Ideally, sex should be fun and exciting for both partners. But, like any physical activity, it can come with pain or soreness.
Fortunately, most sexual pain is normal and will go away on its own. However, if you experience persistent or severe pain, it might be a sign of a more serious condition.
A muscle strain — also known as a pulled muscle — occurs when muscles or tendons are overstretched and tear. This injury often happens when playing sports or lifting heavy objects. It can be caused by one event, such as a fall or overuse of a muscle, or it can happen slowly over time, like when a person takes up running and begins training too aggressively.
Muscles are made up of thousands of tiny fibers that stretch and push together to allow the body to move. When a muscle is stretched too far, the fibers become torn and can cause pain, bruising, weakness, and limited mobility. A strain can occur anywhere in the body, but it is more common in certain areas, including the back, groin, neck, and leg muscles.
When a muscle strain occurs, it is important to rest the injured area. Ice packs can help decrease swelling, but only if the pack is not directly on the skin (wrapped in cloth). Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are effective at decreasing pain. Elevating the injured area can also decrease pain and swelling by bringing blood to the affected area.
A doctor will perform a physical exam to evaluate the extent of the strain. They will ask you questions about your symptoms and may order X-rays or lab tests, depending on the severity of the injury.
Whether you’re experiencing cramps from vigorous sex or experimenting with sexual positions, it’s important to take action if the pain is severe or lingering. Cramps can be a sign of serious gynecological issues like pelvic inflammation, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or uterine fibroids. These are conditions that require prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent long-term damage.
In many cases, men and women experience a brief cramping after sexual activity due to overexertion of the muscles. This may be a result of tight or overworked muscles, dehydration, or an awkward or uncomfortable position. These cramps often dissipate immediately following climax or shortly afterward. In addition, a cramping sensation during orgasm is common and typically caused by the involuntary contraction of muscles in the pelvic region. This type of cramping usually occurs right after climax and can be relieved by deep breathing, rest, or a warm bath.
Cramps in the lower abdomen or pelvic area can be a symptom of digestive problems. Inflammation of the bladder and urinary tract can also lead to cramping. If your cramping is accompanied by other symptoms, such as painful urination, blood in the urine, or a high fever or chills, consult a doctor. In some cases, the problem can be cured with antibiotics or other treatments, such as surgery or antispasmodics to treat ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids.
Muscle imbalances occur when one set of muscles is larger, weaker, or tighter than its opposite side. This can lead to chronic pain and injury. These imbalances affect the body’s movement, posture, and alignment, making it difficult to perform even simple tasks. The imbalances can also cause other problems, including hip or knee pain, as they put more stress on the joints and lead to muscle tension in the surrounding areas.
This problem can be caused by specific movements or by a predisposition to developing them. For example, repetitive movements like craning the neck to use a computer or sitting for long periods of time can lead to an imbalance in the neck and shoulders. Injuries and poor training methods can also cause them. For example, if you injure your right ankle, your left leg will support your weight more to compensate, leading to an imbalance.
One way to prevent muscle imbalances is to train each limb or side of the body equally. For example, if you train your chest with 100 heavy reps per week and ignore the back and legs, you will develop an imbalance in your upper body. Another way to prevent them is to follow workout routines that involve compound exercises that target all major muscle groups. For example, the squat trains all major muscles in the legs, while the leg extension only targets quads.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, usually in the pelvic area. The tissue then sheds each month like a period and causes inflammation and scarring. This can cause severe pain, especially during menstrual periods. It can also lead to infertility. Symptoms include pelvic pain, pain with bowel movements and urination, painful intercourse and difficulty getting pregnant.
It’s not clear what causes endometriosis, but experts think that hormones and immune factors may promote the transformation of peritoneal cells — those that line the inner side of your abdomen — into endometrial-like cells. These cells then migrate backward through your fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity. From there, they can start to grow in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus or bladder. The symptoms of this condition are not always severe, but they can be debilitating. Women with this disease often have lower quality of life and higher rates of depression, anxiety and fatigue than other women. They’re also more likely to develop uterine fibroids and adenomyosis.
A doctor can diagnose endometriosis by doing a pelvic exam and imaging tests. They’ll use a speculum and light to examine your vagina and cervix and manually feel around for cysts or scars behind your uterus. You can also have a laparoscopy, in which the doctor makes a small cut in your belly and inserts a tube with a camera on the end. They can then see where the lesions are and take a sample to look at under a microscope. Medicines can reduce symptoms and decrease the growth of this tissue. These medicines can be taken as pills, sprays or shots.