Vasocongestion is a medical term used to describe a swelling in body tissue due to increased blood flow to the area. Most commonly associated with the reproductive system, this swelling can occur in both men and women and may be due to a variety of factors. In most cases, the condition is harmless and temporary, and it will quickly subside as blood flow returns to normal. The condition can be painful and uncomfortable while it lasts, however, resulting in cramps and other symptoms.
Most often, the problem occurs as a result of stimulation to an area of the body. Blood rushes in, causing a reddening or blushing appearance. Blushing in the cheeks is a result of vasocongestion in the facial area, for example. The condition can also occur due to certain medications, allergic reactions, or blood-related health conditions that alter blood flow patterns.
Vasocongestion is part of the process of sexual reproduction, as increased blood flow to the genital area is what allows for erection and intercourse. The condition also affects females, swelling the tissue in the vagina and creating vaginal lubrication that allows for easier intercourse. Erectile dysfunction often results from shrinking blood vessels in the genital area that do not allow enough blood to create the needed swelling, preventing erection and intercourse. Female arousal problems may also be partly caused by a lack of vasocongestion.
The causes of this condition are varied, as it can be caused by not only physical but emotional factors as well. For instance, an embarrassing thought can cause the chemical reaction that results in blushing. Physical contact can cause swelling associated with sexual arousal, but so can dreams, fantasies, or even the natural circulation of blood through the body.
When experiencing reproductive related vasocongestion, the condition often subsides once ejaculation or orgasm is achieved, allowing blood flow to return to normal and swelling to reduce. The condition can become extremely painful and uncomfortable for both men and women if orgasm is not achieved by some means. Typically, pain and swelling will subside as arousal fades, though prolonged discomfort is not uncommon.
It is also sometimes responsible for premenstrual or menstrual cramps in women. The shedding of the uterus causes additional blood to flow to the area, resulting in swollen tissue throughout the pelvic area. Sexual activity may be painful during cramping, though some experts actually recommend it as a means of relieving cramps, in some cases.