Doctors Explain Why You Might Have Cramps After Sex and When You Should Worry

No matter how magnetic the connection between you and your partner, experiencing pain or discomfort during or after sex can take a lot of the fun out of your sex life. While waves of tenderness like cramps are usually tolerable, it's important to understand why you might experience them, how you can find relief from the pain on your own, and when to consult a doctor.

Is It Normal to Have Stomach Cramps After Sex?

Mild cramps can be normal, especially after orgasm, Jennifer Lincoln, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn in Oregon, told POPSUGAR. "This is because when you orgasm, the hormone oxytocin, or our 'feel good' hormone, is released," Dr. Lincoln said. She went on to explain that oxytocin plays other roles in the female anatomy, like helping the uterus contract during labor. This is why orgasms are sometimes associated with mild cramps; the muscles of the uterus tighten because of all the happy hormones flooding your system.

Although cramping is commonly tied to orgasm, oxytocin may not be the only culprit. Sex positions that allow for deeper penetration or a uterus that is tilted backwards — again, totally normal! — may also lead to cramping after sex, Dr. Lincoln explained.

Moreover, having sex at certain points in your cycle, particularly while ovulating, may increase or intensify any stomach cramps that you typically experience during that time, Tiffany Woodus, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Texas, told POPSUGAR. "The reproductive organs during these times of the month can experience higher levels of sensitivity or inflammation, resulting in cramping or discomfort."

When Should I See a Doctor For Cramping?

The experts explained that some conditions, such as endometriosis, pelvic scarring, or chronic pelvic pain, can make cramping worse. Likewise, issues like anxiety or a history of past trauma can also lead to pain during or after sex. If you suspect that your pain could be related to your emotional health — or you're experiencing any other physical symptoms that could point to an underlying condition — it's important that you talk to your doctor. These symptoms can include fever, irregular or heavy bleeding, nausea, genital lesions, urinary symptoms, or abnormal vaginal discharge.

As for at-home treatment, cramps should subside on their own after a few minutes. However, if the pain is bothersome, both doctors suggest supportive measures like a warm bath, a warm compress, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. Again, if you continue to experience discomfort, or have other more severe symptoms, seek medical evaluation immediately.