How Does Sex Help With Period Pains?

While many people still feel guilty about having sex during their period, it’s totally normal and healthy to have both penetrative and non-penetrative intercourse during your menstrual cycle. And masturbation that ends in orgasm can also help relieve period pain.

Orgasms caused by sexual activity contract and then relax your uterus, which can ease cramping and other PMS symptoms, like headaches, explains Ross.

Orgasms

You may not think sex would be on your agenda when you have period cramps, but it can help ease them. Orgasms can relieve menstrual pain because they cause the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers. They can also make your uterus contract, which helps to expel your blood more quickly and reduce the duration of your period.

You can achieve orgasms by masturbating, or engaging in clitoral stimulation (using your fingers, a dildo, or vibrator). The release of feel-good hormones oxytocin and dopamine can help to soothe pain symptoms, including menstrual cramps.

Orgasms can also be a great way to relieve period pain in between intercourse, as they increase blood flow to the uterus and encourage your body to produce the lubricant progesterone. This can reduce bloating and discomfort, and it can also help to prevent the production of prostaglandins, which can cause uterus cramps.

It’s important to remember that orgasms won’t take away all your pain, and you should still take ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medicine, such as mefenamic acid, if you have severe or persistent cramps. However, many women find that orgasms can help with their pain and cramps. And it’s never a bad idea to enjoy pleasure when you can, especially as it can help you feel happier and more confident. It’s also a good idea to talk with your partner about what pleasure means for you, so you can find a way to have sex that’s comfortable and enjoyable for both of you.

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Lubrication

A woman’s menstrual blood can act as a natural lubricant during sex, making intercourse easier. But if you’re using a tampon, be sure to remove it before starting up. Forgetting a tampon can cause it to get pushed up too far in the vagina and lead to complications later on, like infection. It’s also important to wear a condom during sex, whether you’re having period sex or not. That can help prevent pregnancy and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

If you don’t feel up for sex, masturbation can still make your periods better. In a recent study, women who used a vibrator or manual stimulation over the course of three months reported fewer symptoms of their periods than those who didn’t. That’s because masturbation and orgasms can help relieve cramps by causing the muscles in your uterus to contract and release, which eases menstrual pain.

And if you’re thinking about trying out some of those period-pain-relieving sex positions, be sure to talk to your partner first. It’s not a good idea to force a position on someone when they’re having period pain, and some positions that require deeper penetration may be messy because of the increased flow of blood. Keeping a towel or washcloth nearby to clean up any blood spills could help. Also, try to avoid lying on top because that can increase blood flow and make things messier.

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Increased Blood Flow

The uterus contracts to help expel its lining, but the contractions can also cause pain. Women who get painful periods may have higher levels of natural chemicals called prostaglandins. These cause the uterus, bowel and blood vessels to contract. There are things you can do to ease the pain. Some women find that taking NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, help — they lessen the pain and cramping, and make menstrual flow lighter.

Other simple treatments include heat (a hot water bottle, a warm bath or shower), exercise and relaxation. Eat a balanced diet, including lots of fruits and veggies, and avoid fatty foods. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water daily. Some people find herbal remedies such as fennel seeds, ginger, valerian root and zataria helpful. There are also over-the-counter medications that relieve period pain, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

If simple treatments don’t work, talk to your doctor. They can give you more tips on how to ease the pain and can check if there’s a medical problem causing your pain, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection in your reproductive organs. Talk to your OB-GYN about using birth control pills to reduce the pain and frequency of your periods, too. Or, if you want to try hormonal contraceptives, consider the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD). These release progestogens into your uterus, which can make your period lighter and less painful.

Feel-Good Hormones

Cramps that come with your menstrual cycle aren’t uncommon, and they can be really uncomfortable, even debilitating. But they are a part of your body’s natural process, and there are lots of ways to relieve them.

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Aside from the pain-relieving medication you may take, sex is an excellent way to reduce period cramps because orgasming triggers a rush of hormones that help dull pain, like serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. These feel-good hormones can also help relieve other PMS symptoms, including stress and headaches. And you don’t need to have partnered sex to get these benefits: masturbation works, too.

Other feel-good hormones that are released during exercise include endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers. Low-intensity exercises such as walking, yoga, and dancing can help reduce period pain by boosting endorphins. And don’t forget to eat foods that can boost your feel-good hormones, such as oily fish (for omega 3 fatty acids), coffee in moderation, and tryptophan-containing foods like poultry, eggs, milk, nuts, and seeds.

If your cramps are so severe that they interfere with your daily activities, talk to your doctor about getting a referral for physical therapy or taking an over-the-counter painkiller such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. You can also try a hot bath to soothe the muscles and relax. Try adding some epsom salts, bubble bath or even a few drops of essential oils to make it extra soothing.

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