Is it normal to cramp after sex? The easy answer: Yes. It happens. The truth is, some people are simply prone to cramping. Unlike bleeding after sex, cramping is common and, for the most part, normal. Some women experience occasional cramping and it is nothing to be concerned about.
The uterus, cervix, vaginal canal, and uterus and tough, but they are also made with sensitive, mucus-rich tissue. When you have sex, the uterus naturally contracts, and this can occasionally cause minor pain. This happens most frequently during orgasm.
That being said, there are many reasons why you might be cramping after sex. If you find that you’re constantly dealing with cramping and it is disrupting your life substantially, always seek out your OB-GYN. While cramping is usually nothing to worry about, it can be a symptom of other, more serious things.
Here is everything you need to know about cramping after sex, what might be causing it, and what you should do to help manage it.
If you have an IUD
You may experience cramping for up to several weeks after getting an IUD, whether or not you have sex. If your cramps have stopped, but you’re still in this new-IUD period, you might experience a return of that cramping post-coitus.
Don’t get too stressed, an IUD can’t be knocked off kilter by penetrative sex. You could just be jiggering it around slightly, causing cramping. It is a foreign body in the uterus, so it can trigger slight contractions. Some women experience cramping nearly every time they have sex with an IUD. If you have a sensitive cervical area, you could be especially prone to cramping after sex.
If it bothers you or is happening so frequently that you find sex to be off-putting, speak to your OBGYN. The IUD is not for everyone, so you may want to consider another form of birth control if cramping is negatively impacting your everyday life.
The possibility of STI infection
A few common STIs can be accompanied by cramping. If you’ experience a sudden series of cramping after sex and it isn’t something you’ve experienced in the past, see a doctor.
Cramping can occur if you have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Chlamydia, or Hepatitis. If you and your partner are in an open relationship, you should be tested every two to three months for STIs. Regardless of your relationship style, it is wise to get tested every six months as a precautionary measure.
Cramping and ovulation and periods
There is all kinds of pain associated with periods, PMS, ovulation, and everything else during your time of the month. This includes occasional discomfort after intercourse.
When you ovulate, you drop an egg. When that egg is making its way from the Fallopian tube into the uterus, cramping can occur after sex.
Sex has been shown to reduce cramping pain for women on their periods, but the pressure put on the cervix during sex may cause latent pain after the fact. This is something to keep in mind. You may want to stick with shallow penetration and slower sex during your cycle if you experience pain.
If the pain is persistent and lifestyle alterations do nothing to help, seek professional advice. You may be experiencing endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Not to cause alarm, but while cramping after sex during your period is usually nothing to be alarmed about, it can be a sign of a larger problem.
What you can do about cramping
If cramping is something you experience occasionally, there are a few things you can do to help manage the symptoms.
First, grab the ibuprofen. Just like you’d treat a headache, ibuprofen can help with cramping pain. There is nothing wrong with taking ibuprofen—it's non-addictive and will not harm your body. Stay away from aspirin as a general rule, since it thins the blood and can make periods heavier for some women. Not ideal.
Next, apply heat. If you don't already have a heating pad, get one. They are amazing for lower back pain and uterine cramping pain. If you have painful period cramps in general, a heating blanket will revolutionize the way you deal.
Lastly, breathe. We often forget to breathe when we’re experiencing discomfort or pain. This makes you body tense up, only increasing the pain. With cramping, your uterus is already contracting, you don’t want to add to the tension. Take deep breaths. You know, like the ones you’re supposed to take during delivery. There is a reason pregnant ladies are supposed to do labor breathing, it helps get you through the contractions.