Yesterday I wrote a post detailing a phenomenon that remains a mystery to most doctors. Over the years, many women have complained of a phantom cramping pain that begins about 10 minutes after they engage in sexual intercourse or oral sex. The cramps increase in intensity to the point where some women are immobilized with pain.
Yesterday I wasn't clear in pointing out that the cramps are usually brought on by the female orgasm - not the physical act of having sex itself. When a female has an orgasm it produces the same minor uterine contractions as women in labor. Most women don't notice the contractions at all after they have an orgasm.
After I published my post on post coital cramps yesterday, I received a handful of emails from loyal readers who experienced pain during sex due to a medical condition called endometriosis. Women who are diagnosed with endometriosis usually experience sharp pain during and after sex.
This is different from the post coital muscle cramps in the lower abdomen that otherwise healthy women have complained about for years.
For most women who experience post coital (after sex) cramping, there is no known cause or cure.
More Medical Minute after the break...
Endometriosis is a medical condition characterized by tissue growth outside of the uterus. The tissue growth is similar to the endometrium which lines the inside of the uterus. The tissue adheres or sticks to other organs outside of the uterus. So when a woman has her period, this tissue reacts as if it were still inside the uterus and sloughs off causing pain, spotting and swelling.
The main symptom of endometriosis is progressive, sometimes stabbing pain. Other symptoms include debilitating menstrual cramps, painful sex, painful bowel movements, nausea and/or vomiting. Some women will experience no pain at all and usually aren't aware that they have the condition until later on in life.
There is no cure. So treatment depends on the stage and severity of your symptoms. Most sufferers elect to have partial or total hysterectomies. But because the tissue grows on other organs, a total hysterectomy may not resolve the problem.
If you experience sharp lower abdominal pain during intercourse or when having bowel movements, you may have endometriosis or endometriotic cysts on your ovaries. Always consult with your doctor if you experience progressive abdominal pain or lower back pain, abdominal swelling, urinary urgency or constipation lasting more than a day.
Sudden abdominal pain followed by abdominal bloating and/or rigid abdomen could indicate a ruptured cyst or other medical emergency which requires immediate attention.
This has been your Medical Minute.