Why Do I Have Diarrhea After Sex?

When stomach pain or diarrhea occurs after sex, it can be a nightmare for both partners. Honest communication with your partner is key to managing this uncomfortable issue and having a successful, satisfying relationship.

While sperm can carry sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like giardia and amebiasis, it is unlikely to cause digestive upset or diarrhea. However, there are a number of reasons why you may be experiencing GI distress after sex.

Food Intolerance or Allergy

There is no scientific evidence that sperm can cause diarrhea in humans. Sperm is made up of proteins and water, and while it can carry sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, it has no direct effect on the digestive system. However, if your digestive system is affected by stress or certain medications, it can lead to diarrhea.

If you have food intolerances or allergies, they can trigger diarrhea after sex, but it is important to make the distinction between an allergy and intolerance. An allergy is when your immune system overreacts to a specific food or ingredient, and it can be life-threatening. Food intolerances, on the other hand, are when your body can’t properly digest a particular type of food or ingredient. For example, if you’re lactose intolerant, your body can’t break down the dairy sugar lactose.

Food allergies can be triggered by many different foods, including seafood, nuts, milk, chocolate and wheat. It is important to talk to your doctor about any food intolerances you have and keep a diary of your symptoms to help work out what might be causing them. You may also need to carry epinephrine injections (Adreniclick, Auvi-Q, EpiPen or Symjepi) with you if you have food allergies. This can reduce the severity of a reaction and save your life in an emergency.

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Dehydration

If you have diarrhea it’s important to keep drinking lots of water as this helps prevent dehydration. This is because the body loses a lot of fluid through loose, watery stools.

If the diarrhea lasts more than three days then you should see a doctor. This is because severe diarrhea can lead to a dangerous infection called Shigella. This infection can be spread by touching an infected person’s skin, especially around the anus, penis, vagina or thighs.

Sexual activity can cause your abdominal and pelvic muscles to tense up which can cause pain in the lower abdomen. Sometimes this pain can be mistaken for stomach pain but in reality it is usually lower pelvic pain caused by sex.

Having sex can also lead to dehydration as the body sweats during physical activity and loses fluid. This can then trigger diarrhea because the body tries to compensate for this loss of fluid by extracting extra liquid from stools.

Semen can also cause diarrhea if it’s infected with the bacteria Shigella. This is because the chemicals in semen, called prostaglandins, can make a woman have diarrhea. This happens because the prostaglandins cause the smooth muscles in the uterus and digestive tract to contract quickly. This can then lead to the runs and cramping. However, this can be prevented by using condoms during sex and by washing hands properly before and after sex.

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Semen Allergy

The condition known as semen allergy, or human seminal plasma hypersensitivity (HSP), causes an allergic reaction to the proteins found in men’s sperm. This rare autoimmune disorder has been known to cause diarrhea in women after sex, and can make it more difficult for them to get pregnant. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the reaction may be localized to the area where semen came into contact with your body — like the vulva or penis — or more widespread throughout the body.

Symptoms can range from itchiness to itchy red skin or a tingling sensation in the genital area. Semen allergies can also cause an itchy throat, hives and nose and shortness of breath. The most severe reactions – called anaphylaxis – can be life-threatening and require immediate emergency medical attention. If you have a severe reaction, always carry an adrenaline autoinjector such as an epinephrine pen with you and know how to use it.

Allergies to sperm can be caused by the proteins found in a man’s sperm, but some research has also suggested that medications and food allergies can trigger symptoms. Diarrhea after sex can also be triggered by infections such as sexually transmitted diseases, so practicing safe sex and using condoms is important. It is also recommended that people wash their hands well before and after sex to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Hormonal Changes

The act of sex releases a cocktail of hormones, including oxytocin, adrenaline and endorphins. These can have an impact on the digestive system, causing stomach discomfort such as bloating, gas or diarrhea.

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Sexual activity can also cause fluid loss through sweating, which may lead to dehydration. This is another reason why it is important to drink water when you have sex. Diarrhea can also be caused by an imbalance of the levels of sodium and chloride in the body. It is therefore important to consume lots of fluids when you have diarrhea to prevent dehydration.

If you have sex regularly and suddenly experience stomach pain, it is likely due to prostaglandins released from the testicles that can trigger period-like symptoms such as bloating, cramping or diarrhea. If this is the case, it is advisable to start using condoms and talk to your partner about how you feel.

Any kind of stomach upset can be frustrating, but it is especially disappointing when the discomfort is triggered by something that should be pleasurable. The good news is that, in most cases, the causes of sex-induced stomach pain are not serious and can be corrected with the right diet and medication. However, if the diarrhea persists for more than a few days, it is important to contact your doctor. Long-term diarrhea could be a sign of a gastrointestinal disease such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These conditions can have a major impact on intimate relationships.

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