Bleeding During or After Sex: Is it Normal

3 min read

bleeding during sex
Ananya Bhattacharjee
Writer. Musician. Mother. Reading, music and travelling are all time favourites. Been into ‘writing’ from the last 10 years and have become an everlasting love since I started.

You are hitting between the sheets with your partner and suddenly you realize you are bleeding during the sex! Don’t panic, this may be entirely normal. Every bleed is not a cause of panic and worry. But if you bleed each time you have sex, it is definitely a time for a check-up.

As per a study, around 9% of menstruating women may experience vaginal bleeding after sex in their lifetime. In contrast to that, around 46-63% of women in the post menopause stage will experience dryness, itching, spotting, and bleeding during or after sex because of the hormonal changes in their bodies. 

Risk Factors:

Post-coital bleeding has many risk factors and may lead to severe issues if not attended or treated in time. Some of these include: 

  • Dryness of the vagina 
  • Dehydration
  • Forceful intercourse
  • Immunosuppressant medications
  • Conditions related to body immunity 
  • A family history of vaginal dryness 
  • A family history of cervical or uterine cancer 
  • Menopausal or post-menopausal state 
  • Having intercourse without the use of condoms
  • Reluctant intercourse
  • Inexperienced sex
  • History of cervical or uterine cancer
  • Vaginal infections
  • Diabetes condition
  • Extreme blood pressure

What can cause bleeding?

We bring to you certain reasons which may cause bleeding, find them out:

  • Period: Sometimes you might not realize, but the cause of bleeding can be you being on your periods! It could be the beginning of your periods, which you may realize later when there is more bleeding. This is perfectly normal and not a cause of worry!  
  • First Sex: Many people believe that women bleed in their first sex as the ‘hymen’ breaks. This is, however, a misconception, as the hymen wears off with time. But for those whose hymen hasn’t completely worn off, it might bleed a bit.
  • Less Lubrication: Though the vagina is a self-lubricating canal, sometimes it might not be lubricating enough and sex may be painful and cause thin membranes in the vagina to tear off. This will make you bleed a little. To protect the membranes, you can use personal lubrication from a medical store.
  • Vaginitis or Cervicitis: Vaginitis is when the vagina is infected or inflamed and cervicitis is when the cervix is infected or inflamed.  When any of these two occurs there is vaginal bleeding, itching, pain and changes in the vaginal discharge when you have sex
  • STI: STI is a sexually transmitted infection. Certain STIs cause vaginal bleeding to occur during or after sex. STI’s like herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis cause vaginal bleeding.
  • Low Estrogen Levels: A decline in estrogen levels causes bleeding during sex. It is because the estrogen levels help in keeping the walls of the vagina thicker as well as lubricates it. When the estrogen levels drop, vaginal dryness occurs and the vaginal walls become thin which causes bleeding during sex.
  • Endometriosis: This is a condition that causes the uterus lining to grow outside the uterus. This is a serious condition as the cells along with the uterus act like endometrial cells and shed during periods but as they are located outside and bleed there, it causes pain. When the cells come out of the uterus and attach to the cervix or the vagina, they bleed during sex.
  • Benign Growth: Any benign growth or polyps that may grow along the cervix or uterus causes bleeding during sex. These growths are fragile parts who bleed when they get friction. Though benign polyps go away by themselves, sometimes some require surgical treatment.
  • Cervical Dysplasia: This is a condition of precancerous occurrences in the cells inside the cervix. Postcoital bleeding is a common sign of this condition if the person is diagnosed with HPV strains. These cell changes can be treated with surgical procedures.
  • Cancer: Uterine or cervical cancer causes bleeding after sex. If a person continuously observes bleeding after sex, then this may be a sign of occurrence of uterine or cervical cancer

When to consult a doctor?

If you have a minor spotting or bleeding, you need not worry as it will wear off. If you have any of the following symptoms, you need to consult a doctor immediately. 

  • Vaginal itching or vaginal burning
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Painful sex
  • Heavy bleeding 
  • Lower back pain
  • nausea or vomiting
  • High vaginal discharge 

Treatment and Prevention: 

There are many different treatment options for vaginal bleeding. The cause of the bleeding will determine the kind of treatment. Some of the treatments include: 

1. Lubricants: 

If the bleeding is caused by vaginal dryness, then you should use vaginal moisturizers and lubricants. These lubricants are absorbed by the vaginal walls and provide enough lubrication and restore the natural acidity thus providing comfort to the person. the lubricants also reduce discomfort n friction during intercourse. You can purchase some silicone or water-based lubricants.  

2. Estrogen therapy:

For women who have their ovaries removed and are in the process of menopause, vaginal bleeding and dryness can be treated with estrogen therapy. Menopause leads to a drop in estrogen levels but the therapy will restore a low supply of the same in the vagina to avoid discomfort. 

3. Antibiotics: 

For those suffering from vaginitis, your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic for treatment. Antibiotics are also prescribed for treating pelvic inflammatory disease and STDs. Surgical removal, cryotherapy, or electrocautery are procedures in cases of cervical ectropion and removal of polyps. 

bleeding during sex

Preventing bleeding after sex

If the symptoms of postcoital bleeding are associated with any medical condition, you should consult a doctor. Other prevention tips for postcoital bleeding include: 

  • Taking water regularly and staying hydrated
  • Use lubricants during foreplay and intercourse. 
  • Always avoid forceful and aggressive sexual acts
  • Use vaginal moisturizers daily 
  • Avoid overly scented or flavored products for the vaginal area
  • Always use condoms
  • Seek medical assistance for treating any suspected infections

There are many reasons for bleeding during or after sex. In many cases, the reason for bleeding isn’t alarming and the bleeding will easily fade away. However, it is important to not panic and check-up with the doctor if you notice frequent bleeding during or after sex.