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Erika Rasmusson Janes

Pain During Sex

Here's how to figure out whether it's that discomfort is just another pregnancy symptom or something that calls for a trip to your OB.

What is pain during sex?

Any pain or discomfort in your vaginal area, from an ache to a cramp to a sharp or burning pain, during intercourse or orgasm.

What could be causing pain during sex?

An STI like chlamydia, trichomoniasis or a yeast infection can all cause pain during sex. It could also be due to chronic condition like endometriosis. If the pain is in your vagina, then it’s likely due to trichomoniasis or a yeast infection; if the pain is in your cervix (higher up), an STI may be to blame.

But it could just be because you’re pregnant. That’s because your entire pelvic region gets significantly more blood flow during pregnancy, and for some women, “that engorgement is just uncomfortable,” says Sarah Prager, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington. Not to mention the fact that your bigger-than-usual uterus sits lower in your pelvis, so your guy could be hitting against your cervix in a new (and uncomfortable) way. Even orgasms can cause pain because they can cause uterine contractions.

When should I go to the doctor with pain during sex?

Call the doctor if the pain keeps up after you’re done having sex, if it’s really significant pain, if it triggers contractions that don’t stop, if the pain is in your vagina or if you also have discharge, odor or bleeding.

How do I treat pain during sex?

If your pain is caused by an infection, your doctor will likely prescribe pregnancy-safe antibiotics. Otherwise, try changing positions: Many pregnant women find that being on top or having their partner behind them during sex makes it more comfortable than the missionary position.

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