Feeling sick after sex? Why doctors say its a symptom you shouldn’t ignore


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  • Read the expert advice on what to do if you’re feeling a bit icky post-sex

    Feeling sick after sex? Sex can leave you feeling many things—relaxed, content, sweaty, and sometimes (a lot of the time) hungry.

    But while feeling all of the emotions post-orgasm and working up a sweat or appetite is common, some of the more physical symptoms aren’t – and may indicate that it’s time for you to book a visit to your GP.

    Enter stage right, feeling sick after sex: it’s actually a lot more common than you think, however, it’s a post-sex symptom that may be dangerous to ignore, warns doctor Shirin Lakhani, an intimate health specialist at Elite Aesthetics, Lauren Streicher MD, gynaecologist and medical director, and Sarah Mulindwa, NHS sexual health nurse and presenter of the Channel 4 show, The Sex Clinic.

    Lakhani says: “Nausea after sex affects both genders. Although it’s impossible to put a figure on exactly how many women are affected, many people across the UK find themselves impacted by this.’”

    Keep reading to find out why exactly you’ve been feeling sick after sex and what to do to stop it, once and for all, and don’t miss our guides to the best sex apps, Kamasutra positions, and bondage for beginners, while you’re here.

    Am I feeling sick after sex because we’ve conceived?

    Trigger warning: topics of baby loss.

    There is a (rather worrying) common misconception that feeling sick after sex is an indication that you’ve just successfully conceived.

    In Lakhani’s expert medical opinion, this is not true or physically possible. “Remember, it takes much longer than five minutes for the sperm to fertilise the egg and implant”, she says. So if you’re feeling nauseous straight after sex, no, our expert does not think it’s a sign that you’re newly pregnant, and similarly no she does not think it’s a sign that you’re suffering a miscarriage, either.

    If you’ve experienced the above, stillbirth, or any other trauma, our guides to the five stages of grief and trauma may help.

    Why you’re feeling sick after sex

    You’re not pregnant. So why exactly might you find yourself feeling sick after experiencing sex?

    According to Lakhani, there are a whole host of reasons that could be at the root of the problem.

    1. Vasovagal syncope

    One possibility is vasovagal syncope, which occurs when your partner penetrates you particularly hard and hits your cervix. “The cervix is full of nerve endings. The vasovagal response occurs when the vagus nerve is stimulated,  causing a lower heart rate and blood pressure. This, in turn, can bring on nausea.”

    Plus, it’s important to note that your cervix changes throughout menstrual cycle phases, dropping lower during your period, which means you may be more susceptible if you get intimate during penetration.

    Shop our go-to period pants and period cups now.

    2. Dehydration

    Are you one of those individuals who frequently gets home from work only to work out that you actually haven’t drunk a single sip of water all day? That needs to change, as dehydration can cause a whole heap of health problems. Interestingly, feeling sick after sex is one of them.

    Lakhani says: “Whether it’s dehydration, nerves, or actual anxiety, post-sex nausea could be your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right.”

    If you suspect that it is nerves getting the better of you, do read our guide to stress vs anxiety to work out which it may be, and try to implement stress management techniques such as breathwork training, meditation, and temple massage may help, alongside investing in one of these relaxing facials, if you have the money (and time).

    3. Endometriosis

    If your nausea after sex is accompanied by pain, it may be a sign of a more serious condition such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disorder or a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), says Lakhani.

    It’s not uncommon for women with the above conditions to experience painful intercourse, with other causes including cervical infections and fibroids. Do visit a doctor if you suspect this might be the case.

    4. Mental health

    Probably not you were expecting to read in this section, but do bear with us.

    Lakhani says that if you’ve ruled out all of the potential physical medical triggers that could be causing your nausea, it might be time to look inwards and address the psychological ones. More on exactly how to do that further down this article.

    5. Sex going on for too long

    Did you know? According to Mulindwa, the most common cause of nausea is sex going on too long.

    “Around two-thirds of women struggle to climax through intercourse alone and sex can drag on if you are determined to both end with an orgasm,” she details. The best way to avoid this, she shares, is to ramp up the foreplay.

    Joint orgasm (and no nausea), here you come.

    6. Over vigorous sex

    FYI, over-vigorous sex can also cause nausea. “We are not talking about deep penetration here but more head shaking and general movement,” shares Mulindwa.

    If you are moving too much – back and forth or up and down or side to side without a break – it can cause a feeling like car sickness or seasickness, she warns.

    How to stop feeling sick after sex

    1. Go gently

    First things first—and we’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news—but make sure that sexual penetration isn’t too hard. This covers fingering, penis-in-vagina sex and any form of vaginal penetration.

    Plus, ensure that the position you’re trying doesn’t feel too forced (this guide to the UK’s favourite sex positions might help).

    Remember, your body is a temple and all that, and treating your body with love and respect is pretty essential for making sure you don’t hurt yourself.

    2. Stay hydrated

    Simple, but essential: make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.

    Did you know? Your body is composed of around 60% water, so it’s really key to feeling your best.

    Try this: Make keeping those hydration levels high simple by keeping a reusable water bottle at work and in your bag, or investing in one of the nifty hydration reminder bottles, which visually prompts you with how much water you should have consumed by what time.

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    3. Get checked

    If you’re having gentle sex and keeping hydrated, it might be time you got yourself to a doctor to make sure you haven’t got any underlying conditions that have gone undiagnosed, says Lakhani.

    This could range from anything like endometriosis to PCOS.

    4. Address how you’re feeling

    Sometimes, you end up feeling a bit icky because of an orgasm causing your uterus to contract in a certain way, in turn creating a visceral response in the form of nausea, adds Streicher.

    Let’s get real for a second. Ask yourself the following: do you honestly feel comfortable having sex? Deep down or subconsciously, are you hiding feelings of unease or unhappiness? Lakhani suggests that, if the nausea is really persisting and you’ve addressed all of the above doctors, it might be time to speak to your doctor or specialist.

    5. Use some lubrication

    The simplest and easiest way to improve sex and limit nausea if you suspect it might be caused by over-vigorous, prolonged, or deeply penetrative sex, according to Mulindwa? Use lots of lubricant (read our guide to the best lube, here).

    “Lube makes sex better whatever your age – it’s a myth that it’s only for people who are struggling to self lubricate naturally. Sex is always better when it is slippery – the wetter, the better – particularly if you both like to go for a long time.

    6. Switch things up

    “If your problems concern deep penetration, switch positions and try to have intercourse in positions where you can control how deeply you are penetrated and therefore protect your cervix from getting hit. One good way is to have sex on your side and also advise your partner to go easy on the deep thrusts.

    “The solution to over-vigorous sex is to slow down and take it easy. Avoid shaking your head too much and enjoy more relaxed lovemaking.

    Is feeling sick after sex something to worry about?

    Short answer: it depends. If you’re drinking loads of water, fully relaxing into sex, and don’t see any of the above as red flags, then it may be time to see a doctor.

    What to do if you’re continuously feeling sick after sex

    If you are experiencing any type of noticeable or recurring pain during sex and feel nauseous after intercourse regularly, do contact your GP or gynaecologist.





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