Consensual sex can be a fun and exciting activity for most of us. But the mood can be dampened if you’re having concerns about your health because of bleeding after sex that wasn’t period sex. Is bleeding after sex normal? And what might be causing it? Here are some of the answers you’re looking for.
Is bleeding after sex normal?
It’s not uncommon to experience occasional light bleeding after sex. However if you regularly bleed after or the bleeding is heavy, there might be a medical reason that’s worth seeking help from a doctor. Similarly, if you’ve gone through menopause or you have existing risk factors in relation to your sexual health, you should see a doctor about spotting after intercourse.
PSA: Sex should be pleasurable, not painful! If you’re experiencing pain during or after sex, despite having tried different positions or angles, you should seek medical advice.
What causes bleeding after sex?
There are several reasons why you might experience bleeding after using a toy or having sex, here are some of the most common reasons:
Having an infection might cause bleeding after sex. This is often due to the infection causing inflammation to your vaginal tissue, which, when combined with the friction of sex can cause bleeding. Common types of infection that can be the culprit of postcoital bleeding are:
If you’re already aware that you have one of these infections, it may be why you’re bleeding after sex. It’s still a good idea to mention the bleeding to your doctor if it is regular or heavy as there may be another reason.
If you’re bleeding after sex, it might be due to vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness is common during perimenopause and menopause as your body produces less oestrogen. As your oestrogen levels drop, your body produces less vaginal lubrication, which can cause dryness and cause some pain or bleeding during and after sex. There are a few other reasons why somebody who is not perimenopausal or menopausal might experience bleeding due to vaginal dryness, including:
- Having sex before you’re completely aroused
- Childbirth and breastfeeding
- Vaginal douching
- Chemicals in period and incontinence products or in other places like swimming pools
- Having your ovaries removed
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
If any of these apply to you, they may explain any light vaginal bleeding after sex you’re experiencing. However if the bleeding is consistent or heavy, we recommend you speak to your doctor. Once you’ve checked with a doctor and feel ready to have sex again, you can help combat vaginal dryness with a lubricant – opt for an organic, water-based one like these from The Yes Yes Company.
New mums who have experienced tears during childbirth might bleed during or after sex. Similarly, if you’ve been torn due to dryness or friction during sex, light bleeding may occur. The risk of bleeding can be increased after rough sex. Heavy or regular bleeding when not on your period calls for an appointment with your doctor.
If you have had any recent tears, it’s a good idea to give your body a chance to heal and only have sex when you feel completely comfortable to do so. Sex should be enjoyable and not painful. When you’re ready, reaching for your favourite lube will help you to avoid dryness and unwanted friction.
Cervical or endometrial polyps
Polyps are benign (non-cancerous) growths that can be found in the womb, or in the endometrial lining. When polyps move, they can cause irritation to the tissue around them, and cause light bleeding. Sex can be a trigger for this.
Cervical ectropion, also called cervical erosion, is when the surface of the cervix has an inflamed area and this inflammation can cause light bleeding during and after sex.
While these are all possible reasons why you might experience bleeding after sex, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor – especially because it can be a symptom of cervical cancer.
If you have any questions about bleeding after sex, please let us know in the comments below, or you can DM us on Instagram.