Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more

There are a bunch of not-so-glamorous side effects that come with womanhood, but one you might not expect is a shocking pain right to your lady bits. These jolts are aptly named “lightning crotch.”

No, this isn’t the name of some alt-punk band. Lightning crotch is the umbrella term for any pain that hits you where it hurts: your vagina.

Technically, any sharp pain in your vag, backdoor, or pelvis can be considered lightning crotch.

It gets this flattering name because it’ll feel like an electric jolt of pain. It only lasts a few seconds but can strike the same spot twice, and again and again.

Even though lightning crotch pain is brief, that doesn’t make it any less annoying for those dealing with it.

Several things can cause lightning crotch, but it’s most associated with the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Here’s a deeper dive into what could be causing that pesky pain.

Round ligament pain

A common source of lightning crotch is round ligament pain. This sharp pain occurs when the round ligament stretches to make room for your new tenant during pregnancy.

The round ligament connects the front of the uterus to the groin, giving it a clear shot for lightning crotch.

Usually experienced during the second trimester (when the round ligament stretches more to support the expanding uterus), lightning crotch can strike with any quick movement.

Simply getting up from the couch, laughing, sneezing, or coughing can make the round ligament contract and send a jolt of pain to your crotch.

Round ligament pain usually lasts a few seconds. It can be felt in the abdomen and hips in addition to the groin.

Although painful, this is a normal side effect of pregnancy. It shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless the pain lingers.

Baby positioning

Pregnancy-related lightning crotch can also come from your womb-mate putting pressure on your pelvic nerves or cervix as they get into position during the third trimester. This pressure can lead to that shooting, lightning pain.

This pain can also be a side effect of your kiddo punching or kicking you as they get comfortable in their temporary pad.

Magnesium deficiency

It’s very common for women to have a magnesium deficiency during pregnancy. It can cause muscle spasms as well as shooting pain to your nether regions.

Magnesium deficiency can be a serious problem during pregnancy. One study found pregnant women with low magnesium levels were more likely to have preeclampsia or preterm birth.

Endometriosis

Don’t have a bun in the oven but still have lightning crotch pain? Lightning crotch can also affect nonpregnant women who have endometriosis.

Women who have endometriosis have tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grow outside of the uterus, causing pain and complications.

Although rare, one area this tissue can grow is the round ligament, which can lead to lightning crotch pain.

UTI

Shooting pain in your pelvic area can also be a sign of the dreaded urinary tract infection (UTI).

If your lightning crotch pain is accompanied by feeling like you always need to pee, a burning sensation when you pee, or cloudy or blood-tinged urine, it’s time to call the doctor.

There are many ways you can curb those strikes to the crotch, from home remedies to medication.

Body positioning and stretching

Although it may sound too simple to be true, you can find lightning crotch relief by changing the position of your body. Doing so will change how slowly the round ligament stretches.

If you’re about to sneeze, cough, or laugh, try flexing or bending your hips to help minimize how much the ligaments are pulled.

Stretching and abdominal exercises may also be helpful, as they can take the pressure off of the round ligament.

If you’re pregnant, consult with your healthcare provider or a qualified fitness instructor to find out which abdominal exercises are safe during pregnancy.

Other women have also found solace in sleeping with a pillow under their stomach and between their legs, or sitting with a towel balled up between their legs.

Warm bath

Taking a nice, warm bath (ahhhh, so nice) can help soothe ligament pain and body aches brought on by lightning crotch.

Just make sure you don’t turn the heat up too much if you’re expecting, as getting your body temp too high can be bad for bebe.

Massage

OK, so basically we’re just giving you an excuse to get a massage, but what better way to de-stress and release those tense muscles and aches?

Technically, there’s no proof that massage can prevent lightning crotch. But when paired with light stretching, it could help provide some relief.

Belly support band

If you’re prego, a fancy belly support band can help relieve pressure from your pelvis by lifting and supporting your growing belly. This, in turn, can help take the pressure off nerves or ligaments that cause those sharp shocks to the groin.

Supportive clothing (hello, yoga pants!) can also help move up your bump and relieve your pain.

Over-the-counter medication

Taking OTC medication like Tylenol might help relieve the pain from lightning crotch. Just make sure to run it by your healthcare provider first if you’re expecting.

Magnesium

If the source of your lightning crotch pain is a magnesium deficiency, you can take a doctor-approved magnesium supplement and up your leafy green veggies, whole grains, avocados, and nuts.

Experts recommend pregnant women up their magnesium intake: If you’re 19 to 30 years old, get 350 milligrams of magnesium per day, and if you’re 31 to 50, get 360 milligrams.

If your lightning crotch pain is accompanied with the following symptoms, it’s time to call your doctor or midwife, as it could be a sign of a serious problem.

Red flags include:

  • cramping and sharp pain with bleeding
  • vomiting, fever, or chills
  • heavy vaginal bleeding or unusual discharge
  • pain so intense it’s hard to talk, walk, or even breathe
  • continuous shooting pain that exceeds a few minutes

tl;dr

  • Lightning crotch covers any pain that strikes your pelvic area.
  • Lightning crotch feels like a quick, shocking pain to your nether regions.
  • You usually feel lightning crotch when making quick motions, like getting up quickly, laughing, or sneezing.
  • The most common reason for lightning crotch is pregnancy as baby puts pressure on your nerves and ligaments.
  • Nonpregnancy-related lightning crotch symptoms could mean endometriosis or a UTI.
  • Changing your body position, a warm bath, or a belly band could help alleviate pregnancy-related lightning crotch.
  • It’s a red flag if you have flu symptoms, long lasting pain, or bleeding with lightning crotch. Time to call doc.