Why Is My Vagina Swollen & Dry After Sex? It's More Common Than You Think

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The vagina is a wonderful and complex part of the human body. With that said, I would bet good money that I've spent more on maintenance for my lady bits than I have on my car. Between menstruating and keeping your pH balanced, there's so much involved in caring for your vagina, and let's not forget taking your sexual activity into consideration, too. If you've ever had intercourse and felt irritated or uncomfortable downstairs, then you've probably asked yourself, why is my vagina swollen and dry after sex? Thankfully, you're not alone in this unfortunate, but very common, experience.

Apparently, there are plenty of simple reasons for why your vagina might be swollen, dry or both after getting busy. And once you identify the source of your problem, it's infinitely easier to treat or prevent the issue from occurring in the first place. "I have many patients who suffer from dry, swollen, and painful vaginal tissue after intercourse," Dr. Marilyn Freedman, a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic health, tells Romper. "There could be an issue with the lubricating glands of the vagina, which can become significantly swollen, dry, and painful due to a lack of appropriate lubrication for comfortable sex." If you're confident the lack of moisture isn't related to arousal, then you might want to schedule a visit with your OB-GYN to make sure that your lubricating glands haven't been blocked or inflamed due to something more serious, like a vaginal infection.

But before you get too worried, it turns out that a bit of swelling post-coitus isn't necessarily a bad thing — as long as it isn't overly painful. "The vulvar tissues and clitoris engorge with blood during sexual arousal much like the penis," says Dr. Nicole Prause, a sexual psycho-physiologist. "This can cause labial eversion, that is the labia turning outward, and the clitoris to increase over 100 percent in volume." The appearance may be disconcerting at first, but a swollen vagina is totally normal.

The strength and condition of your entire pelvic system can also play a role in whether or not your vagina might feel swollen or dry after sex. "I treat many women with pelvic pain after sex," says physical therapist Dr. Rachel Gelman, who is the branch director of the Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco, California. "It can be due to a variety of factors including hypertonic (overly tight) pelvic floor muscles or an inflammatory process." Fortunately, as Gelman further suggests, there are several simple exercises you can do to relax your pelvic floor and this can reduce any swelling or dryness caused by intercourse. Again, you should always reach out to a medical professional before starting a new health routine, just to play it safe.

Of course, there is always the chance that your life is like an episode of House, and the reason for your medical issues falls in the uncommon category. "We also see semen allergy on occasion, when a woman can actually have a reaction to her partners ejaculate," Dr. Michael Ingber, a urologist and specialist in women's health, says to Romper via email. "This can be due to an actual allergy to the component of semen or something that the male ingested — like food or medicine." Though this is certainly rare, an allergy to something in your partner's genetic material can cause your vagina to become swollen and dry after sex. If you've ruled out the more common reasons — such as a lack of lubrication or an overly tight or inflamed vaginal canal — then don't be afraid to run this possibility by your doctor. Sure, this topic may not be your favorite, but one awkward conversation is better than a lifetime of painful sex.

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