Why Does My Vagina Hurt After Sex?

Sex shouldn’t hurt, and if it does, there’s usually an underlying cause. This could range from an easy fix, like using enough lubricant, to something more serious, like an STI or a yeast infection.

A sore vulva is not necessarily an emergency and can usually be fixed with the help of an ice pack or Epsom salt bath. Here are six common reasons your vulva is sore after sex:

1. It’s Too Rough or Vigorous

A sore vulva after sex is a common problem, but it’s not always easy to determine what caused it. It could be that you and your partner enjoyed a bit too vigorous of romp, or it may be that an infection (like yeast, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia) has triggered the pain.

A good way to avoid a painful sex is to start with a lot of foreplay, which can increase lubrication and comfort. It’s also smart to work up to rough sex slowly, and use extra lubricant as needed. Additionally, avoiding positions that maximize penetration like doggy style can reduce the likelihood of pain.

Using a natural, water-based lubricant and switching to non-latex condoms (if you’re allergic to latex) can help prevent soreness during sex. You might also consider speaking to a pelvic floor physical therapist, who can help you strengthen your muscles.

If you’re suffering from an infection, a visit to your primary care doctor or lady doc might be necessary. A urine test can confirm if you have a yeast infection, a bacterial vaginosis, or a STI. Then, your healthcare professional can prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection if needed. The pain should stop after the treatment has been completed.

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2. You’re Not Using Enough Lubricant

Using lubricant during sex reduces friction and helps you and your partner get orgasm faster. It also makes sex more fun and can help your sex sessions last longer. Lubricant is especially important for anal sex and for use with sex toys because it can help prevent pain or soreness.

Your body naturally produces lubrication during sex, but that’s not always enough. You can buy lubricant from drugstores and sexual health stores. Choose a formula that’s free of parabens, which are preservatives that have been linked to irritation and other health problems. You can also find lubricant made with organic ingredients, which are better for your vagina.

You can try applying lubricant before you and your partner engage in sex, as well as reapplying during intercourse or when you feel dry. You can also try increasing your foreplay and making sex more intimate.

If you’re still experiencing pain after sex, talk to your gynecologist. Your doctor can check for things like endometriosis, vulvodynia or other conditions that can cause pain during sex. Your doctor may recommend using more lubricant or trying different sexual positions that are less painful. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe pain medication if the pain is severe. Painful sex is never normal, so don’t ignore it. See your doctor if you’re worried about pain during sex or any other sexual issues.

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3. You Have a Thrush Infection

If you’re sore after sex, it might be a sign of thrush, a common fungal infection that causes pain and a cottage cheese-like discharge. It’s important to see a doctor for this, as thrush can cause serious infections if it isn’t treated. A doctor can diagnose thrush by asking you questions about your symptoms, like whether they are caused by sex, if you have a yeast infection or if you’ve been using protection.

Thrush is also a common cause of pain in the vulva after sex, which can be painful and tender to touch. This is because the fungus can grow in the tiny openings of your vagina and vulva, making them irritated and sensitive. Some lubricant can help soothe this pain, but you should also talk to your doctor about getting prescription antifungal medication.

The good news is that a sore vagina or vulva after sex is usually nothing to worry about, especially if you’re careful to use enough lube and don’t have too rough or vigorous sex. The pain should also go away on its own in a few hours or the next day. If it doesn’t, talk to your doctor about the quality and location of the pain so they can perform any STI, yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis tests that may be needed.

4. You Have a Cyst

If you’re experiencing pain around the vulva that doesn’t go away after three months, it may be a sign of vulvodynia. This is a condition that causes unexplained pain around the vulva and can make sex painful or uncomfortable, so talk to your OB-GYN about it if it’s persistent. Topical ointments and painkillers can help.

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Another possibility is that you have a urinary tract infection. If this is the case, you’ll probably have other symptoms, too, like the feeling of needing to pee all the time, or a burning sensation when you urinate. Your OB-GYN can figure out whether you have a UTI with a urine sample.

It’s also possible that you have a Bartholin cyst, a fluid-filled growth that blocks one of the twin Bartholin glands on either side of your vagina. These glands produce fluid that helps lubricate the vulva for sex. If something blocks the ducts in these glands, you might experience pain during sex that lasts for hours afterward. You might also notice a small, ball-shaped growth near your vaginal opening.

For the most part, it’s totally normal to feel a little sore after sex. But if you’re experiencing intense, lasting pain or it’s occurring all the time, that’s not good and you should see a doctor or pelvic floor physical therapist. That way, you can get the relief you need to enjoy sex again.

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