You’re cuddled up with your partner in post-orgasmic bliss, when all of a sudden stomach pain bursts into your bubble. This discomfort could be down to a few different reasons, according to gynaecologists.
For one, it could be an imbalance or overgrowth of the natural bacteria in your vagina, ob-gyn Anna Cabeca tells POPSUGAR. Or it could be a sign of an infection or even a medical condition like endometriosis.
Physical and Emotional Factors
Your gut is sensitive to whatever is happening in your brain, which is why sex can make you feel bloated and even lead to digestive issues. For example, if you have a lot of anxiety before and during sex (whether it’s related to relationships, performance, or embarrassment), this can cause your abdominal and pelvic muscles to tighten up. This can then trigger pain and bloating.
Similarly, if you have any gastrointestinal problems like IBS or food intolerances, that can also contribute to stomach pain and bloating after sex. This could be because your bowel movements get messed up during orgasm, which can cause gas buildup in your intestines. If you’re prone to gassy foods, it might be worth steering clear of them before sex.
Additionally, if you orgasm often, this can cause your pelvic muscles to contract, which can result in cramps and bloating. However, if you’re having severe menstrual-like cramps that don’t subside, it may be an indication of more serious medical conditions like ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, or endometriosis.
It’s important to see a doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms. They can run tests and design a treatment plan for you. In the meantime, there are a few at-home tweaks you can try to relieve your symptoms and help prevent them from coming back.
Eating the right foods after sex can help to reduce bloating. Protein-rich foods like lean meats, eggs and yogurt are a good choice as they can promote muscle recovery and provide energy. Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and quinoa are also a good source of energy, helping to replenish the glucose levels in your body after exercise. You should also drink lots of water to stay hydrated as this will aid in the recovery process and help prevent dehydration.
Avoid eating fatty foods as they can make you feel bloated. Try adding some fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, such as strawberries, spinach, bell peppers and kale, as these are rich in vitamins and minerals, which can promote healthy blood flow. In addition, consuming foods that are rich in vitamin C can also help to improve circulation.
You should also avoid foods that can cause digestive problems, as these can aggravate bloating after sex. Foods to avoid include beans, legumes and cruciferous vegetables, as these can lead to gas formation. Eating high-fiber foods, such as whole grains and oats, can also help to improve digestion.
If you are feeling bloated after sex, it may be due to a lack of sleep. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to keep your metabolism and blood pressure in check. In addition, exercise can help to increase your energy levels and boost serotonin.
Many things can cause you to feel bloated. For instance, if you have a condition known as endometriosis — which happens when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the womb — you might experience pain and discomfort during or after sexual activity. Some people who have a retroverted uterus (meaning the uterus is tilted backward) also experience this discomfort.
Other conditions that can make you feel bloated after sex include ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, and urinary tract infections. Sometimes these infections can travel from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, and intercourse can make the symptoms worse.
Lastly, an imbalance or overgrowth of natural bacteria in the vagina can cause painful irritations such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. These infections are often triggered by semen, certain types of lubricants with artificial ingredients, and doing the double-doogie. Fortunately, these infections usually clear up on their own or with treatment from your gynecologist. If your pain and bloating persist, talk to your doctor about the diagnosis. They might recommend that you take a probiotic to help get rid of the infection and to reduce your bloating. In some cases, a gastroenterologist may be necessary for a more thorough diagnosis and treatment.
There are a variety of treatment options available for stomach bloating after sex, depending on the underlying cause. For instance, if the bloating is due to gas, simple home remedies such as over-the-counter antacids or digestive aids may be effective. On the other hand, if the bloating is due a medical condition such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis, more invasive treatments may be necessary.
Emotional factors can also contribute to post-sex bloating. Stress and anxiety can lead to tightening of the abdominal and pelvic muscles, which in turn can affect digestion. Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing can help relieve this issue.
Inflammation of the cervix, or cervicitis, is another common cause of bloating after sex. This condition can be caused by sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, trichomoniasis, or bacterial vaginosis. It can also be caused by certain medications such as birth control pills or a reaction to latex condoms. Lastly, it can be caused by an overgrowth of the natural bacteria in the vagina. In this case, a gynecologist may prescribe an antibiotic to restore the balance of the microflora.