What May Be Causing Your Post-Sex Bloating

A lot of weird things can happen to the body during and after sex. One of those weird — yet normal(!) — things is bloating. There you are having a proper romp, your mind is blown during the climax, and just after you and your partner both come down from your orgasmic highs you notice something. It's not a bird, it's not a plane; it's your stomach feeling a whole bunch of out of sorts and looking like you just ate your weight in pasta and pizza. But how can that be? How can something so good for our mental and physical health lead to bloating?


"It's not uncommon for women to experience stomach pain after sex," says Amy Roskin, M.D., J.D., tells Women's Health.

According to American Family Physician, as many as 10% to 20% of U.S. women experience pain either during or after sex. Also known as dyspareunia, this pain causes "marked distress or interpersonal conflict," and can be "recurrent or persistent pain." While the reasons for this pain can vary, if you can rule out it being a sign of STIs or a UTI or any sort of pelvic-related disease, it comes down to a handful of other — quite common — reasons.

Reasons for post-sex bloating

One of the more obvious causes that can be attributed to post-sex bloating and stomach discomfort is a digestive issue, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, and other gut and intestine-related problems (via Medical News Today). But if you're one of those lucky people who has never had digestive issues a day in your life, then it could be due to a retroverted uterus. This means the uterus tilts backwards toward the spine, so during intercourse the uterus can shift, causing discomfort. It's estimated that roughly 25% of people have a tilted uterus, per Cleveland Clinic.


Another possible reason could be your menstrual cycle. Our menstrual cycles play a major part in how our bodies respond to sex, intercourse, and otherwise. "Oftentimes, women will experience bloating before and/or during menstruation, so if they have intercourse around that time of the month, it is likely to play a role," women's health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., told PopSugar.

If you can check all those off as not being the reason for the bloating, then here's a possible reason that's likely to make you mutter "WTF" under your breath: Semen could be to blame. One of the components of semen is prostaglandin, a substance that, when released into the vagina, can cause the uterus to contract, leading to bloating and cramping (via Scary Mommy).


How to prevent it

When it comes to preventing bloating after sex, there are few ways to do it. For starters, if you can pinpoint that the bloating may be a result of semen, then using condoms can definitely help prevent, if not eliminate, the problem.


If you know that your tilted uterus may be to blame, then trying a sex position that prevents deep penetration can help. You want to keep things shallow — cue the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper song — so as not to irritate your tilted uterus and cause unnecessary movement of it during intercourse (via News24).

If you can link your bloating to digestive issues or possibly your menstrual cycle, then you can reduce post-sex bloating by not having sex after you've eaten gas-causing food, if you're constipated, or if you're already feeling bloated due to your period. Bloating, in general, can be prevented by sticking to the FODMAP diet, which is low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols — or in layman's terms, all the things that mess with gut health, per Johns Hopkins Medicine.


"Our abdomen houses a lot of organs: gut, bladder, uterus, tubes, and ovaries," gynecologist Dr. Adeeti Gupta tells Cosmopolitan. "Infection or inflammation in any of these organs can cause pain during or after sex."

In other words, if you're experiencing pain or bloating after sex and it doesn't go away, it's time to head to the doctor. With so many organs that could possibly be dealing with infection or disease, it's always best to seek medical help if anything persists.