Many females experience spotting or light bleeding after sex at some point in their life. About 63% of women experience vaginal dryness and bleeding or spotting after sex after they hit menopause. If you rarely observe spotting or light bleeding after or during sex, it is usually not a cause for concern. But if a female has gone through menopause, bleeding after sex should be reported to a gynecologist.
Bleeding after sex is medically termed as postcoital bleeding and it can occur in females of all ages. In younger females who have not reached menopause, the source of vaginal bleeding after sex is usually the cervix.
What are the causes of bleeding after sex?
In most cases, bleeding after sex is caused due to vaginal dryness or an injury. But there are various other medical causes too which might be the reason why you bleed after sex. Bleeding after sex can also be a sign of a health condition, including-
Vaginal dryness is generally the most common cause of bleeding or spotting after sex. Due to various reasons, the vaginal skin can become dry, which can make it extremely vulnerable to tearing and damage. Below are some common causes of vaginal dryness-
- Vaginal atrophy or Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM): Vaginal atrophy or GSM is the condition in which there is reduced lubrication, reduced thickness of the vaginal walls, and lesser vaginal elasticity. Most females experience painful sex and bleeding post-sex after menopause.
- Childbirth and breast-feeding- Due to a sudden drop in estrogen levels after childbirth and during breastfeeding, the female may experience painful sex or bleeding post-sex.
- Certain medications: Vaginal dryness can occur due to the use of steroids, sedatives, anti-estrogen medications, cold medications, or some antidepressants.
- Douching: Douching can irritate the vagina and cause vaginal dryness, which can cause bleeding.
- Intercourse before arousal: During arousal, the vaginal tissues secrete natural lubricants. These natural lubricants provide lubrication and help prevent dryness and tearing or bleeding during intercourse.
The friction during vaginal sex can cause small tears or cuts in genital tissues as they are very sensitive. A female may also have vaginal tears after childbirth. Childbirth can cause the vagina to stretch, which can make them more vulnerable to injury.
A female also experiences bleeding after her first intercourse when the hymen breaks. Bleeding after first intercourse may last 1 or 2 days and is usually very light.
Infections such as yeast infections, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), vaginitis, and sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause inflammation of the vaginal tissues, and make them more vulnerable to damage.
Polyps or fibroids
Fibroids and polyps are tiny noncancerous growths that commonly grow on the lining of the uterus and cervix respectively. Polyps and fibroids are more common in menstruating females, and can often cause pain and bleeding after sex.
Endometriosis is the condition in which the endometrial tissues that line the inner lining of the uterus grow outside of the uterus. This condition can usually cause inflammation in the pelvis and lower abdomen.
Medical conditions such as cervical ectropion, cervical dysplasia, anatomical abnormalities, and cancer can alter vaginal tissues and hormone levels, making them more vulnerable to damage. Having these medical conditions can increase your risk factor of bleeding after sex.
Consult a gynecologist for bleeding after sex
If you have some minor bleeding after sex and that too occasionally, there is not much to worry about. But sometimes, a female may notice other symptoms along with bleeding after sex.
The symptoms you experience along with spotting or bleeding after sex vary depending on the cause. You should consult an expert gynecologist if you have any of the following symptoms-
- vaginal itching
- burning sensation
- burning sensation when urinating
- painful sex
- severe abdominal cramps or pain
- lower back pain
- abnormal vaginal discharge
If you experience painful sex or bleeding after sex often, you should consult a gynecologist, who can suggest you your next steps. Treatment option for bleeding after sex usually depends upon the cause of the condition. After diagnosis, the gynecologist can suggest the best treatment option for you.