Understanding Sperm Cramps: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
September 25, 2023
What are Sperm Cramps: Are you wondering what sperm cramps are and how to diagnose them? Though experienced by a large group of people, the condition remains understudied in medicine. Sperm cramps are known as epididymal hypertension in a more technical setting. It is the pain that occurs in some people following an orgasm. It is estimated to be experienced by at least 25% of the population.
Such a phenomenon has the potential to affect one’s life, physically as well as mentally. It may lead to physiological mechanisms that must be properly diagnosed and treated. In the article, we will understand the reasons behind sperm cramps and how they can be medically treated.
Sperm cramps, often experienced in the pelvic region, are described as discomfort in the testicles of a person. However, the term “sperm cramps” can be misleading. It is not the ejaculation of sperm itself that causes this pain. It occurs in the testicles. This discomfort is described as a feeling of ache or cramping in the testicles and the surrounding pelvic region.
Some people also experience a similar pain, known as testicular torsion. It is essential to understand the difference between them during diagnosis. Most people feel pleasure during orgasm. However, in some cases, they may experience a sharp pain in their groin and surrounding region. Let’s explore what are the reasons that cause this pain.
To understand what sperm cramps are, one must understand the physiology that lies behind these cramps. The pain caused by these cramps can range from a mild sensation that lasts a few minutes to severe pain that can be felt for days.
Medical literature and research have not found the exact cause behind these pains. However, it can be because of the following reasons:
Prostate Issues: There can be various issues with the prostate glands that may lead to sperm cramps. These include prostatitis or inflammation in the prostate gland. An enlarged prostate can also cause pain during or after orgasm. According to a study, it was found that post-radical prostatectomy causes discomfort during ejaculation in 33% of patients.
Infections: If a person’s reproductive organs are infected, such as urinary tract infections, epididymis, etc., it may result in sharp sperm cramps.
Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome: POIS or Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome is a rare condition that causes muscle pain and fatigue in some people after ejaculation.
Testicular Issues: There can be an underlying issue with the testicles of the person, which may result in sperm cramps. These include testicular torsion, that is, twisting of the testes or enlargement of veins of the scrotum.
Muscle Tensions: Another reason behind sperm cramps can be muscle tension in the pelvic region. During sexual activity, pelvic floor muscles can contract, causing discomfort during orgasm.
Other than these physical causes, some psychological reasons may also result in sperm cramps. These include factors such as anxiety, stress, depression, etc. Also, long or continuous sexual activity hormonal imbalance can be an underlying cause of sperm cramps.
Recognizing the Symptoms
One can recognise the symptoms of sperm cramps by analysing the pain triggers. These triggers include physical activities, dietary factors, etc. Maintaining a record can help one suffering from sperm cramps to find the exact cause. They can record their daily meals, along with timestamps, physical activity, lifestyle elements, stress, etc.
The primary symptom of sperm cramps is a sharp pang or dull pain that may occur in one or both testicles. The severity and time of the pain may vary from case to case. Sometimes, the pain may also be felt in the lower abdomen region or the groin. In case of severe and prolonged pain, the discomfort can also occur in the back of the legs, causing mobility issues.
Another symptom that is caused because of cramps includes swelling. The scrotum region can become swollen and tender. It can also cause inflammation or difficulty in urinating. Some individuals can notice decreased sexual desire and performance because of the prolonged pain and discomfort.
Along with physical and psychological factors may also result in sperm cramps. These are as follows:
Stress: Stress and anxiety, if experienced at high intensity, can physically affect the body. Various medical studies have proven that stress causes muscle tension. This may manifest in the genital region, causing cramps in the testicles.
Hypochondria: People with health anxiety who are very concerned for their health may have a heightened sense of their body. They acutely feel discomfort and may exaggerate the pain in their testicles.
Trauma: A psychological trauma may manifest as sperm cramps. This trauma can be related to sexual abuse or physical or mental reasons that hinder them from experiencing sexual pleasure.
Sexual Performance Anxiety: Another psychological cause behind sperm cramps can be anxiety about performing well sexually. The fear of being unable to perform well or not being able to please your partner can create tension in the body, cause the muscles to contract and create painful sensations.
Some related physical factors may also cause pain and discomfort in the region that results in sperm cramps. These are as follows:
Pelvic Pain: Pain on the pelvic floor of a person because of factors such as urinary tract infection, prostatitis, etc., can result in cramps after ejaculation.
Sperm Buildup: In some cases, sperm may build up after a prolonged period of no sexual activity or ejaculation. This causes sperm to build up in the seminal vesicles. The excessive amount may cause discomfort during or after ejaculation.
Abdominal Pain: Sometimes, intense pain in the abdominal region may translate to pain in the groin area. Also, conditions such as hernia and kidney stones can lead to sperm cramps.
Inflammatory Diseases: Inflammation diseases in the groin region can also cause pain after orgasm. These diseases include orchitis, prostatitis, etc. Along with this, inflammation in the ejaculatory ducts can also cause discomfort.
Structural Abnormalities: In some cases, people may suffer from structural abnormalities in their reproductive system. It can be an abnormal growth, a cyst, etc. These can also result in sperm cramps.
As there has been very little research on the subject, a doctor may trace the patient’s medical history to find the cause of sperm cramps. Various diagnostics tests may be suggested based on the severity and longevity of the pain. These tests include MRI, Ultrasound, CT Scan, etc. Following is the usual procedure to diagnose the presence and cause of sperm cramps.
Medical History: The doctor will first understand the frequency, severity, and intensity of the pain experienced. Along with that, they may trace the factors that aggravate the pain. They will also want to know any recent illnesses, sexual history, and infections.
Physical Examination: After understanding the medical history, the next common step is to examine which region is inflamed, swollen, red, tender, etc. The doctor will conduct an assessment to find any signs of abnormalities in the testicles, prostate, and pelvic region.
Tests: The doctor will perform some basic diagnostic tests after a physical examination. These will help them further analyse the underlying cause of sperm cramps. These tests include the following:
Urine Analysis: Urine analysis shows whether there is any inflammation or infections.
Blood Tests: This will help the doctor understand if there is a hormonal imbalance, inflammation, or other conditions causing discomfort.
Semen Analysis: The doctor may assess the sperm’s health, count, motility, and other factors to determine the cause.
Imaging Tests: Some cases may require CT scans, MRI, and other imaging tests to rule out any abnormalities or structure deformations in the genital area.
The best treatment for sperm cramps is identifying and treating the underlying causes. The following measures can be taken to treat the situation and present it in the future:
During sexual intercourse, it is better to use lubrication and avoid rough and deep penetration. This will help ease the discomfort.
The patient needs to avoid stress. Thus, they may be asked to make changes in their daily activities that help them reduce stress and anxiety.
Wearing supportive underwear and avoiding physical activities that aggravating the pain can help reduce the effects of sperm cramps.
Dehydration can result in muscle cramps. Thus, drinking ample water is also advisable.
To avoid infections in the genital region, it is essential to keep it clean and follow proper hygiene.
Avoid prolonged sexual activity or excessive and successive ejaculation. Also, avoid prolonged absence of sexual activity. Both situations can lead to discomfort and pain.
Heating pads and warm baths can help ease the pain by relieving muscle tension.
Patients can get temporary relief by taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. These will reduce the inflammation and help relieve the pain for a little time.
Antibiotics can be advised for people with prostatitis and epididymitis infections. Antibiotics will treat the infections and help solve the cause behind sperm cramps.
Sperm cramps can be caused because of a variety of reasons. It is essential to find the cause behind it. Most sperm cramps can be treated quickly and do not have any prolonged effects. However, if you feel your sperm cramps are recurring or chronic, you will need medical assistance.
Also, consult your doctor immediately if you notice any swelling or redness in your groin area. Sperm cramps can be a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease (STI). If not checked properly, it can worsen the health of the person. If you are experiencing such pains for a prolonged time, you should contact an expert immediately. You can get an efficient and prompt response from the experienced professionals at Nandi IVF Centre.
Q: What are sperm cramps in men? Ans: Sperm cramps, or epididymal hypertension, are discomfort or pain that some men experience in the testicles and pelvic region following an orgasm. It is not the ejaculation of sperm itself that causes this pain, but it occurs during or after ejaculation.
Q: Are sperm cramps an actual occurrence? Ans: Yes, sperm cramps are a real phenomenon experienced by some individuals, although they remain understudied in medicine.
Q: How painful are sperm cramps? Ans: The pain caused by sperm cramps can vary in intensity. It can range from a mild sensation lasting a few minutes to severe pain persisting for days. The severity may vary from case to case.
Q: How long does a sperm cramp typically last? Ans: The duration of a sperm cramp can vary from person to person. It may last for a few minutes to days, depending on the underlying cause and its severity.
Q: When do sperm cramps begin? Ans: Sperm cramps typically begin during or soon after ejaculation. Most people experience a feeling of pleasure during ejaculation, but some may experience a pang of pain that causes discomfort in the testicles and pelvic region.
Sr. IVF Specialist & Medical Director at NANDI IVF
Dr. Payal Bajaj is an experienced Obstetrician & Gynecologist with over 20 years of experience in the discipline. She is a Reproductive Endocrinologist & Infertility Specialist. She has Done MBBS From the Renowned Lady Hardinge Medical College. DGO from the prestigious VMMC & Safdarjang Hospital, DMAS From World Laparoscopy Hospital.
She has Completed Her esteemed ASPIRE -ISAR Fellowship in the field of Reproductive Medicine from AFGC, Delhi And St' Mother's Hospital Japan.She has also been trained from the University of KEIL Germany. She has won various academic awards all through her academic career.