Sexual health awareness is an essential aspect of overall well-being for both men and women.
For many people, sex is about relief. Intimacy releases all the happy chemicals in your brain. Adrenaline has you on cloud nine. Your body is riding out that post-orgasm tingle as you come down from the high of pleasure — except for some, who are feeling a little queasy.
Feeling nauseated after sex is a mood-killer, but it doesn’t have to ruin your night of fun. Read on to discover the reasons you might be feeling nauseated after sex—and when you need to see a doctor.
Is It Normal to Feel Nauseated After Sex?
While it might seem like cause for concern, feeling nausea after sex is actually fairly common. Most often, self-care or being gentler during sex can remedy the problem.
Causes of nausea after sex can include food and drink intake beforehand, dehydration, and any minor infections, such as a urinary tract infection. Medications you might be taking to treat mental health conditions can also create difficulties in the bedroom.
Many women fear that nausea after sex means they must be pregnant, but experts insist this isn’t the case. The process of sperm combining with a fertile egg and attaching to the uterine wall takes a minimum of two weeks. It then takes an additional two weeks for symptoms of pregnancy to appear, meaning that nausea after sex is not a sign of having just become pregnant.
Serious medical conditions aren’t always the culprit, either. It’s natural to worry when things don’t feel right, especially when sex should feel good. However, you don’t need to panic right away.
Reasons for Feeling Nausea After Sex
To help you get a better idea of when you should contact your doctor, we’ve made a list of some of the most common reasons you might be feeling queasy after the act.
We’re vulnerable during sexual situations. If you’re experiencing abuse or in an unhappy relationship, those feelings of unease or discomfort can manifest through symptoms like nausea.
The same is true for those people in happy relationships who have experienced sexual or physical trauma in the past. Sexual intimacy, even with a trusted partner, can trigger flashbacks and feelings of extreme discomfort or panic for those who’ve previously experienced sexual assault or abuse.
Consider discussing these issues with your partner beforehand to avoid triggering scenarios. Likewise, it could be beneficial to find a therapist if you need help to leave an unsafe relationship or coping mechanisms to prevent your triggers from interfering with a healthy one.
If sexual trauma isn’t the root of your symptoms, it’s possible that general anxiety could cause nausea during and after sex. Perhaps it’s your first time with a new partner or trying something new in the bedroom. Maybe you aren’t feeling the mood right now, and you don’t want to sleep with this person at all, but you feel pressure.
Whatever the reason for your discomfort, anxiety can make you feel nauseated. Ask yourself what scenarios tend to bother you and whether you feel comfortable being intimate with a given partner or partners.
Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS)
According to Translational Andrology and Urology, Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS) is a medical condition that primarily affects men but can occur in some women. Many sufferers of this condition report feeling flu-like symptoms after orgasm, such as fatigue, blurred vision, muscle aches, and—you guessed it—nausea.
Doctors are uncertain why some people experience this condition post-orgasm, but if you experience these symptoms after sex, be sure to call your doctor for an examination.
Allergy To Semen
Although it’s rare, another cause for nausea after sex could be an allergy to a partner’s semen. Usually, the allergic reaction arises less because of the semen itself and more because of its components; in simple terms, if a partner eats something you’re allergic to before you have sex, you can experience an allergic reaction after coming in direct contact with their semen.
In other, rarer instances, some people are allergic to the semen itself. Called Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity, this allergy can cause redness, itchiness, and pain in areas that come into contact with a partner’s semen, though symptoms might not occur with every partner.
If you suspect you might have this allergy, it’s important to let your doctor know so that they can arrange the proper tests.
Endometriosis is a medical condition in which the tissue that forms the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. This condition can be very painful and cause symptoms such as bleeding, abdominal cramping, fatigue, and pain—both during sex and in everyday life.
According to the World Health Organization, “Endometriosis affects roughly 10% (190 million) of reproductive age women and girls globally.” Despite its prevalence, it proves hard to diagnose. If you suspect you may have endometriosis, make a note of all your symptoms to assist your doctor in diagnosis.
Vasovagal Syncope or Deep Penetration
A common cause for women’s nausea after sex is vasovagal syncope, also known as deep penetration. When your partner pushes deeply during intercourse, they could end up hitting your cervix and triggering a vasovagal response.
A vasovagal response will stimulate your vagus nerve, which can lower your heart rate and induce nausea associated with dizziness. Vasovagal episodes aren’t serious, but if you find yourself feeling nauseated frequently, consider asking your partner to avoid deep penetration the next time you have sex.
It might not be ideal to chug a bottle of water right before sex, but keeping hydrated can decrease the possibility of discomfort. Dehydration can cause fatigue, light-headedness, and nausea, and these symptoms could worsen with prolonged physical activity—like having sex.
Be sure to drink water throughout the day and monitor how frequently you urinate to be sure you’re getting enough fluid.
Cysts and Fibroids
If all else seems normal, the cause of your post-sex nausea could be a bit more serious. In the same way that deep penetration can manipulate the pelvic organs and cause nausea, hitting an ovarian cyst or fibroid can likewise upset your stomach.
If you suspect you might have an ovarian cyst or fibroid, make an appointment with your gynecologist.
Food or Drink Intake
Remember the old wives’ tale about not swimming after lunch? Engaging in physical activity of any kind too soon after eating can lead to an upset stomach. This is especially true if alcohol or other substances are involved that might make you queasy.
When planning a dinner date you hope will end in the bedroom, consider setting aside enough time after eating to let your food settle before getting intimate.
When to See a Doctor for Nausea After Sex
Luckily, most causes of nausea after sex are relatively harmless, and you can treat them at home. However, if your symptoms occur frequently, it might be best to visit your doctor to rule out the possibility of more serious conditions.
Episodes of pain, abnormal bleeding, or symptoms caused by an allergic reaction often indicate an underlying health condition. The specific remedy will vary depending on what you’re experiencing and the nature of your nausea.
A consultation might include a basic physical examination or a pelvic exam with your gynecologist. If you’re concerned about a potential STD, you can also request a full 10-panel STD test. Remember that with STDs, the incubation period can vary depending on the disease. That’s why it’s important to keep up with regular STD testing.
If emotional discomfort is causing your nausea, perhaps a therapist or mental health professional can guide you through steps to address sexual trauma and anxiety.
How to Prevent Nausea After Sex
Because deep penetration can cause post-sex nausea for women, consider asking your partners not to penetrate as deeply and to be more careful when doing so.
Know your status
This adage refers to both sexual health and general physical health. Underlying conditions can make sex painful. It’s critical to know what’s going on in your body to prevent any unnecessary discomfort.
If your symptoms persist or worsen, talk to your doctor and consider taking a rapid STD test to check your status—whether or not you’re feeling ill. If you’re feeling worried and would like to know quickly, you can receive same-day STD testing and see your results sooner.
Be mindful of your feelings
Whether you ate too much and need some time to relax before you get it on, or you’re feeling anxious about getting intimate and need to talk it out, be mindful of the signals your body sends you.
Feeling nauseated after sex is a bummer. Some causes require medical attention, but you can avoid others by simply using a condom to prevent direct contact with semen.
And, nausea aside—it never hurts to protect yourself and your partners from unwanted pregnancy or potential STDs. There’s no shame in testing positive for STDs, but the consequences can be overwhelming. It’s best to be proactive in prevention and monitor any unusual symptoms that arise. You can read all about hepatitis and other common STDs on our blog.
Take Your Health Into Your Own Hands
Remember that most of the time, your health is in your hands. Consider talking to your doctor about experiencing nausea after sex. And, to find out your STD status today, call Rapid STD Testing at (866) 872-1888 or visit our homepage to find a lab near you.