Does Being Sexually Active Make Your Period Worse?

Many people have different opinions about when to become sexually active. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual and their partner(s) to decide.

But if you do become sexually active, it’s important to know the impact it could have on your period. Read on to learn about all the ways sex can impact your menstrual cycle, including improving cramps and headaches.

1. Sex Increases Hormones

Sexual activity increases levels of estrogen and progesterone, which can boost libido. It also triggers the release of oxytocin, which makes you feel loved and has health benefits like lowering your blood pressure and heart rate. Orgasm boosts both estrogen and oxytocin, so it’s not surprising that you might feel extra frisky during or after a sexy session.

While the drop in estrogen that occurs during menopause can lead to a decrease in libido, declining female hormones don’t affect all women at the same time. In fact, many women continue to be sexually active well into their senior years with the help of hormone therapy, such as estrogen and progestin pills.

Moreover, some women are on hormonal birth control that blocks the release of estrogen. While these birth controls can be great for preventing pregnancy, they can also lead to a dip in libido because they inhibit the release of natural estrogen.

Whether you’re using birth control or not, doctors can usually tell if you’ve recently had sex from a pelvic exam. And while it’s not always comfortable to share intimate details of your sexual history with a doctor, you should be as honest as possible. That way your doctor can give you the right medication for STIs and recommend that you get routine pap smears to screen for cervical cancer and other problems.

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2. Sex Makes Your Period Last Longer

Sexual arousal is linked to changes in hormone levels, and it can affect certain aspects of the menstrual cycle. For example, if you have sex during your period, the orgasms can relax your uterus and ease cramping. But there isn’t enough evidence to say that sex can change the length of your period, and many other factors—like stress or exercise—can also have an effect.

If you have unprotected sex close to the time of ovulation, this can increase your chances of getting pregnant. That’s because the oocyte released from the ovary during ovulation can be fertilized by sperm that remained in the female reproductive tract after your period ended.

Routine sex can alter the hormonal balance of your menstrual cycle, making it more regular and less intense. Likewise, the orgasms you experience during sex can help alleviate cramps by releasing endorphins, which are muscle-relaxing chemicals.

But while sex can help make your period more manageable, there’s nothing to stop you from having sex whenever and with whomever you want, even when you have your period. There’s no scientific evidence that it’s harmful, and many women say that sex on their period can be more pleasurable. Plus, there are ways to reduce mess, like using a menstrual disc and opting for non-penetrative sex or oral stimulation. And if you do want to try penetrative sex, the missionary position can help limit blood flow.

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3. Sex Makes Your Period More Excruciating

During sexual arousal, blood flow to the genitals increases and fluid is released into the vaginal canal. This provides natural lubrication and can make sex more enjoyable. It can also prevent friction, which could help alleviate pain and cramps during your period. If you’re spotting and bleeding during sexual activity, though, it may be a sign that something else is going on, like an infection. If you’re experiencing fever, painful pelvic area, or bright red bleeding and suspect that it’s not your period, contact a healthcare professional ASAP.

It’s also important to use lubricant, even during periods. You can try using a menstrual disc, which sits high up in the vagina and is great for penetrative sex, or a tampon. You can also lubricate yourself with a lube stick or water. Lastly, consider trying clitoral stimulation to reduce mess and discomfort during sex.

It’s a common myth that having sex during your period makes your period worse, but this is false. In fact, routine sex can actually improve your period by changing certain hormone-based characteristics of the monthly cycle, making it more predictable. Plus, orgasms are a major pain reliever during your period, thanks to uterine contractions and the release of endorphins that ease cramping and headaches.

4. Sex Makes Your Period Less Excruciating

Despite the myth that sexual activity will cause your period to shorten, this simply is not true. While some women may notice that their monthly cycle changes after becoming sexually active, this is due to hormone fluctuations and not sex. However, sexual activity can help alleviate menstrual pain and cramps by triggering the release of endorphins, natural pain relievers.

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In addition, sexual stimulation can help you reach orgasms, which in turn can further decrease painful periods and PMS symptoms. Whether you are on your period or not, orgasms can be achieved with manual or oral stimulation. However, if you are on your period and do want to have penetrative sex, consider using a diaphragm or a condom as this can help limit the amount of blood that flows during the act.

It is important to note that sex can have some unintended consequences, such as pregnancy if done during the fertile window around ovulation. But, this can also happen from other factors such as stress, diet and sleep patterns and certain medical conditions like PCOS.

It is also important to remember that sex does not control your fertility or reproductive system and can only have a temporary effect on the duration and severity of your symptoms. In the end, the decision of whether or not to have sex during your period comes down to personal preference and what is best for you.

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