Post-Orgasmic Cramps and Irregular Periods: What Do They Have in Common?


A young woman who suffers from severe abdominal pains after masturbating wonders what could be causing the cramps.

Case #: 
1302

Concern:

Please help me. I’m a 21-year-old woman, and I get very bad pains in my stomach after I masturbate. I don't know what it is. Sometimes I get my periods late, too. Is masturbation bad for my health? Kindly give me an answer. Thank you.

Discussion:

Most health professionals agree that masturbation is a healthy activity (in moderation) for those whose cardiovascular health can support the strain of sexual function. In other words, if they're not going to give you a heart attack or cause some other medical emergency, orgasms are good for you. This remains true regardless of whether you enjoy them by yourself or with partners. However, since the sexual response cycle requires a complex balance of hormones and nutrients, there is a lot that can go wrong, including the after-orgasm pains you are experiencing.
 
Could PMS Symptoms and Post-Orgasm Cramps be Related? 
A quick search of internet health forums will confirm that a number of otherwise healthy women experience mysterious cramping pains in their lower abdomens after an orgasm. These pains may resemble menstrual cramps and appear to worsen toward the end of the menstrual cycle. They have also been reported to develop alongside irregular periods, or in women with a history of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) problems.
 
Unfortunately, there isn't much medical literature available yet on why this happens, what causes the cramps, or what the risk factors are for developing them. If the after-orgasm pains you are experiencing are somehow related to the menstrual cycle, which seems likely based on their timing and co-occurrence with menstrual irregularities, than it is possible that they are mediated by the same hormonal interactions that cause PMS symptoms in some women.
 
Many of the physical and emotional changes that comprise PMS are believed to result from fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels. Progesterone plays a prominent role in stimulating the uterus and cervix to contract while shedding the uterine lining. Severe menstrual cramps with a particularly heavy menstrual flow, uterine spotting between periods, or irregular periods may be the result of a high progesterone ratio.
 
How an Orgasm Could Trigger Uterine Cramps
Physiologically speaking, orgasms are a stressful activity. Masturbation, sex, and sexual arousal stimulate the release of norepinepherine, prolactin, and cortisol.  High levels of progesterone in the endocrine system could contribute to an abnormally high ratio of these stress hormones and low ratios of androgens necessary for fueling orgasms, which include androstenedione, testosterone, and estradiol. These hormones are also crucial in maintaining tissue elasticity in the uterus and surrounding smooth muscles. It is possible that the pains you are experiencing result from the uterus and uterine support ligaments cramping after the uterus repositions itself during the violent contractions of orgasm.
 
Some Suggestions for Stopping the Cramps
Everyone deserves to have sex and masturbate without the fear of pain.
 
Since there is so little medical literature available concerning this issue, I would suggest seeing an Ob/Gyn to rule out underlying health problems such as endometriosis or ovarian cysts.
 
If your symptoms are not caused by an unrelated health condition, you may benefit from herbal formulas designed to mitigate PMS problems. (TRY: Premenstrual Difficulties Relief Solution) Herbs that contain phytoestrogens, or "plant estrogens" that mimic naturally occurring human hormones, may help balance estrogen and progesterone in the pituitary system.

What to do


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