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Health Vagina Sex Periods Std Feminism
Molly Longest / Her Campus
Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Vaginal Discomfort Surrounding Sex

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DCU chapter.

Many women spend the time it takes coming up to losing their virginity, worrying about the pain of penetration. However, sex should never be uncomfortable, so we are here to explore the types, causes, and solutions to any pain issue you may be experiencing. 


Burning, itching 

If you experience burning or itching during or after sex (and aren’t experiencing symptoms of a UTI, such as difficulty having a wee!) you may be experiencing a latex allergy. If you’re using condoms, which are always a good idea, and experience this type of discomfort soon after coming into contact with them, it’s possible you could have a latex allergy, or even a reaction to a lubricant you may be using. It is also possible that you have an allergy to semen. 

Try using non-latex condoms, such as those by the brand Skyn, and if this doesn’t work try using a natural or glycerin/glycol free lubricant. If in doubt please see your doctor! 


Pain and bleeding in your lower abdomen during/after sex 

A lesser-known cause for bleeding during or after sex, as well as cramp-like pain, is a bruised cervix. Your cervix is located at the top of your vaginal canal, and is basically the penetrative stopping-point. You may be particularly susceptible to this at a certain time in your menstrual cycle, the condition is also called a friable cervix. “It is usually softer than normal after ovulation toward menses,” says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, as your body prepares to conceive. Your cervix also moves higher or lower in your canal during your cycle. 

It can happen regularly, particularly if your partner is penetrating you to the point where they are bumping off of your cervix. A soft cervix is nothing to worry about, and neither is a bruised cervix apart from being quite uncomfortable. While there have been cases where the condition has gone away in some people, if you are worried make sure to question your doctor as of course this can be a sign of more serious conditions. 


Pain when peeing after sex 

Believe it or not, this is not always a sure-fire (excuse the pun!) way of figuring out that you have a UTI. Often a UTI will develop a few hours after intercourse, unless you remember to pee after sex! However, burning or difficulty urinating after sex can just mean you had a pretty rough time or a very extended time and your vagina is recovering, you may have not used sufficient lubrication, or even more. 

“Women that experience the sensation of a urinary tract infection, but without the presence of an actual infection, are also typically experiencing the burning or urinary urgency and frequency due to an overactive pelvic floor,” Heather Jeffcoat, pelvic floor physical therapist and author of Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide to the Sex Life You Deserve. 

Usually, the pain is brief, but still, no one wants any type of pain to kill their post-sex glow! 


Abdominal pain 

There are some very varied reasons for abdominal pain after sex, so it’s best to take careful stock of all of your symptoms. If they persist, of course, see your doctor ASAP! 

Bowel problems are just one very un-sexy reason for abdominal pain after sex. It’s very easy for your bowels to become irritated or ready to pop, after being shaken around during sex. Take care in the bathroom and if symptoms persist or really bother you, consider looking into some medicines that can help such as Senocalm, or drink peppermint tea. Similar pain may occur if you are suffering from interstitial cystitis, which causes chronic bladder pain, or even just having a full bladder. 

If you are ovulating at the time of intercourse, this may also cause cramping. But another reason for this pain is fibroids, which also cause bleeding and cramps that feel similar to getting your period. These can be very unpleasant however are usually not dangerous.  

If you experience more persistent or severe pains consult your doctor, or visit a gynaecologist if possible. Some serious reasons for this abdominal pain include endometriosis, vaginismus, and even STIs. However, deep penetration can also be a cause for bleeding and abdominal cramping after sex.  


Some takeaway tips 

Don’t be afraid to take it slow with a partner, spending enough time on foreplay until you know you are ready, and advocate for yourself if you are finding something uncomfortable during intercourse. If you are having recurring issues, you may benefit from sharing this with a partner and even working through it together. Your doctor or gynaecologist can always offer the best advice. 

Just a 21 year old journalism student that is passionate about a hell of a lot of things