Ideally, after sexual intimacy, we cuddle and fall into a postcoital slumber of endorphins. But, sometimes, vaginal itching and pain can spoil the mood.
Understanding what happens after sex to a woman can help individuals prepare for a safe, healthy experience. Read on to learn about the physical and emotional changes that occur.
The vulva goes through several changes during sexual arousal. It enlarges, and the muscles around the area tighten. This allows for penetration during sex, and it is part of the reason that foreplay is so important. Once sexual activity is over, the vulva will return to its normal size and shape.
The muscles that surround the vagina also relax during sexual arousal, and this enables the hymen to be pierced, if it has not already been done. The hymen is a thin membrane that lies between the vagina and the penis. Having penetrative sex can stretch the hymen slightly, and this can make the vagina feel wider.
If a woman is new to sexual activity, she may find that her hymen is not as thick as it should be and might experience itching and burning during intercourse. If she continues to experience this problem, she should discuss it with a doctor.
Women may also notice that their clitoris and labia are puffy or swollen after sex. This is a result of sexual arousal and friction, and it will go away on its own in a few hours. In addition, the clitoris and labia become larger during puberty.
Irregular bleeding after sex can be a sign of cervical or uterine cancer. If a woman experiences this, she should see her doctor for a thorough exam of the cervix and vagina, and possibly a pap smear and biopsy.
Inflammation of the Cervix
A woman’s cervical tissue can become inflamed after sex, especially if the lubrication wasn’t enough or sexual penetration was too rough. If the cervix is irritated, it can cause pain in and around the vagina. This is also true if you or your partner used fingers, a sex toy, or other objects during sexual activity.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to painful sex if the inflammation is prolonged. It can also be a sign of an infection, such as vulvodynia or endometriosis. If this is the case, see your gynecologist to get it treated.
Another possible reason for inflammation of the cervix is an unprotected sexual activity that leads to a bacterial infection like chlamydia or trichomoniasis. These infections can cause redness, a swollen vulva, irritation, pain, and a fishy smell. If you suspect that you have one of these infections, see your gynecologist and schedule an STI screening.
A swollen vulva is a common symptom of pregnancy. However, it is important to remember that not every woman who reaches orgasm during sex becomes pregnant. Sex can also cause uterine contractions during orgasm, which can affect the timing of your menstrual cycle. In the event that you do conceive, your doctor will prescribe hormonal birth control to prevent pregnancies.
If you’re premenopausal, and you experience a little bit of bleeding after sex (a few spots or a small gush), there is no need to panic. In most cases, light spotting that happens two or three days before your period is normal and is due to friction.
However, if the spotting occurs during or immediately after sexual intercourse, it is not normal and should be evaluated by your doctor. Generally, the bleeding comes from the cervix but can come from other parts of the vagina and uterus. The color and quantity of the blood will help determine where it is coming from.
A bruised cervix from deep penetration may also cause spotting after sex, but it is not a cause for concern. A woman can have a bruised cervix from sex at any time in her life, including with her partner or another man.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic pain, dryness, and spotting after sex. If you are pre-menopausal and are experiencing frequent spotting after sex, your doctor will likely recommend a pelvic exam. In some instances, the doctor might also recommend a colposcopy to get a closer look at your cervix. Bleeding after sex can also be caused by endometriosis, an abnormal growth in the tissue that lines the uterus and the vulva.
The burning that occurs after sex can be painful, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious problem. It may be caused by lack of lubrication, an infection or other factors that can usually be treated at home.
A yeast infection, bacterial vaginal infections or STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause pain during sex. This pain is called dyspareunia. It can be either superficial or deep (collision dyspareunia). In general, the pain is milder at the entrance of the vagina. It gets more intense as the sex progresses. The pain can be felt even in painless intercourse, or it may start right after having painless sex.
Inflammation of the cervix or spotting due to bleeding during or after sex can also be uncomfortable. If the blood is bright red, it’s likely a normal vaginal bleeding, but if it’s darker in color, it’s more likely residual menstrual blood.
Psychological and relationship issues can also lead to pain during sex. For example, if you feel nervous about your sexual relationship or were raised in a religious household where talking about sex is taboo, it can make it difficult to enjoy sexual intercourse. Similarly, stress can cause you to tighten up, which makes sex uncomfortable and may cause burning. If you’re not sure what’s causing the pain, talk to your doctor.