Pain during sex is sometimes the sign of an underlying medical issue. If you have lower abdominal pain that is sharp and improves with lubrication, it’s worth seeing your doctor.
Unprotected sex can spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are two of the most common causes of pelvic pain after sex. Fibroids and uterine adhesions, also known as Asherman syndrome, are other possible causes of pelvic pain.
When pain occurs during sex, it can be caused by any number of things. For men, it can be a sign of an infection or problem with the prostate; for women, it could mean a symptom of pelvic or reproductive tract problems like endometriosis, fibroids or cysts. It can also be caused by issues with the bladder or bowel. For instance, irritable bowel syndrome can trigger painful muscle spasms during sex, as can constipation.
The prostate sits inside the pelvis, so any problems with it can lead to lower abdominal pain during sex. Those can include an infection like prostatitis, which is when bacteria from the urinary tract enters the prostate and causes inflammation. It can be triggered by an unprotected sex, or it may develop over time. It can also be caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes.
Pelvic pain in women can also be caused by a problem with the uterus, fallopian tubes or cervix. It can also be caused by a cyst, which is fluid-filled pocket that grows on or in an ovary. Usually, these aren’t dangerous, but they can cause pain with penetration or after sex. A woman’s cycle can also cause pelvic pain when a follicle that contains an egg ripens, preparing for fertilization or conception. This is known as dyspareunia and can happen at the beginning of sex, during sex, or shortly after.
While sex is supposed to be enjoyable, many men and women experience pain during and after sexual activity. This symptom, called dyspareunia, may indicate a problem with the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, or pelvic ligaments. It can also be a sign of infection, particularly a urinary tract infection, and it can occur on both sides of the body. It is important to take pelvic pain seriously.
For men, symptoms of pain during sex include a painful or burning sensation in the lower abdomen or pelvic area, a feeling that the scrotum is enlarged, and painful urination. If these symptoms persist after sex, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
The most common cause of pain after sex is an infection in the prostate gland, a small, walnut-shaped gland that is located below the bladder and is responsible for seminal production and transport. This condition is called prostatitis, and it often affects older men. It can be caused by a bacterial infection, a urinary tract obstruction, or a sexually transmitted disease.
Other causes of genital pain include a strained muscle in the pelvic floor, ovarian cysts or fibroids, or uterine prolapse. If the pain occurs on only one occasion or improves with a change in position, it is not usually serious and does not require a visit to a gynecologist. However, if the pain is severe or comes on regularly, it should be treated as a medical emergency.
A strained muscle is a common cause of pain after sex. This type of pain is usually sharp and intense, but can also be a dull ache. It is caused by pushing too hard or holding an unnatural position. The pain will likely go away on its own or be relieved by changing position. Inflammation of the scrotum, called epididymitis, is another common cause of pain after sex. It is an inflammation of the epididymis, a tube that sperm collect and mature, which sits above each testicle. This condition can be treated with antibiotics.
STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can sometimes cause abdominal pain in men and women after sexual activity. However, most STIs will go away on their own or with the use of antibiotics if they are treated promptly. Abdominal pain that is caused by a serious health issue, such as a tumor or cancer, should always be taken seriously and evaluated immediately.
For females, stomach or abdomen pain that occurs after sex and improves with a change in position does not necessarily require a visit to the gynecologist. But if the pain is severe or happens regularly, it may be a sign of an underlying gynecological problem. A gynecologist can perform a specialized pelvic exam and tests to determine the cause of the pain.
If you had unprotected sex or have an infected partner, lower abdominal pain during sex can signal the presence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia or herpes. STIs spread through the exchange of bodily fluids during vaginal, anal or oral sex. These infections are particularly dangerous in women who are HIV positive.
Infections in the female genital tract, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and urinary tract infections (UTIs), may also cause pain during sexual intercourse. These infections are more common in females because the urethra is shorter and bacteria enter the body more easily.
Other causes of pelvic pain during sex include IUDs, pregnancy and ovulation/periods. In some cases, this pain can be simply due to deep penetration. It usually goes away on its own or with over-the-counter medication and doesn’t need to be treated by a medical professional.
If your pain is severe or happens regularly, it’s important to see a healthcare provider. They can help you determine the underlying condition that’s causing your pain and recommend treatment accordingly. To get started, check out our health care finder to connect with physicians in your area. A gynecologist can perform diagnostic procedures such as a hysterosalpingogram and a transvaginal ultrasound to see what’s causing your symptoms. They may also order a blood test, urinalysis and/or cystoscopy to look for bacterial or other abnormalities in the bladder or urethra.