Why Does My Stomach Hurt After Sex?

While sex should feel good, sometimes painful aches occur during or after penetration. This may indicate a serious medical condition like genital herpes, chlamydia, or a urinary tract infection.

If this happens to you, make an appointment with a doctor to rule out any infections and get treated. In the meantime, try out different sex positions that allow for shallower penetration, Dr Gelman says.

Causes

There are a variety of causes for stomach pain after sex. A common one is a pelvic infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. These infections can travel from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries, causing abdominal pain and inflammation.

Another cause of stomach pain after sex is a urinary tract infection, also called a UTI. This bacterial infection can affect any part of the bladder or urinary tract, but it is most common in the urethra, the small tube that carries semen from the prostate to the penis. UTIs are more common in females, but men can get them too.

Fibroids, or tumors, can also cause stomach pain after sex in males and females of all ages. These benign tumors can develop inside or on the uterus, and they can be as small as a pea or as large as a melon. Fibroids may be more likely to cause pain with sex in women because they are located near the cervix.

A less common cause of sex-related abdominal pain is a condition known as an undescended testicle. This is when one or both of a man’s testicles does not descend into the scrotum from the abdomen, which can create a squeezing pain during sexual activity. This can be diagnosed with a physical exam and ultrasound.

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Symptoms

Pain in the pelvic area or abdomen after sex is common in women and can be triggered by many different factors. Some of these are specific to female reproductive health, and others are related to the digestive system or general health problems like constipation. If the pain is severe or doesn’t go away, it is best to visit a gynecologist to determine what is causing it.

One common cause of sex-related stomach pain is the vasovagal nerve, which gets triggered during intercourse when it touches the cervix. This nerve connects to the heart, lungs, and stomach, so it can cause pain when it’s activated. This type of pain can be avoided by choosing sexual positions that allow for less deep penetration, such as on the side or cowgirl position.

Another possible cause of sex-related stomach pain in women is uterine fibroids, which are tumors that occur in the uterus. These can also cause cramping and lower abdominal pain after sex. Fibroids aren’t cancerous, and they aren’t as dangerous as ovarian cysts or adenocarcinoma.

A more serious reason for sex-related stomach pain in women can be endometriosis, which occurs when tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This can also lead to lower abdominal pain during and after sex, and the discomfort may be worse at certain times of the month.

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Treatment

If pain after sex is a regular occurrence, you should see your ob-gyn. It could be an indication of a serious issue, like endometriosis (tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside it) or adenomyosis (tissue growing into the uterine wall). The good news is, figuring out what’s causing your pain usually involves a lot of trial and error and talking to different healthcare professionals—including a pelvic floor physical therapist and a gynecologist.

The less serious causes of stomach pain after sex are usually related to the digestive tract and include conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, gas, or constipation. STIs can also cause stomach pain, but these are typically easy to treat with antibiotics.

If you have a tilted uterus, or what’s known as a retroverted uterus, this can cause pain after sex for some women. This occurs when the penis puts pressure on the uterus while performing sexual activities. This can be painful in positions like missionary or doggy, and you might have to experiment with different position to find one that doesn’t hurt.

A recurrent UTI or bladder problems can lead to stomach pain after sex for both men and women. These can be treated with antibiotics and usually go away on their own after a few days. If the pain is constant, a gynecologist may recommend a treatment called uterine fibroid embolization, which is a minimally invasive procedure.

Prevention

For men, pain after sex can be a sign of prostatitis, an infection that affects up to 15 percent of the U.S male population and can lead to urinary tract issues and pelvic inflammatory disease, which are all common causes of stomach pain after sex. The best way to prevent prostatitis is to practice good hygiene and get screened for sexually transmitted diseases, like chlamydia or gonorrhea. The sooner these infections are treated, the more likely you’ll enjoy sex without pain.

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For women, pain after sex can be caused by a variety of factors, but the most common reason is that it’s an early sign of pregnancy. “Sex and ejaculation stimulate the release of prostaglandins that can cause uterine contractions, which feel very similar to menstrual cramps,” OB-GYN Maureen Whelihan tells Romper. If you’re worried about being pregnant, an ultrasound can confirm it for you.

For women, pain after sex can also be a sign of endometriosis, a condition that causes tissue from the uterus to grow outside the womb, which can cause inflammation in the vagina and abdomen. A gynecologist can prescribe medication to treat endometriosis, but other options for reducing discomfort include daily exercise (like yoga or diaphragmatic breathing), drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet. Some women with fibroids can reduce their symptoms by undergoing a procedure called uterine fibroid embolization.

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