Why Do I Feel Bloated After Sex?

Getting bloated after sex is not a pleasant experience. It can cause stomach pain, and in some cases, it might be a sign of an underlying medical issue like pelvic inflammatory disease or retroverted uterus.

Bloating after sex can be caused by what you eat, swallowing air, or penetrative sex that pushes air into the anus or vagina. It can also be caused by the release of prostaglandin from semen.

Hormonal Changes

Bloating after sex isn’t uncommon, but the discomfort that follows can be a pain. Depending on the cause, you can usually resolve it without a doctor’s visit, but you should see a specialist if the symptoms persist. POPSUGAR talked to ob-gyns about the most common reasons people feel bloated after sex—and how to get rid of it.

One of the most obvious reasons you might be bloated after sex is because your hormones are changing. When you’re near the days of your menstrual cycle, progesterone levels drop and the uterus sheds its lining, which can lead to abdominal bloating. Bloating is also common during ovulation, when your ovaries release an egg, causing fluid buildup in the abdomen.

Emotional factors can also contribute to bloating after sex. Stress, anxiety and depression can all affect digestion and make you more prone to bloating. Similarly, certain medications can cause bloating by slowing down digestion.

Certain sexual positions can also exacerbate bloating. Those that require twisting and bending can put pressure on the stomach, leading to gas. Additionally, swallowing air (like when chewing gum) or having penetrative sex can cause you to fill up with air, which can lead to pain and bloating in the abdomen and pelvic area. Bloating can also be a sign of more serious medical conditions like ovarian cysts or endometriosis, which require a doctor’s attention.

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Gut Issues

The gut-brain connection is real, and emotions like anger or happiness can trigger stomach pain. This might explain why you hear people saying they have the “butterflies” in their stomach. But if you are experiencing persistent bloating, a medical professional should be consulted to rule out underlying health issues.

If you feel stomach bloating after sex, it could be caused by the release of gas during penetration or the stretching of abdominal muscles. Alternatively, stomach bloating could also be an indicator of a more serious health problem, such as uterine fibroids or an infection of the vaginal canal.

A common myth suggests that a woman can prevent bloating after sexual intercourse by not eating before sex or by switching sexual positions. But while changing position may make the experience less uncomfortable, there is no evidence that it can reduce bloating.

Aside from ensuring your digestive system is functioning well, there are several other ways to help alleviate your stomach bloating after sex. Keeping a food diary to identify problematic foods, drinking plenty of water, practicing stress-reducing techniques, and speaking with your doctor about hormonal imbalances are all good starts.

Unprotected Sex

It can be hard to remember a condom when you’re having a hot romp or getting orgasmic. Even if you’re both wearing protection, it can easily slip your mind when the mood strikes. Unprotected sexual activity can lead to infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea or cause pregnancy. These STIs can travel from the vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries (a.k.a pelvic inflammatory disease) and cause stomach pain and bloating.

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Also, unprotected sex can cause an infection in the anus that can cause abdominal and pelvic pain. The semen enters the anus and causes a build-up of gas, which leads to cramps and stomach pain. To fix this, try to lie down, put your feet up and breathe deeply. If the pain persists, you could ask your partner to try switching sex positions or use a lubricant that isn’t made from artificial ingredients.

If you’re worried you might be pregnant, it’s best to wait three weeks after having unprotected sex before taking a test. This gives your body time to produce the hormone needed for a positive result. It’s also a good idea to get tested for STIs after every period, even if you have no symptoms. This will help prevent an unwanted pregnancy and protect your future partners from a painful STI. Also, don’t forget to eat probiotics to keep your bacteria balanced and your gut healthy!

Retroverted Uterus

Women with a uterus that tilts backward, also called a retroverted uterus, may feel bloated after sex. This condition is not uncommon, and it can occur due to genetic factors or scar tissue from pelvic conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, or previous surgeries like a cesarean delivery. A uterus that is tipped can cause pain during intercourse because it presses against other organs, such as the bladder and intestines. It can also make certain sex positions uncomfortable, such as lying face-to-face or spooning with your partner. In most cases, a tipped uterus doesn’t have an impact on fertility or pregnancy, but it can make the experience of sex less enjoyable for both partners.

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The uterus can sometimes become tipped during pregnancy as it shifts and grows. However, the position should rectify itself by around the 10th week of pregnancy. It is also rare for a tipped uterus to have a negative impact on the health of either the pregnant woman or fetus.

If you suspect that your uterus is tipped, the best way to find out is to schedule a pelvic exam. Depending on what’s causing it to be in this position, treatment options could include using an intrauterine device, a pessary, or surgery to manually reposition the uterus. These procedures are usually very safe, and they can offer long-term relief from the discomfort caused by a tipped uterus.

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