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Swollen Labia After Sex: 6 Possible Causes

Intimacy and sexual relationships are a normal part of a healthy and active lifestyle. But sometimes they create physical or medical complications that might be a source of concern, such as having a swollen labia after sex. 

Is swollen labia after sex normal?

There are instances in which swelling after sex is completely normal. Swelling is an essential body function that delivers blood and fluids to an area when needed. 

Both sex and masturbation can cause mild swelling due to friction. If your vagina feels swollen after sex and it’s extremely uncomfortable or lasts longer than a few hours, however, it’s wise to seek medical advice. 

What causes swollen labia after sex?

Since swelling rushes blood and other fluids to a certain part of your body, it’s capable of making your vagina raw after sex.

To reduce your chances of having a swollen vagina after sex, ensure that you and your partner use proper lubrication to minimize friction and irritation. Sexual intercourse will then be smoother and easier on your body. Whenever your vagina feels swollen after sex, friction is the likeliest culprit. 

If you’re still experiencing painful swelling after sex, despite applying lubrication, it’s time to consider other possible causes for a swollen vagina after sex. Consult your doctor for more information. 

1. Allergic reaction

If you’ve been asking yourself, “why does my vagina get swollen after sex?”, it could be due to an allergic reaction. If you normally have sensitive skin, there’s a good chance you’re allergic to certain products, such as:

  • Latex condom
  • Tampons
  • Soaps
  • Lube

Some lubricants contain ingredients too harsh for sensitive skin, producing an allergic reaction. These responses range from itchy, red, blistered skin to a severely swollen vulva after sex. 

Or, you might be allergic to the brand of tampon you’re using. Soaps, on the other hand, contain sulfates or harsh cleansers which irritate sensitive areas. Failure to fully rinse your genitals while showering could lead your vaginal tissues to swell. 

Whether you’re having a reaction to a specific lube or type of condom, discontinue use immediately. Refrain from sexual activity until your body heals, and consult your doctor.  

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2. Rough intercourse

Swelling after sex is occasionally the immediate result of rough intercourse, whether you applied lubricants or not. If you’ve been wondering, “why does my vagina get swollen after sex?”, this another plausible explanation. 

Rough sex is fast and forceful, producing intense friction which could even tear sensitive vaginal tissues. It might create a swollen clit after sex or swollen vulva after sex.  

Swelling after sex is occasionally the immediate result of rough intercourse, whether you applied lubricants or not.

If you frequently engage in rough intercourse, you’re probably damaging the sensitive tissues of your vagina, inside and out. Try to use more lubricants and switch to different styles or positions if your vagina feels swollen after sex. 

3. Yeast infection

A third and fairly common reason behind a swollen labia after sex is a yeast infection. Also known as thrush, a yeast infection affects your vaginal opening and the internal parts of your sexual organs, sometimes spreading outwards and inflaming your labia. 

It’s essentially a yeast overgrowth triggered by low immunity or the use of certain medications that kill the bacteria which normally keep yeast in check. You’re even susceptible to developing a yeast infection while pregnant, and it could also leave your vagina raw after sex.

Ask your doctor about taking an oral or topical medication to relieve the symptoms of a yeast infection.

4. Bartholin’s cyst

Still haven’t found the right answer to why your vagina is raw after sex? Perhaps you’ve never heard of Bartholin’s gland. Located on each side of your vaginal opening, these glands can get infected or form cysts. This, in turn, creates painful swelling during sexual arousal and a swollen labia after sex. 

If you’ve taken all the necessary precautions but still notice your vagina feels swollen after sex, request that your doctor check you for this condition. 

5. STIs

Whenever you allow skin-to-skin contact between you and your partner’s sexual organs, you increase your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. This has the potential to make your vagina raw after sex, while creating a host of other complications. 

While prevalent among individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, STIs can affect anyone who is sexually active and fails to take the proper precautions.

STIs are bacterial or viral infections, which in the absence of a condom, may transfer parasites from one sexual partner to another. While prevalent among individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, STIs can affect anyone who is sexually active and fails to take the proper precautions. So if you’ve been having unprotected sex and wonder, “why is my vagina swollen after sex?”, it may be time to get tested.

6. Pregnancy

Interestingly enough, even pregnancy could make your vagina feel swollen after sex. As your baby continues to grow larger, the process puts pressure on your vaginal walls and surrounding blood vessels. 

Although there’s no need to avoid sex during pregnancy, apply lubricants and refrain from having rough intercourse to prevent a swollen labia after sex.

How to treat swelling after sex

The best approach to treating a swollen vagina after sex depends on the exact cause, but may include:

  • Switching to a different brand of lube
  • Using non-latex condoms
  • Taking medications for a yeast infection or STI 
  • Applying a cool compress to the swollen area
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Wearing loose, breathable underwear and pants
  • Seeing a doctor for evaluation and treatment

When to see a doctor

If a swollen labia after sex is producing discomfort and interfering with your daily activities, it’s probably time to talk to your doctor. 

It’s important to be honest with them about your sexual activity so they can accurately diagnose the issue and provide the right treatment. If you’re experiencing a swollen vaginal area after sex and they suspect an STI is to blame, they’ll collect a blood sample or genital swab. 

If they believe your vagina feels swollen after sex due to a product allergy, they’ll likely recommend a hypoallergenic brand of lubricants, condoms, or tampons. 

Maintaining your sexual health is incredibly important. While some degree of swelling is just a normal bodily function, long-term or painful swelling during sexual arousal must be addressed. A swollen, itchy labia usually points to a larger issue and it’s a good idea to visit your doctor and ask, “why does my vagina swell after sex?”

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000897.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK543220/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5863027/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bartholin-cyst/symptoms-causes/syc-20369976

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