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Bleeding After Sex Symptoms

The many variables surrounding sex make it so that it rarely means the same thing twice, but one thing is certain: bleeding after sex is something to take notice of. The underlying principle of sex is conception and bleeding is not an intended consequence. The female anatomy is designed to take steps towards preventing damage during sex that causes bleeding. If you see bleeding after sex, it is important to consider all symptoms and any possible causes. [2]

Bleeding after sex can present itself with the following symptoms:

The vagina is a complex structure extending from the vulva to the cervix. During sexual arousal, moisture is increased to facilitate smoother penetration during sexual activity. Vaginal bleeding after intercourse can be normal after you have sex for the first time or if it has been a long time since your last sexual experience. Sometimes bleeding will stop and heal on its own, but it may also be a sign of more serious conditions. [5,6]

Bleeding After Sex Causes Overview

Bleeding after sex may be caused by direct trauma or from several illnesses. It is not uncommon for vaginal penetration during sex to irritate the vagina or cervix and cause bleeding. While the bleeding may appear to be directly associated with sex, there is also the possibility of other root causes. Common causes of bleeding after sex include: [1]

Environmental causes

  • Trauma: The vagina is designed to increase moisture during sexual arousal to help reduce friction during intercourse. Without enough moisture, or if the penetration is too vigorous, friction could cause irritation to the cervix or vaginal tissue. The insertion of items into the vagina during sex may also cause bleeding. [1,2]
  • Menstruation: Bleeding is typically a normal part of the menstrual cycle. Bleeding after sex may be associated with menstruation if sex occurred immediately before, during, or after a period. [2]

Medical causes

  • Infection: Infections, in the form of sexually transmitted diseases, can be passed between partners during sex. These infections can cause bleeding from the cervix to the fallopian tubes. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis are sometimes associated with bleeding after sex and are examples of such diseases. [1,2]
  • Tumors: Cancerous growths can damage the inner components of the vagina. Bleeding after sex can be an early warning sign of cervical cancer. [1]

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Bleeding After Sex

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced bleeding after sex. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Post - Sex Bleeding

    Many women suffer from light bleeding after sex.

    Will resolve on its own within a day.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    bleeding after sex, vaginal discharge, urinary changes
    Symptoms that always occur with post-sex bleeding:
    bleeding after sex
    Symptoms that never occur with post-sex bleeding:
    urinary changes, vaginal discharge, vaginal pain
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  2. 2.Cervical Polyp

    Cervical polyps are noncancerous growths in the cervical canal. Associated symptoms include spotting and bleeding during or after sexual intercourse.

    If symptoms are bothersome, the polyp can be surgically removed.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, bleeding after sex, heavy menstrual flow, mucousy vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Endometrial Polyp

    Endometrial polyps are noncancerous growths in the uterine cavity. Associated symptoms include spotting and bleeding during or after sexual intercourse.

    If symptoms are bothersome, the polyp can be surgically removed.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, bleeding after sex, heavy menstrual flow, trouble getting pregnant
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Uterine Fibroids

    Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors in the uterus. They are common in women of childbearing age.

    Treatment ranges from medication to surgical removal of the fibroid.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), painful periods, irregular period
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Atrophic Vaginitis

    Atrophic vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina and surrounding structures. It is caused by decreased levels of estrogen which causes the endometrial and vaginal lining to thin and vaginal pH to increase, causing symptoms like dryness, burning, and itching.

    Treatment will effectively manage symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal itch or burning, signs of urinary tract inflammation
    Symptoms that always occur with atrophic vaginitis:
    delay in or irregular periods
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Bleeding After Sex Checker

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  6. 6.Symptoms of Menopause

    Menopause is the point in life where your period stops. This happens when the ovaries stop making hormones that keep your cycle going. The transition into menopause is called peri-menopause and can include symptoms like hot flashes, shortening of menstrual cycle and mood fluctuations.

    Hot flashes typically peak approximately 1 year after the final period and last 4-10 years. Most women stop having hot flashes 4 years after they start, but 10% of women may have hot flashes up to 12 years after their last period.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal discharge, anxiety, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with symptoms of menopause:
    delay in or irregular periods
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

    Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormone disorder characterized by irregular periods, acne, and fertility issues.

    Symptoms are well controlled with medicines including combined hormonal birth control.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, depressed mood, painful periods
    Symptoms that always occur with polycystic ovary syndrome:
    oligo/amenorrhea or hyperandrogenism
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Chlamydia Infection

    Chlamydia is a common bacterial infection that is spread through unprotected sex. Each year, over 1 million Americans are diagnosed with this STD.

    The infection should clear in 1-7 days after treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, sudden urgency to urinate, bleeding after sex, frequent urination
    Symptoms that never occur with chlamydia infection:
    improving vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Gonococcal Cervicitis

    Gonorrhea is a common STD and 350,000 cases occur each year in the United States. It is transmitted through unprotected sex.

    1 week with treatment

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, painful sex, yellow pus vaginal discharge, heavy menstrual flow
    Symptoms that never occur with gonococcal cervicitis:
    improving vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female genital structures like the uterus, fallopian tube, ovary, and the surrounding abdominal wall. It is typically caused by N. Gonorrhoeae or C. Trachomatis.

    Prognosis after treatment within 3 days of symptom onset is great (88%-100%). Those that are hospitalized, older, or have had gynecological surgery have a worse time with this infection.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge, vaginal discharge, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain
    Symptoms that always occur with pelvic inflammatory disease:
    fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    In-person visit

Bleeding After Sex Treatments and Relief

Bleeding after sex should be taken seriously, especially if atypical. There are times when the bleeding is minor and may subside without additional care; however, even small amounts of blood signal that it is time to consult your doctor. [2]

In particular, contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

At-home treatments

  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Reducing the amount of friction during sex can help limit bleeding. A variety of medications are available to treat vaginal dryness and increase moisture. [7]

Professional treatments

  • Prescribed Medications: Infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, are often fought treated by antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. [2]
  • Out-Patient Procedures: Cauterization is sometimes used to stop bleeding associated with cervical or vaginal issues. This is an outpatient procedure used by a doctor to treat inflammatory issues and lesions. [8]
  • Medical Tests: Advanced testing of cells found in the vagina or cervix may be required if cervical cancer could be the cause of bleeding. If cervical cancer is diagnosed, a gynecologic oncologist will perform an evaluation and determine if chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery is required. Pre-cancerous cells are typically removed during an outpatient procedure. [8]

The most important thing to remember is that bleeding after sex should not be accepted as normal and typical. Practicing safe sex and using lubrication during sex can be a helpful preventative measure, however, bleeding after sex may occur despite all best practices. Bleeding can be a sign of medical conditions that require attention from a doctor. Treatment is often readily available, and the cause of the bleeding can be rectified. [2,6]

FAQs About Bleeding After Sex

Here are some frequently asked questions about bleeding after sex.

How long can you bleed after intercourse?

The duration of bleeding after intercourse varies. Light bleeding may occur for several hours or for as long as a day, particularly if it is your first time having sex. You should contact your doctor if you experience any bleeding after sex. Bleeding for long durations of time should be examined more urgently. [2]

Can bleeding after intecourse be a sign of early pregnancy?

It is not unusual for some minor bleeding after intercourse to occur during early pregnancy. Spotting, in general, is common during the first trimester and sex can often be a trigger. Always tell your doctor about spotting or bleeding after sex if you are or believe to be pregnant. Bleeding during pregnancy may not always be a problem, but it should be checked by a medical professional. [2]

Do STDs cause bleeding after sex?

Vaginal bleeding is a symptom of several STDs. Having sex while having an STD can sometimes trigger the bleeding. People with HPV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea have been known to exhibit vaginal bleeding as a symptom. If you are sexually active and have, or believe you have, an STD then it is important to consult your doctor if you experience bleeding after sex. [9]

Is my vaginal dryness leading to bleeding after sex?

During times of sexual arousal, the vagina increases moisture. If the vagina does not produce additional moisture or is dry, penetration during sex can cause excessive friction. This may damage the cervix or vaginal tissue and lead to bleeding during or after sex. [1]

Is bleeding after sex an IUD side effect?

Typically, an IUD in it of itself is not a cause for bleeding after sex. The insertion of an IUD may cause spotting that may present itself after sex for 3–6 months after placement, however. Infections are also a common side effect of IUD insertion. If not properly treated, an infection may lead to bleeding. [2,10]

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Bleeding After Sex

  • Q.Do you use birth control beside condoms?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you have sexual intercourse?
  • Q.When was your last menstrual period?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you urinate?

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Bleeding After Sex Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced bleeding after sex have also experienced:

    • 18% Bloody Vaginal Discharge
    • 17% Vaginal Bleeding
    • 7% Vaginal Discharge
  • People who have experienced bleeding after sex were most often matched with:

    • 50% Cervical Polyp
    • 50% Endometrial Polyp
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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References

  1. What causes a woman to bleed after sex? NHS. Published March 27, 2018. NHS Link.
  2. Vaginal or uterine bleeding - overview. Mclaren Health Care. McLaren Link.
  3. Gynaecology & Women's Health. Reproductive Health Group. RHG Link.
  4. Symptoms Chlamydia. NHS. Published April 6, 2018. NHS.
  5. Does a woman always bleed when she has sex for the first time? NHS. Published Aug, 20, 2018. NHS.
  6. Why does sex hurt? NHS. Published May 11, 2018. NHS Link.
  7. Vaginal dryness. NHS. Published May 05, 2016. NHS Link.
  8. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. Surgery for Cervical Cancer. American Cancer Society. Published December 5, 2016. ACS Link.
  9. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). NHS. Published Sept, 04, 2018. NHS Link.
  10. Dahlberg, BrunoKullander, StigForsgren, Arne et al. Bacterial infection in relation to pain and irregular bleeding in women using IUD. Contraception , Volume 20 , Issue 1 , 71 - 75. Published Jul, 1979. PubMed.