, or a UTI, can also cause stomach pain after sex. These are usually caused by bacteria that make their way up from the penis into the urethra, which is longer than the vagina. These infections can be easily prevented by using condoms and lubricating with a good quality product.

If you’re experiencing pain after penetrative sex, it’s best to visit a medical professional. This is especially true if the pain persists or gets worse. The docs agree that any pain after sex is a good reason to visit the doctor, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. They’ll check you for a variety of reasons why your stomach might be sore after sex, from indigestion to endometriosis.