Why Do I Feel Constipated After Sex?

woman laying on bed

The good news is that trapped gas after sex is common, and usually not a cause for concern. However, you should visit your doctor to rule out more severe issues.

Constipation is a condition where you have fewer and harder bowel movements than normal. Since the rectum is directly behind the vagina, having sex while you’re constipated can be uncomfortable.

Stress

Stress can cause you to have trouble digesting, which can lead to constipation. This backed-up stool can cause pain during intercourse and put pressure on the rectum during penetration. This can cause a lot of discomfort and even make you stop having sex. Stress can also cause abdominal cramping and bloating after sex because it causes the muscles of your abdomen to tighten up.

Sometimes, when you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode and diverts blood from the intestines to other vital organs like your heart and lungs. This can cause your bowel movements to slow down and can trigger constipation1,2.

Emotional stress can also trigger this problem. Things like money worries, relationship issues and personal trauma can all have an effect on your gut. If this is the case, it’s important to seek out treatment for your symptoms so that you can feel better.

If you’re having trouble figuring out why you’re feeling constipated after sex, it might help to visit a gynecologist. They can perform a urine test and a pelvic sonogram to check out your uterus, tubes, ovaries and gut. If they can’t figure out what’s wrong, they might refer you to a pelvic specialist like Dr. Gelman to see if you have a musculoskeletal condition that needs to be treated.

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Diet

A diet that’s low in fiber can lead to constipation, and this can cause pain during sexual intercourse. This is because the vagina, anus and rectum are all closely connected. If you’re constipated, your stool will be dry and hard, making it difficult to pass. This is a condition that requires medical attention. Make an appointment with your gynecologist for proper examination and treatment.

Another potential reason you might feel cramps during sex is if you have an imbalance or overgrowth of the natural bacteria in your vagina, ob-gyn and author Anna Cabeca, DO, FACOG, says. This can trigger issues like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. Douching and lubricants with artificial ingredients or sweeteners can also have negative impacts on your vaginal bacteria.

Taking a probiotic can help restore the balance of your vaginal bacteria, and Cabeca recommends incorporating fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, or kombucha into your diet. You can also add more fiber to your meals by choosing whole grains over white bread, eating more fruits and vegetables, and consuming legumes (navy beans, chickpeas, kidney beans) and nuts. You can find probiotics at most health food stores and most grocery stores. To prevent bloating before sex, eat smaller meals and avoid large salads, which can be gassy. If you’re suffering from abdominal pain, talk to a gynecologist who can refer you to a pelvic specialist if necessary.

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Sleep

There’s no denying that physical intimacy like sex can be a blissful experience. But sometimes the aftermath of getting it on can be less than glowing. Especially if you have constipation.

If you’re prone to gut issues, bloating, and cramping on a regular basis, you may find that penetrative sex (or any sex for that matter) makes your stomach hurt. This is because the vagina and rectum are anatomically close to each other. This proximity can make it difficult for the bowel to move and can result in feces accumulating in the anal canal. Eventually, the anal canal can become full of feces, which will cause pain during penetration (or, as it’s known medically, dyspareunia).

In addition, chronic bowel issues can impact how the pelvic floor muscles work over time, making them more tense and crampy, even during sex. Luckily, you can combat this by taking a laxative.

You can also try laying a heating pad on your belly after sex and practicing diaphragmatic breathing and grounding yoga poses to facilitate relaxation and reduce the discomfort from the pressure of feces in your rectum. If your bloating doesn’t subside, consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss further options for preventing future discomfort. They may suggest trying a different type of laxative or a different medication to address your constipation.

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Exercise

Getting your freak on can be a great way to get a sweat on, but if you find yourself experiencing stomach pain or bloating after, it’s important to figure out the cause. The pain and bloating you experience may be related to everyday bodily responses or a sign of a health issue that affects your pelvic area, bowels or rectum.

If you have a tendency to hold in bowel movements, you can experience pain during and after sex due to feces buildup in the anal canal. This is a common problem, particularly in women with a uterus or ovaries, says Streicher.

Constipation causes feces to spend more time in the colon, which can make them hard and dry, creating a kind of stool plug that’s difficult to pass. This is a common problem for people with certain medications and those who eat less fiber or drink fewer fluids than normal.

You can also have bloating after sex if you’re a woman with a vagina that is not properly protected against STIs. Having unprotected sex can cause bloating because the semen contains prostaglandin, a natural chemical released in response to injury, inflammation and pain. This can trigger uterine contractions and cause pain. Having the proper protection or abstaining from sexual activity until your uterus returns to a normal state can help relieve the pain.

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