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What Causes Bleeding After Intercourse?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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Bleeding after intercourse is generally not considered a normal. Many people dismiss this as normal or a result of “rough sex,” that might have resulted in vaginal trauma. It is rarely the case that this causes bleeding. Rather, women who note this condition usually need to see a doctor to determine the cause, since there are many serious and even life-threatening underlying conditions that might have bleeding after sex as a symptom.

The least problematic condition that could result in bleeding after intercourse is prolonged vaginal dryness, in women who have completed menopause. Insufficient lubrication may create irritation inside the vagina, which causes some bleeding. There are ways to address this dryness including using hormonal treatments or making sure to use ample lubrication during sexual activity. A gynecologist is a good resource for information on this topic, and can also perform an exam to rule out any other medical problems.

Some of these include certain sexually transmitted diseases, which may not always have many other symptoms. In particular, chlamydia is known not manifesting symptoms in over half of infections that occur. Nevertheless, one symptom that may be produced and ignored is bleeding after intercourse. Infection with gonorrhea might also result in abnormal bleeding after sex. An infection doesn’t have to be sexually transmitted to result in post-coital bleeding; any type of vaginitis, yeast or bacterial, could be indicated too.

A variety of conditions that affect the cervix could have post-intercourse bleeding as a symptom. Sometimes people develop polyps or small growths on the cervix that result in this. Alternately, cervical inflammation, called cervicitis, or cervical ectropion could be present. The latter simply means greater likelihood of cervical irritation particularly with intercourse, and this may sometimes require treatment. Cervical cancer is another potential cause of bleeding after sex.

Cancer in many parts of the reproductive tract might result in abnormal bleeding. It could be present in the vagina or uterus. Things like fibroids or polyps in the uterus are another possible cause. Pelvic inflammatory disease and chronic conditions like endometriosis may be suspected too.

One cause of bleeding after intercourse that does deserve mention is menstrual bleeding. Sometimes a period begins just as intercourse ends. This is usually the easiest cause to identify, since continued menstruation makes it fairly clear that intercourse really didn’t result in bleeding.

In most cases, women are advised to take post-intercourse bleeding very seriously. It can indicate that significant problems are present, and these may require immediate care. Such care should not be delayed until a yearly check-up, since some of the illnesses or conditions resulting in bleeding after intercourse may damage the reproductive system or risk overall health without prompt treatment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon347041 — On Sep 03, 2013

I have only had one sexual partner (my present one who is "clean") and I have a nexplanon contraceptive implant. I have noticed that the past three times we have had sex, roughly half a day later, I bleed slightly. It's more bloody than like from a period, which I no longer get due to the implant. Can anyone offer any advice as to what this could be due to?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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