Definition of vaginal bleeding after sex
Vaginal bleeding after sex means bleeding during sex or just after having sexual intercourse, when you’re not menstruating or don’t expect to be menstruating. Vaginal bleeding after sex most commonly develops in women between the ages of 20 and 40.
Your cervix — the narrow, lower end of your uterus — is usually the source of vaginal bleeding brought on by sex, especially before menopause. Even if you have a healthy cervix, enough friction during sexual intercourse can cause bleeding. Inflammation of the cervix or some other abnormality can also result in bleeding.
In most cases, vaginal bleeding after sex is the result of harmless cervical changes, many of which don’t require treatment.
Causes of vaginal bleeding after sex
If you’re premenopausal and you experience vaginal bleeding after sex now and then, but not often, it probably isn’t something to get too worried about. Vaginal bleeding after sex could indicate cervical cancer, but if you’ve had normal results on routine Pap tests, it’s more likely that the cause is another condition.
If you’re postmenopausal, however, vaginal bleeding of any sort is considered abnormal until it’s been evaluated and a cause determined.
Vaginal bleeding after sex may result from:
- Placenta previa
- Cervical dysplasia: Is it cancer?
- Friction during sexual intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding
- Inadequate lubrication or foreplay
- Injury to the uterine lining (endometrium) during intercourse, especially in women taking oral contraceptives
- Normal uterine bleeding, if you’re just beginning your period or if it has just ended
- Vaginal atrophy
- Vaginal dryness
When to see a doctor
If you’re premenopausal and you have infrequent episodes of vaginal bleeding after sex — and you’ve had normal results on routine Pap tests — you don’t need to see your doctor to be evaluated. If the vaginal bleeding bothers or worries you, you could make an appointment with your doctor to get it checked out.
If you’re postmenopausal, vaginal bleeding at any time must be evaluated. Having atrophic vaginitis or other symptoms of vaginal dryness may be the reason that you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding after sex. Your best bet is to consult with your doctor to be sure that the cause of vaginal bleeding isn’t something serious.