Dizziness after sex does not usually indicate a serious underlying health problem. In most cases, the dizziness is due to overexertion, thirst, or hunger.
However, severe or frequent dizziness can be a cause for concern, especially if other symptoms are present.
In this article, we outline 10 possible causes of dizziness after sex. We also provide tips on treating and preventing dizziness after sex and explain when to see a doctor.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), dehydration can sometimes cause a person’s blood pressure to drop. Dehydration, even when mild, can also cause other symptoms, such as:
A person may become dehydrated if they do not drink enough fluids before or during sex.
Hunger causes a drop in blood glucose levels, which can lead to the following symptoms:
Dizziness after sex can occur if sex has temporarily distracted a person from their hunger.
Sexual arousal can cause people to breathe more deeply and rapidly than usual. These changes can lead to a decrease in the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. The medical term for this process is hyperventilation.
Some potential symptoms of hyperventilation include:
- rapid heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
Breathing slowly and deeply usually eases symptoms of hyperventilation. However, people experiencing anxiety or panic attacks may be unable to breathe deeply. A person should talk to their doctor about other strategies for managing these conditions.
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) causes a person’s heart rate to increase suddenly when they change positions or stand up too quickly. An increased heart rate may make the person feel dizzy and could even cause them to faint.
Other possible symptoms of POTS include:
- heart palpitations
- chest pain
Some people notice symptoms when they change positions during sex.
POTS is not usually dangerous. However, a person experiencing the above symptoms should see a doctor to ensure that they do not have an underlying issue with their heart.
Sex produces a powerful combination of hormones and neurotransmitters. For some people, these chemicals cause temporary feelings of intense euphoria that may lead to dizziness. Others may experience dizziness as the body returns to its normal state and releases fewer sex-related chemicals.
Dopamine is a neurochemical that can help people feel motivated and happy during sex. Medications that mimic dopamine in the brain can cause dizziness as a side effect. It is possible that people who experience a natural dopamine rush during sex may also experience dizziness.
Vertigo is a type of dizziness that causes a person to feel as though they are spinning. Other possible symptoms of vertigo include:
- loss of balance
Some people report experiencing vertigo after sex. Vertigo may be due to problems with the inner ear, which helps regulate a person’s movement and sense of balance.
People who develop vertigo after sex typically experience vertigo at other times as well. For example, they may have symptoms when exercising or standing up too quickly.
Sex can increase blood pressure. This effect is especially likely if a person has sex for a long period or engages in intense sex that leaves them breathless.
High blood pressure can cause dizziness. A person may notice that the dizziness worsens as sex intensifies and gradually eases as their heart rate returns to normal.
Anyone who is concerned that they may have high blood pressure should visit their doctor for a blood pressure reading.
Low blood pressure may also cause dizziness after sex.
Sex can cause an intense rush of emotions that stimulate the vagus nerve that transmits information between the brain and the rest of the body. Overstimulation of this nerve temporarily dilates the blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure. Doctors call this vasovagal syncope (VS).
Some possible symptoms of VS include:
- feeling hot
- seeing dark spots in the eyes
If a person with VS faints, their blood pressure usually returns to normal relatively quickly. If they do not faint, full recovery may take a few minutes.
A stroke happens when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain, which can occur as a result of a blocked or leaking blood vessel.
A stroke during sex is a rare occurrence, but it can happen. Certain groups of people are at higher risk, including:
- older adults
- people who have a history of heart health problems
- people who have previously had a stroke
Sudden, intense dizziness that does not get better can be a warning sign of a stroke. Other possible symptoms of stroke include:
- drooping on one side of the face
- a sudden uneven smile
- numbness or tingling, especially if it is just on one side of the body
- inability to raise both arms to the same height
- slurred speech
- loss of consciousness
A person who thinks that they or someone else may be experiencing a stroke should phone 911 immediately. Prompt medical treatment reduces the risk of serious complications and death.
Dizziness after sex is not usually serious. However, it can sometimes be a sign of a heart health issue. Such issues are more common among people with one or more of the following risk factors for heart disease:
Below are some additional symptoms that may indicate a heart health issue:
- chest pain
- heart palpitations
- difficulty breathing
- dizziness that lasts longer than a few minutes
- dizziness after exercise
- frequent dizziness
A person who feels dizzy after sex can narrow down the potential causes by asking themselves the following questions:
- Have they eaten enough food?
- Have they drunk enough water?
- Do they feel anxious or panicked?
- Do they have a history of high blood pressure or heart health problems?
- Does the dizziness go away quickly, or does it linger?
- Does the dizziness happen every time they have sex, or is it only an occasional occurrence?
Anyone who experiences a stroke or other serious heart condition should phone 911 for emergency treatment. Prompt treatment of either condition reduces the risk of serious complications and death.
People with chronic blood pressure issues may need to take medications and make certain lifestyle changes to manage their blood pressure.
For those who do not have an underlying health condition, the following strategies may help treat or prevent sex-related dizziness:
- taking breaks during long sex sessions to drink water or eat a snack
- avoiding standing too quickly during or after sex
- tensing the legs and other muscles to elevate blood pressure and prevent fainting when feeling dizzy
- crossing the legs to promote higher blood pressure
- experimenting with different sexual positions to find those that are less likely to cause dizziness
Dizziness after sex often goes away on its own without the need for medical treatment.
If dizziness happens frequently or occurs alongside other symptoms, a person should call their doctor to schedule an appointment.
It is important to seek emergency medical treatment for dizziness that accompanies any of the following symptoms:
- numbness or weakness on one side of the face or body
- chest pain or pressure
- pain in one arm
Dizziness after sex has many potential causes. Some are relatively benign, while others could indicate an underlying issue with the heart or circulatory system.
In most cases, dizziness after sex goes away on its own. People may be able to treat a bout of dizziness by tensing or crossing the legs or drinking a glass of water.
However, a person should see a doctor if they experience frequent dizziness, especially if it occurs along with other symptoms. The doctor should be able to diagnose the cause and provide appropriate treatments.