Dear Dr. Kate,
The other day my guy & I were having sex and just when I was about to orgasm I felt a sudden sharp pain in the lower left of my abdomen. It was such a strong terrible pain that there was no way for my guy to not notice. He instantly thought that he had hurt me. The problem is that I honestly don’t think that it was anything he did. At first I thought it was a cramp and would go away but even after we stopped it still hurt, and it’s even still tender now. I’m worried it will happen again and I tense up at even the thought of us hooking up again. I feel terrible that it’s scared him too.
Cramped Sex Life
Ouch — there’s nothing worse during sex than pain replacing pleasure. There are a lot of reasons for pain during intercourse, if what you meant by “sex” was intercourse. But pain that persists after sex is over has fewer possibilities. It sounds to me like you may have ruptured a cyst on your ovary — that can really feel like someone’s suddenly stabbing you. Fluid from the cyst can then irritate the tissues in your pelvis for hours or even days after, until it’s all absorbed by your body. You can try anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), along with a heating pad or hot water bottle (oldies but goodies) to help with the pain.
Every woman gets an ovarian cyst that’s large enough to pop, now and again. Generally, you just need to ride out the pain. But if the pain seems to be getting worse or you’re just worried, it’s best to see your gyno for an exam and a sonogram. There’s not much that you can do to prevent the occasional cyst. Women who are prone to recurrent cysts, though, may find relief by going on the birth control pill or ring…
The other possibility is that you pulled a muscle in your pelvis — think of it as a sex stitch. This is more likely if you’re exerting effort to maintain a certain position, but it could happen at any time when your muscles are getting tense. You can treat it the same way, with heat and painkillers.
Assuming it’s one of the above two cases, then you — and your guy — did nothing wrong. So when you’re feeling up to it, get right back on that horse, so to speak. But again, if the pain persists, definitely go see your gynecologist.
Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.