Dr. Kate: 4 Ways to Alleviate Post-Intercourse Cramps

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in Boston who lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health.  She regularly (and generously!) answers your medical questions here on EMandLO.com. To ask her your own, click here.

Dr. Kate,

I have deep penetration with my boyfriend and after intercourse I get  mild cramps. It’s like he hit my uterus or cervix. I feel the pain and don’t know what exactly to do. Are there any medicines to stop the pain? What can I do to improve my sex life? Thanks!

— Ouch

Dear Ouch,

Your intuition is right –- he is most likely coming into contact with your cervix during intercourse. This is more common in women who have a retroverted (“tipped”) uterus. Everyone’s uterus points either forward towards the bladder (anteverted), up towards their head (midposition), or back towards their tailbone (retroverted). Since the cervix is at one end of the uterus, it points in the opposite direction. It’s like a see-saw – if your uterus points back, your cervix points up….right into the line of fire (so to speak) during sex. And the cervix does not like getting bumped – she gets cranky, and causes your whole uterus to cramp in response.
Positions with deep penetration are more likely to bring this on – when you’re on your back with your legs pulled toward your shoulders, for instance, or when he enters you from behind. Positions where you have more control over his penetration, like you on top, are protective of your cervix, by not letting him enter you as deeply. And fellas who are well-endowed may also trigger discomfort during sex, or cramping afterwards.
I don’t want to tell you to give up positions (or penises) that you love. So there are four things you can try:

  1. Make sure that you’re getting PLENTY of foreplay – I mean a good 20-30 minutes – before intercourse. That gives your vagina time to get fully aroused, which lets it temporarily gets a little longer and wider.
  2. Use plenty of lubricant; even if you’re wet from the great foreplay, supplement from a bottle.
  3. Climax first, before intercourse – that’s when your vagina is most ready for intercourse.
  4. If all of these things don’t help prevent minor cramps, consider pre-medicating with ibuprofen or naproxen 60 minutes before sex, and/or throw on a heating pad afterwards.

As always, see your doctor with these concerns if the pain persists or the cramps are severe.

Dr. Kate

Read more about possible causes of pain:
Dr. Kate’s Sexual Dysfunction Series

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One Comment

  1. This is great advice. I know I had a similar issue with my partner where I kept bleeding after we had sex, so I am glad I am not the only person who experiences discomfort during and after sex. I will take these few points into consideration the next time I’m intimate with my partner.

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