Why is My Vagina Sore After Sex?

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There are a few reasons your lady parts may feel sore after sex. One big reason is inadequate lubrication. Everyone produces different amounts of natural lubrication, and this can decrease with age, birth control, and some medications.

A one-off instance of pain or soreness isn’t anything to stress about, but it’s worth a visit to your GP for a checkup. The doctor will be able to deduce whether you have a yeast infection or STI, for example.

Inadequate lubrication

Until recently, women’s sexual health was considered something of a hush-hush topic. But this should no longer be the case. When it comes to the vulva, there’s nothing wrong with talking about it—particularly if you are experiencing pain after sex. Whether you’re in the middle of puberty, are going through menopause, or are just a woman who wants to live her best life, it’s important to know what could be causing your vagina sore after sex.

The most common reason your vulva is sore after sex is that you weren’t using enough lubrication. When you’re aroused, the vagina naturally lubricates itself to help prevent irritation and friction, but this may not be enough. To avoid soreness, use extra lube, especially if you’re trying out a new sex position or acting more intensely.

Also, be sure to use a water-based lube. The alcohol in some lubricants can actually dry out your vulva, leading to irritation and soreness. You can also try focusing on foreplay and using oral sex, which can make it easier to achieve penetration and reduce friction in the vulva. It’s also possible that you’re experiencing pain after sex because of a yeast infection or a bacterial vaginosis, which can cause painful itching, burning, and redness in the vulva. Thankfully, both of these conditions are treatable.

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Rough sex

Sexual activity between consenting partners can be a bit rough at times, especially during foreplay. This is okay, and can actually be very pleasurable. But when sex is too rough, it can cause friction that leads to a sore vagina. A little lubrication can help, but if the pain is persistent, a visit to your gynecologist may be in order.

A more serious reason your vagina is sore after sex could be due to an infection such as yeast or genital herpes. These infections can cause itchiness, burning and a thick, foul-smelling discharge. If you suspect one of these infections is the culprit, it’s important to see a doctor right away so that it can be treated promptly and effectively.

Another potential cause of soreness is scar tissue that formed after a medical procedure. “Sometimes scar tissue forms where a cut or wound was and then doesn’t heal properly,” Dr. Minkin says. If you had a surgical procedure down there recently, this could be the case for your sore vagina.

In rare cases, post-sex pain can be caused by a Bartholin’s cyst—a fluid-filled growth that blocks one of the twin glands situated on either side of the vulva. These glands secrete fluid to help lubricate the area before sexual intercourse. This condition can occur in 2% of women, and is usually asymptomatic.

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Infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes can also cause vaginal pain after sex. These are easily treated by a doctor with medication, so make sure to get screened regularly — especially if you’re new to sex or have new partners.

A yeast infection — an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans that can also occur in other moist areas, such as the mouth and skin folds — is another common cause of vulva pain after sex. This can be a painful condition, but you can treat it with over-the-counter anti-yeast medication.

Other causes of vulva soreness after sex include abrasions and chafing from rough sex, which can happen when the area is thin or damaged by a health condition such as eczema or psoriasis. This type of soreness can also be caused by pregnancy or menopause, which changes the balance of bacteria in your vulva.

You may also be sensitive to certain ingredients in your lubricants, condoms or other sex-related products. Take a look at the label and try a different product to see if the irritation goes away. Then there’s the possibility that you’re having a vaginal infection, if it’s been around a while or gets worse after sex. It’s important to talk to your doctor if this is the case.

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Stress

When you’re dealing with a sore vagina after sex, it can be really frustrating. After all, we want to feel pleasure during sex and when we don’t, it can make us uncomfortable. But don’t worry, for the most part, pain is totally normal. In fact, it may even be a good thing, as it can indicate that you had a great session that was safe and consensual.

In rare cases, a sore vagina after sex can be caused by an abnormal Bartholin’s cyst—a fluid-filled growth that blocks one of the twin glands situated on either side of the vulva, which secretes lubrication during penetration. A doctor can determine if this is the case and prescribe medication to clear it up.

You might also be experiencing deep pain during sex, called dyspareunia, which is when your pelvic-floor muscles contract during penetration and squish against each other. This can feel like menstrual cramps or a belly ache. In this case, a gyno can prescribe some muscle relaxers to ease the pain and discomfort.

Another possibility is that you weren’t as aroused as you should have been before sex, which can cause a lack of lubrication and lead to pain. You could also have an STI, such as herpes or chlamydia. A primary care or lady doc can confirm this through a urine sample.

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