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…

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This past weekend, a friend called me complaining of severe cramping pain in her lower abdomen. She said the pain started about 10 minutes after she had sex with her husband and now – 2 hours later – she could barely move or breathe. She described feeling the urge to defecate or pass gas but being unable to.

She said she’s had this problem for about 2 years and her doctor told her there was nothing wrong with her. He hinted it might all be in her head. This caused my friend unnecessary anxiety and frustration.

After doing a little research, I learned that many women suffer from cramps/pain after sexual intercourse or oral sex. But 80% of these women are told there is nothing physiologically wrong with them and doctors are often at a loss to explain the cause.

The pain is described as mild cramping to intense sharp pains in the lower abdomen which usually begins 10 minutes after intercourse or oral sex. Some women report being unable to breathe or walk due to the intense pain.

This is not the same as vaginal pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) which can be caused by vaginal dryness, sexually transmitted diseases or other gynecological problems.

While some lower abdominal cramping is normal after sex if you’re pregnant – you should see a doctor if the pain increases in intensity or lasts longer than a day.

Some medical professionals believe the cramps are caused by rough sex (deep thrusting) irritating the cervix and causing it to dilate a little. Others think the cramps are caused by muscle contractions from inactivity prior to sexual intercourse.

Here’s what you can do if you suffer from cramps after sex and you’ve talked to your doctor:

  • Avoid sex one week prior to and during your period
  • Take warm baths after sexual encounters
  • Take over the counter pain killers such as Alleve
  • Perform kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor
  • Try sexual positions that don’t put pressure on your uterus such as laying on your side