Why do I get cramps after sexual activity?
Cramping during sexual activity is one of the most common side effects of sexual activities such as masturbation, vaginal penetration or even when having unprotected coitus. There are many theories about why cramping occurs but no clear answer yet. Some say it’s due to hormonal changes while others believe its caused by a buildup of lactic acid in your body which causes the muscle spasms.
What Causes Cramps During Sexual Activity?
There are several factors which may contribute to cramping during sexual activity. These include:
1) Your age : Cramping is usually less severe with younger people especially if they have not had any previous sexual experience.
However, cramps will occur at all ages and it depends upon how much stimulation you receive during sexual activity. Also, the amount of fluids that pass through your system during sexual activity will affect your body’s reaction to them.
2) How much fluid you drink : If you consume too little fluids, then you’ll feel cramps.
On the other hand, if you consume too much fluids, then your body will produce excess amounts of acids and lactic acid. You might experience cramps even when there is no sexual activity involved.
3) How often you engage in sexual activity : A person’s level of physical fitness plays a role in their ability to withstand the strain of sexual activity.
If you’re already tired out by other physical activities or you’re not in the best physical condition, then you’ll experience more cramping. If you’re highly active during your sexual activity, then you’ll be prone to cramping too.
4) Your level of arousal : The more aroused you are, the greater the amount of stimulation and oxygen is going to your genitals.
While this is a good thing, it also causes your body to produce more lactic acid and other waste materials including other byproducts which cause cramps. For those who are prone to cramping problems, you can easily alleviate them by getting yourself excited and aroused.
5) Your diet : Eating the wrong foods or not eating at all may lead to cramping muscles especially in your legs, abdomen and the lower part of your body.
If you’re interested in preventing cramps, then you should make sure that you eat a balanced diet of vegetables and fruits. It also helps to stay hydrated at all times as well.
6) How much you’re moving during sexual activity : The more active you are during sexual activity, the more lactic acid gets produced in your body.
This can be quite stressful on your muscles and cause cramping. In some cases, excessive movement during sexual activity can also cause the muscles in your body to tear or break which is a very serious condition known as rhabdomyolysis. This medical condition can be very painful and you may need to get IV fluids injected into your body to flush out the lactic acid.
7) What position you’re engaging in : Different positions put different types of stress on your muscles.
Those that put a lot of stress on your muscles are likely to cause cramping. An example of this would be the doggy style position as you would be bending forward and putting a lot of stress on your abdomen. On the other hand, those that require little movement such as the missionary position have a lesser chance of causing cramps.
8) If you’re using tools or toys during sexual activity : Using tools and toys are more likely to cause cramping than when engaging in sexual activity without any toys or tools.
This is because the use of these items place more stress on your muscles especially those in your legs and abdomen. The spasms can be so strong that it may even cause you to drop whatever sexual toy or tool that you’re using during the time.
9) The type of sexual activity you’re engaging in : Certain types of sexual activity are more likely to cause cramps than others.
Anal and vaginal penetration are those that will put the most stress on your muscles, especially in your legs and abdomen. Those who engage in such activities are more likely to suffer from cramps. It’s interesting to note that some women also experience cramps during their orgasms as well.
10) How mentally aroused you are : If you’re not mentally stimulated or aroused, then you’re less likely to experience cramps. This is because your brain sends signals to your muscles to contract or tense up which can lead to cramping if you’re not mentally stimulated in some way.
11) Dehydration : As mentioned earlier, dehydration can cause your muscles to cramp up during sexual activity. Make sure you stay hydrated before, during and after sexual activity.
12) Your genetic make-up : Some people are just prone to cramping more than others. Those with neurological problems such as cerebral palsy or other disorders may experience cramping due to their condition.
13) Past history of muscle cramps : If you’ve experienced cramps in the past, then you’re more likely to experience them in the future. It’s recommended to see a doctor if you suffer from a lot of muscle cramps.
14) Nervous system malfunction : It is possible for your nervous system to malfunction and cause your muscles to cramp up. If you suffer from a lot of leg cramps during the night, then this may be the reason why.
15) Other medical conditions : There are other medical conditions such as injury, illness or another underlying medical condition that is causing the cramps. These should be identified by a doctor and treated accordingly.
16) It’s all in your head : Yep, if you believe hard enough that you’ll get leg cramps, then eventually you will. The power of the mind is a very powerful thing.
17) Excessive lactic acid build-up : If you’ve engaged in strenuous physical activity or athletic activity, then there may be an excessive build-up of lactic acid within your body. This may cause your muscles to cramp up. This might also happen if you’re under a lot of stress.
18) Poor circulation : If you have poor blood circulation, then your muscles are not getting enough oxygen or nutrients which may lead to cramping. This may be due to diabetes, damage to the arteries, or other factors.
19) Lack of muscle conditioning : If you’re not used to engaging in rigorous physical activity or sexual activity, then your muscles may cramp up as a result of this. Your muscles need to be in good physical condition in order to perform at their best.
20) You’re doing too many things at the same time : If you’re engaging in strenuous physical exercise while also engaging in sexual activity, then you may cramp up due to your mind and body being focused on anything but your muscles. Your brain is directing all the blood flow to those important body regions and away from your legs and abdomen. This is why you’re more prone to cramping when engaging in sexual activity as well as running, jogging or performing some other physical activity.
How to Prevent Muscle Cramps
1) Stay hydrated : Drinking plenty of water is always good for your health.
It’s especially good for preventing muscle cramps since it helps prevent dehydration which is one of the main causes of muscle cramping.
2) Get enough salt : Just make sure you don’t over-do it.
Your body needs a balance of sodium and other minerals. Too much of anything is bad for you.
3) Get enough calcium : Calcium helps prevent muscle cramps as well, especially in your legs and feet.
Calcium is important for the smooth functioning of your nervous system which helps prevent cramping.
4) Magnesium : Another common mineral that helps prevent muscle cramps.
Many medicines and supplements contain magnesium to help prevent leg cramps in particular.
5) Eat more bananas : Bananas are known to help people with leg cramps.
Just make sure you eat enough bananas. If you don’t like eating them, then try taking a banana supplement.
6) Drink coffee : A cup of coffee can sometimes help get rid of a leg or foot cramp.
It seems the caffeine in coffee is effective at getting rid of cramps.
7) Get more exercise : The more your muscles are used to working, the less likely you are to get leg cramps.
However, if you overdo it, you may still cramp up.
8) Massage : Some light massage on the cramped muscle can sometimes increase circulation and flush out lactic acid build-up which may help alleviate or reduce the pain.
9) Heat : Applying heat to the cramped muscle for a short period of time may help relax the muscle and alleviate the pain.
10) Stretch : If you stretch the cramped muscle slowly and gently, then you may be able to get it to relax and release.
11) Sleep : When you’re asleep, your brain and body are recharging. Getting your rest is essential for good health.
12) Drink milk : Drinking milk may help prevent leg cramps. Just make sure it’s the real stuff, not the sugary ” flavored milk ” that some people drink instead.
13) Eat more protein : Eating more protein can reduce your chances of getting leg cramps. Good sources of protein are meat, beans, peas, cheese and eggs.
14) Eat bananas : Eating bananas can help you get rid of leg cramps by helping to replace lost potassium.
15) Eat more cherries : Cherries have compounds in them that help relax muscles and give you more energy.
16) Eat more garlic : Garlic contains certain chemicals that can help prevent muscle cramping and give you more stamina.
17) Eat less salt : Eating too much salt can cause you to have leg cramps since it causes your body to retain water.
18) Eat more spinach : Spinach contains certain chemicals that help relax your muscles.
19) Magnesium chloride : You can get magnesium chloride in the form of a lotion or bath soak to help alleviate leg cramps.
20) Take a hot bath : A hot bath may help relax your muscles and alleviate the pain.
21) Massage : Giving your muscles a massage can help increase circulation and rid your muscles of lactic acid build-up.
22) Epsom salt : Taking an Epsom salt bath can help relax your muscles, reduce cramping and help you sleep. Use about 1/2 cup Epsom salt per tub of water.
23) Baking soda : Baking soda can help relieve the pain caused by leg cramps. Just mix about 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink.
24) Prune juice : Prune juice is a natural way to get more potassium.
25) Get more sleep : Getting enough sleep every night will ensure that you’re getting enough rest and your body is ready to go.
26) Get up and walk : If you get up and walk around when you feel a cramp coming on, you’ll often be able to relieve it by walking it off.
27) Massage : Massaging the cramped muscle can sometimes help alleviate the pain or even prevent it if you massage the area before the cramp starts.
28) Avoid drinking too much water : Drinking too much water is said to cause muscle cramps in some cases. If you’re properly hydrated, then you don’t need to worry about this.
29) Magnesium : Taking a supplement containing magnesium can help relieve leg cramping (but do check with your doctor before taking any supplements).
30) No coffee, tea or cola : Some people find that these drinks cause them to have leg cramps and the only solution is to give them up.
31) Tonic water : Sometimes drinking tonic water can cause a leg cramp. This is possibly due to the quinine in tonic water.
32) No alcohol : Drinking alcohol is said to cause muscle cramps in some cases.
33) Avoid dehydration : Staying hydrated is vital for your body’s health, but if you’re dehydrated you may be more prone to getting leg cramps.
Sources & references used in this article:
Randomised controlled trial of hydroquinine in muscle cramps by PHP Jansen, KCW Veenhuizen, AIM Wesseling… – The Lancet, 1997 – Elsevier
Why rectal douches may be acceptable rectal-microbicide delivery vehicles for MSM by A Carballo-Diéguez, J Bauermeister… – Sexually transmitted …, 2010 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Progressive proximal spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy of late onset: a sex-linked recessive trait by WR Kennedy, M Alter, JH Sung – Neurology, 1998 – AAN Enterprises
Ego state therapy as treatment for severe stomach pains after sexual intercourse: A case presentation by AM Fourie, HE Roets – Australian Journal of Clinical …, 2003 – search.proquest.com
Prevalence and predictors of chronic lower genital tract discomfort by BL Harlow, LA Wise, EG Stewart – American journal of obstetrics and …, 2001 – Elsevier