Having swollen labia after sex is usually normal as your body is still aroused. But like everything else, it has its limits. And if it goes beyond, then there’s definitely an underlying cause as to why that is so.
In this article, we’ll discuss what it means to have swollen labia after sex beyond normalcy. We’ll also talk about the different symptoms and signs, prevention tips, and treatment options for this uncomfortable circumstance.
What is Swollen Labia?
In the context of sex, having swollen labia means the inner folds (labia minora) and outer folds (labia majora) become puffy or enlarged. Planned Parenthood defines the labia minora are the inner lips that start from your clitoris until your vaginal opening. As for the labia major, these outer lips are fleshy and surrounded by pubic hair.
Back to swollen labia regarding sex, this occurs as a response to sexual arousal, stimulation, or activity. With the former, more blood rushes to our system due to arousal, specifically to our genitalia. It also becomes more sensitive to touch, usually decreasing once the sexual experience is over or your aroused state of mind washes over.
So in other words, having swollen labia after is normal. But if any discomfort follows it or it remains swollen longer than your sexcapade, then a definite problem is occurring that needs to be checked and observed.
Prime Causes of Swollen Labia After Sex
Let’s dive a little deeper into the different causes that can lead one’s labia to feel such painful swellness after sex.
1 Rough Sex
We get it: rough sex can be a fun kind of sex when you and your partner are well acquainted with each other’s bodies. Fast and heated, your eyes roll like crazy from all the sensations hitting you at once!
However, if it’s overdone, all that friction produced can irritate your labia and even tear some of your vaginal tissues. But not only can you get swollen labia after sex, but even a swollen clitoris or swollen vulva area in general. The morning after will definitely leave you too sore to leave your bed and go on with your day.
2 Lack of Lubrication
In response to arousal, your vulva area builds up with natural lubrication (aka. feeling wet or any dripping substances down there) to prepare you for the deed.
However, if your body doesn’t produce enough natural lubrication, you risk experiencing increased friction during the deed. Thus, your labia can get inflamed, fueled with discomfort right after sex and any actions proceeding with it. But alongside lacking natural lubrication, not using artificial lubrication with it can hurt your vulva area. It can also feel more sensitivity to touch and pain, wherein any fleeting movement to your swollen labia after sex can overwhelm you.
3 Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
The safer it is, the better. This quote most especially applies during sex, wherein it’s better to be safe than sorry that wrap it before you tap it. One big consequence that may occur if you engage in unprotected sex (aka no barrier method involved) is contracting sexually transmitted infections. Flo defines those infections as “bacterial or viral infections, which in the absence of a condom, may transfer parasites from one sexual partner to another”. Due to this, it can also affect a clean vulva owner to suffer swollen labia after sex.
Some examples of common sexually transmitted infections are chlamydia, herpes, and gonorrhea.
4 Other Medical Infections
Infections passed on from unprotected sex are not the only way to get swollen labia after sex. Some of those infections include a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, and a urinary tract infection.
Healthline states that a yeast infection is “caused by an overgrowth of Candida, a family of yeast that occurs naturally within your body.” The infection occurs if there’s an imbalance between yeast and good bacteria, specifically in the vagina. It’s also known as candidiasis. One known symptom of this infection is pain post-sex in the vulva area, possibly leaving you with swollen labia.
Bacterial vaginosis is an imbalance of harmful bacteria in the vagina that can lead to inflammation and discomfort. This can worsen if you have sex, leading to swollen labia after sex.
Lastly, a urinary tract infection not only causes your entire urinary tract to feel uncomfortable due to the bacteria. But when you engage in the deed, the pain can extend to your vulva area. Pain can lead to further swelling, hence a more prominent swollen labia after sex.
There are certain things used during sex to make the experience more enjoyable and safer. From condoms, lube, and other means of birth control, we rely on them so everything runs smoothly. However, some of us may react differently and have allergies towards them. As you do the deed, you’d then notice more swollen labia after sex, which is more than normal. We emphasize the importance of checking on your allergies and searching for alternatives.
6 Hormonal Changes
If you’re on your period or pregnant, there’s a fluctuation of hormones that rush into your body. Due to this, it makes your vulva area more sensitive and swollen. So when you’re eager to do the deed, such swelling can heighten and may even bring discomfort and pain if you’re not careful.
On another note, taking birth control can suppress your hormones, as stated by Healthline. Because of this, it makes the vaginal tissues thinner and drier. This would add more friction if no lube is used.
7 Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Cleveland Clinic notes that this infection “occurs in your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries” and also “sexually transmitted infections typically cause it”. Through unprotected sex, the bacteria goes inside your reproductive system, where they can infect your organs. From experiencing unusual discharge, vomiting, and irregular periods, having sex becomes painful when all your pelvic organs are affected. Your labia included, making it swell uncomfortably after doing the deed.
Symptoms and Signs of Swollen Labia After Sex
It’s crucial to know how swollen labia after sex can physically manifest and affect your body. Check out the list below to stay aware of what to look out for.
1 Abnormal Discharge
This may manifest if you have an underlying medical condition. Whether it be a sexually transmitted infection or any other infection we mentioned above, it can affect your usual vaginal discharge. It can increase, change color, have an odor, or varying consistency.
2 Sores and Blisters
Another sign and symptom if you’re diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease! Seeing sores and blisters in your labia after sex is a concern. A sore is tender and usually ulcerated lesions on the skin or mucous membranes. Meanwhile, Cleveland Clinic defines a blister as “a painful skin condition where fluid fills a space between layers of skin.” Those little bubbles formed are absolutely excruciating.
Those sores and blisters can come in different shapes and appearances, emitting a lot of pain for the affected vulva owner.
This is usually the first sign and symptom that goes unnoticed when experiencing swollen labia after sex. Such labia can be tender and sensitive to touch after the deed, affecting your future sexcapades. It can also affect your daily life, making it difficult to walk and urinate.
It’s a given that blood flow to your genitalia is a response to sexual arousal. But in this case, it’s quite different. Due to increased blood flow to the affected labia, they’ll appear redder than normal. Inflammation is also another reason for the red shade.
5 Irritating Sensations
As a swollen labia after sex is very sensitive and tender, irritating sensations add on to the discomfort. Such sensations are itchiness and burning-like that can make you want to put your hand to relieve them, but you shouldn’t! These sensations can be due to increased friction, little to no lubrication, and any infections we mentioned above.
6 Difficulties in having sex
Quite a given, but still relevant. When your labia hurts after sex and goes untreated, it’ll reflect in the next occurrence you do the deed. And the more you leave it untreated, the more painful engaging or initiating sex will be. This sign of swollen labia after sex can be due to vigorous sex without any lubrication or pre-diagnosed medical condition.
Prevention Tips for Swollen Labia After Sex
No one ever wants to experience an amplified pain of swollen labia after sex. Literally, the last thing you’d ever want from a fun time. But not to worry; we have the prevention tips to keep you protected and healthy before anything bad occurs.
1 Communicate with your partner all throughout the experience.
It’s important to be open with your partner about your feelings as you have sex. And most especially when you start feeling any pain or discomfort while you’re at it. You don’t want to delve into fun that can actually hurt you in the process, wherein it can leave you with swollen labia after sex. With that being said, always be in constant communication and take things slow as much as possible to ensure you and your partner are on the same page of comfort. Consent is also key here!
2 Check beforehand if you have any allergies.
There are sex-related items that can spark an allergic reaction, from latex condoms, lubricants, and spermicides. Experiencing an allergy reaction in your labia leads to inflammation and discomfort in your daily life. So by being aware and observing a reaction through patch tests or a medical professional if you have an allergy to any of these products, it can spare you from the pain. There are alternatives you can resort to, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
You should also read the labels of the products for any other potential allergens.
3 Stay educated and practice safe sex practices.
Sexual education is key to having safer sex, wherein we learn more about our bodies and techniques that’ll keep us protected from unwanted outcomes. We’re talking STIs and unplanned pregnancies. In this case of swollen labia after sex, it can occur due to an STI or allergy reaction. With the former, it’s best to limit your sexual partners and get tested often. Then for the latter, resort to alternatives and consult with a medical professional.
Sexual education or wellness shouldn’t be hindered nor avoided, or else we’re more likely to make detrimental mistakes with our bodies.
4 Follow a proper hygiene routine.
Establishing a proper hygiene routine for daily application is a gradual key to avoiding swollen labia after sex. A proper routine includes cleaning with mild soap and water and then drying the vulva area correctly. As much as possible, avoid using harsh or scented products because they can trigger more irritation.
5 Pee before and after sex.
Quite a common piece of advice being passed around by word of mouth or online! But seriously, urinating before and after doing the deed can lessen your chances of getting a UTI. And what can possibly happen if you get a UTI? Swollen labia after sex. Yup, absolutely not. Next!
6 Get enough rest.
Giving yourself adequate rest after having sex, regardless of the pace, allows you to properly recover and lessen the risk of experiencing irritation and inflammation. That’s because your blood levels resume back to normal after the arousal wears off. Alongside this, having enough rest benefits your overall well-being and sexual health. You give yourself a chance to refresh your mind and body and maintain the balance of your vulva health, lessening the stress and getting diagnosed with labia-related issues.
Treatment for Swollen Labia After Sex
For every problem, there is a solution. In terms of this intimate problem, we have a bunch of prominent treatment options you can choose from based on how accessible it is for you.
- Switching or adding lube in your next sexcapades: We suggest water-based lube.
- STI or infection-related medications
- Cool compress: Healthline advises holding the pack between 5-10 minutes, but not directly on your vulva area. There should be a cloth (e.g., underwear and towel). Avoid placing the pack inside your vagina as well.
- Wearing cotton, breathable underwear
- Switching to hypoallergenic condoms (non-latex) and lubricants
- Over-the-counter medications
- Get checked by a medical professional!
Having swollen labia after sex is normal, but when pain strikes, you must take fervent action. Sex should be an enjoyable experience, wherein we shouldn’t feel any discomfort at any part of it. As much as possible, it’s still best to visit a medical professional to know the roots of your swollen labia and for further instructions on alleviating it.