sex

Getting cramps after sex? Here's 8 things that could be causing it.

You know what you don't need in your life? Painful sex. Honestly, we all have too much other s**t to worry about. 

Yet, there are heaps of poor gals out there who experience this all the time. And the pain and cramps can end up lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours, days, or even weeks.

Sigh.

Watch: We show you how to strengthen those vagina muscles. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

The most annoying part? There's no one reason as to why you might be experiencing cramping and pain after sex.

In fact, there are lots of reasons why women experience cramps after intercourse - so many that it's even got a fancy name for itself: dyspareunia. 

The potential causes can be a little scary and confusing and there are so many underlying conditions and diseases that it could relate to.

But - we got you, friend. If you're one of these women who regularly feels like your body wants to kill you after having a lil bit of steamy time, you've come to the right place.

To suss out everything we need to know about post-sex cramps, we spoke to a gynaecologist and asked him for the most common causes behind it.

1. Orgasms.

Yes! This is a thing. Your orgasms can really do a number on you. 

Y'see, before, during and after having an orgasm, all your muscles pretty much tense up - especially in your pelvic area. This can cause them to spasm and cramp. Fun!

"During orgasm, it is common to feel very strong rhythmic contractions of the pelvic floor muscle and some women swear they can feel the uterus contract as well," explains Associate Professor Gino Pecoraro, President of the National Association of Specialist Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (NASOG).

Listen to Mamamia's podcast Overshare, where Flex, Kelly and Lem discuss the best sex they've ever had. Post continues after podcast.

"This is important to help squeeze the increased blood flow out of the lower genital tract which has occurred during the excitation phase of the normal sexual response."

ADVERTISEMENT

So, for how long afterwards is 'normal' to feel cramping?

"If these cramps continue after intercourse, it might be a sign of over active pelvic floor muscles, which if left untreated can give long-term pelvic pain which can be difficult to treat."

Sheesh. 

2. Uterine contractions.

Wanna hear something weird? It could be that pesky sperm giving you those annoying cramps (if you're having heterosexual sex). 

"There are chemicals found in normal human semen called prostaglandins, which can cause uterine contractions," said Professor Pecoraro. "Some women may have an increased sensitivity to their partners seminal prostaglandins, which can cause uterine cramps." 

Fun fact: Synthetic prostaglandins are sometimes used to induce labour for pregnant women. 

The best thing to do if your partner's semen is giving you painful cramps? Get a new partner. Jks, jks! Have a discussion with your ob-gyn. Then get a new partner. ZING!

3. IUD.

It could be your IUD, you know. 

This guy takes up some tenancy in your uterine cavity, and could very well cause the post-orgasm cramping to be more intense. 

"A foreign body like an IUD inside the uterus can sometimes stimulate the uterus to contract in an attempt to expel it," explains Professor Pecoraro.

"If the uterus is contracting for whatever other reason, having the IUD in-situ may make a woman more aware of these uterine contractions."

4. Endometriosis.

Endometriosis is basically a condition where the tissue that's supposed to grow on the lining of the uterus during menstruation, instead grows on the outside... where it doesn't need to be. 

It's a fickle condition, and while it can cause painful cramping during your periods (and spotting in between), it can also make intercourse really freaking uncomfortable. 

Although symptoms vary between women, Professor Pecoraro said the cramping associated with endometriosis after sex is usually felt deeply central or on one side. 

He goes on to say that this kind of cramping usually points to "endometriosis-related scarring and decreased mobility of the uterus and tubes".

"We also know that when we examine a woman with endometriosis, they can exhibit what we call 'pinpoint tenderness'," he said. "Whereby touching a particular area in the pelvis through vaginal examination can cause pain and intercourse similarly can reproduce this pain."

5. Vaginismus.

Have you heard of vaginismus? No? It's basically a condition where vaginal muscles involuntarily contract when trying to insert something - whether it be during penetrative sex, a pelvic exam or when inserting a tampon.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Vaginismus is usually associated with significant pain on trying to achieve penetration, as the pubococcygeal or other para-vaginal muscles can go into spasm." explains Professor Pecoraro.

"Any touch can precipitate these spasms which are extremely painful and may take several hours to resolve."

6. STIs.

Ah. These guys. Not fun. STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea may cause pain during and after sex.

Many STIs don't cause symptoms, so try to get tested regularly. Also, be on the lookout for weird discharge, funky smells or itching - cause this could be a sign that you're possibly dealing with an STI. 

7. Tilted uterus.

Some women have a uterus that tilts backward instead of leaning forward - it's called a retroverted uterus. And don't worry, it's actually super common!

However, it can make sex a little tricky. If you have a retroverted uterus, chances are that some positions during penis-in-vagina sex might feel super uncomfortable. This is because the penis may put pressure on the uterus causing pain and cramping after sex.

If this is the case, you could always chat to your doctor about ways to make sex more comfortable.

8. Fibroids.

Fibroids are growths that occur on the wall of the uterus. While they're usually nothing major to worry about, they can cause some pretty uncomfortable symptoms.

We're talking about wonderful things like heavy bleeding during your period, abdominal pain and - you got it - cramps, after sex. 

The severity of these cramps will vary due to the size and location of the growths, but thrusting can usually aggravate them and there can be pain and what feels like muscle cramps post-sex.

When to see a doctor about pain after sex.

Whether the cramps you're feeling are a kind of dull pelvic ache, sharp pain during insertion or during deep penetration - this is a sign something isn't right, and chatting to a doctor is the easiest way to find out what's going on.

"Generally speaking, sex is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable activity, and when it isn’t because of pain or discomfort, either during or after intercourse, it can be a sign that something is not quite right and a visit to your gynaecologist is warranted," said Professor Pecoraro.

"Anything that causes pain during intercourse is a warning sign that everything is not quite right and is best sorted out early rather than letting a condition worsened."

Have you ever experienced pain and cramping after sex? Share with us in the comment section below. 

Feature image: Getty