Why Do I Feel Bloated After Sex?

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Bloating after sex is quite common and generally harmless, but it’s best to get checked out. A visit to your gynecologist will likely lead to a few tests, such as a pelvic sonogram or a urine test.

Bloating after sex is most often caused by swallowed air and by digestive issues such as food intolerances, constipation, or IBS. However, it can also be a sign of more serious underlying health conditions such as endometriosis or ovarian cysts.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones play a major role in our bodies, and they’re constantly fluctuating. When they’re out of balance, it can affect our entire body and cause bloating. Some of these hormones, such as melatonin, adrenaline, and oxytocin, can also impact our gut health.

In addition, the bloating caused by hormonal changes can be a contributing factor to why we feel bloated after sex. For example, if you’re getting your period around the time of sexual activity, it can make you more prone to pain and bloating after sex. Additionally, the progesterone that stimulates the growth of your uterine lining in the second half of your menstrual cycle can be a contributor to stomach pain and bloating during and after sexual activity.

Another hormone that can impact your gut is estrogen. This is because, as women, we typically have higher levels of this hormone during ovulation. It can also trigger gas, bloating, and abdominal pain during intercourse.

Another reason you may be feeling bloated after sex is that you’re eating the wrong foods. If you eat foods that are known to cause gas, such as beans or legumes, or you eat food intolerances like dairy or gluten, it can contribute to bloating after sex. If you’re eating these foods, try sipping on a cup of ginger tea to help relieve the symptoms.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If you’re feeling bloated after sex, the good news is that it’s generally a temporary thing. But if your stomach pain continues for a long time, you should seek medical attention because it could be an indication of a more serious health condition.

Your gynecologist will likely recommend a urine test to check for infection. Then, they’ll likely refer you to a pelvic specialist like Dr. Gelman, who can help diagnose what’s causing your stomach pain and recommend treatment options.

The gynecologist may also order an ultrasound to assess your uterus. Having a uterus that is tilted backwards, called a retroverted uterus, can contribute to bloating after sex because it can cause the organs around it to rub against each other.

Another potential contributor to your bloating after sex is constipation. When you’re constipated, your bowels put pressure on the vagina which can increase pain during and after sexual intercourse.

A gynecologist may also recommend at-home tweaks to reduce your symptoms. Adding probiotics to your diet, staying well-hydrated, and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation can help ease your symptoms. In addition, avoiding certain trigger foods that can cause gas and bloating, such as carbonated drinks, spicy foods, and high-fat meals, can also help. In some cases, a gynecologist may recommend surgery to treat an underlying medical issue that’s contributing to your stomach pain.

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Semen

If you’re feeling bloated after sex, you may be experiencing semen leakage or pre-ejaculatory fluid (also known as precum). This is completely normal and can occur during any sexual activity. However, the amount of leakage can sometimes be concerning if it is excessive. If you are experiencing leakage, contact your doctor right away to see if it is something that requires treatment.

Semen is a cocktail of fluids from your prostate, seminal vesicles, and bulbourethral glands. This cocktail contains a lot of important nutrients that help sperm survive and travel to the egg for fertilization.

It also contains simple sugars, like fructose and glucose, that provide the energy sperm needs to swim up the vaginal canal to reach the egg. One ejaculation can contain 200,000,000 to 300,000,000 sperm cells. Without the power of semen to carry them, sperm would just swim around in circles.

Having unprotected sex can cause a lot of different issues, including bloating. If prostaglandin, a type of lipid released in times of inflammation, infection, and menstruation, enters the vagina it can trigger uterine contractions that cause discomfort and bloating. You can prevent this by using a condom and telling your partner to pull out before they ejaculate. Having a latex allergy can also contribute to bloating after sex. This is why it’s important to use latex-free condoms.

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Stress

Picture this: you’re draped over your partner, breathing in the postcoital haze and enjoying the lustful sensations coursing through your body. But then your stomach starts feeling a little distended. It’s not the most romantic way to end a steamy session, but bloating after sex is totally normal (even though it can be super annoying).

One reason why bloating occurs after sex is because of trapped gas. Your digestive system is full of gas-producing bacteria, which, when they get disturbed during sexual activity, can cause bloating and abdominal pain. The gas can also cause you to feel more full, further exacerbating the bloating and discomfort.

Another reason you might feel bloated after sex is because of your period or if you’re near the days of your menstrual cycle. Hormonal changes, including a progesterone surge that causes the uterus to line up with the penis and produce semen, can contribute to bloating.

If you’re unprotected and semen enters the vagina, the prostaglandin—a type of lipid typically released in tissues during injuries, inflammation or infection—can trigger contractions and discomfort, including bloating. Similarly, having an allergy to latex, which is found in condoms, can lead to bloating after sex. Using a condom with your partner or pulling out before you’re done can prevent this from happening. And while there isn’t a quick fix for bloating after sex, identifying the root cause and practicing relaxation techniques can help.

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