Vaginal Bleeding After Sex: Causes and Precautions

Vaginal bleeding after sex, medically referred to as post-coital bleeding is not a normal occurrence. Bleeding usually takes place when the woman has sex for the first time because the hymen gets stretched and broken, causing fresh bright red blood to ooze out of the wound. However, dark blood, even during the first intercourse could mean that it is coming out of cervix or uterus and needs medical attention. If the bleeding is due to harmless cervical changes then it may not need treatment, but if it is a clue to some underlying serious health issues, then the woman should consult her gynecologist as soon as possible.

What Can Be the Causes?

Vaginal bleeding at any time other than when the woman is menstruating should not be taken lightly as it could well mean that she is having some serious problem. Bleeding after sex could well mean that the man could have hit a tender spot on the vaginal wall, or it could be due to dryness which may have led to friction and tear. Most of the times, it ends up as a sign of some serious health issue like:

  • bleeding-after-sexPID or pelvic inflammatory disease which is an infection of vagina
  • Sexually transmitted diseases like Gonorrhea and Chlamydia which are vaginal bacterial infections
  • Vaginal yeast infection which causes itching, burning and odorless discharge due to overgrowth of fungi in vagina
  • Infectious inflammation and swelling in vagina known as vaginitis
  • Endometrial, uterine, or cervical polyps that extend into the vagina
  • Trichomoniasis, a protozoan sexually transmitted infection
  • Cervical cancer or Cervical dysplasia which is pre-cancerous changes occurring in the cervix
  • Severe inflammation of cervix known as Cervicitis
  • Endometriosis, a reproductive problem that could make sex painful and lead to bleeding later
  • Benign or malignant uterine fibroid tumors

Oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy are also known to cause bleeding in rare circumstances.

Precautions to Be Taken

Cervical screening tests are recommended for all women who bear the risk of developing cervical cancer. The tests are more important if there is bleeding present after sex, since it could be a symptom of cervical cancer. In any case, it is best to consult a General Physician or a Gynecologist for proper medical tests to rule out cancer, inflammations, infections or sexually transmitted diseases.

A gynecologist may examine the woman either physically by inserting fingers into vagina which is an easy way to feel any abnormality or by examining the cervix with a speculum. Pregnancy test is conducted to rule out spotting during early pregnancy. In case of any abnormalities, a specialist related to the ailment should be consulted immediately.

If the bleeding is due to rough treatment and injury to vagina, uterine lining (endometrium) or cervix during intercourse, especially in women who are on oral contraceptives, it is recommended to avoid sex, orgasms and penetrations in order to allow the injury to heal.

Women who are nearing menopause and having dryness in their vagina should opt for lubrication to avoid friction, bleeding and painful sex.