Bleeding after sexual intercourse (also called “post-coital bleeding“) is not rare; up to 10% of women have had this at some point in their lives. Abnormal bleeding can bring up the thought, “Is this cancer?” Fortunately, the risk of cancer with post-coital bleeding is not common (thousands of women will have this type of bleeding for every one cancer found).
Causes Of Bleeding After Sex
Bleeding after sex can be a sign of a health condition:
1. an infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia
2. vaginal dryness (atrophic vaginitis) caused by reduced vaginal secretions after the menopause
3. damage to the vagina, such as tears caused by childbirth, or by dryness or friction during sex
4. cervical or endometrial polyps (benign or non-cancerous growths in the womb or the lining of the cervix)
5. cervical ectropion (also known as cervical erosion), where there is an inflamed area on the surface of the cervix
In rare instances, bleeding after sex can be a sign of cervical or vaginal cancer.
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 and sexually transmitted infection screenings — you don’t need to see your doctor to be evaluated. If you have vaginal bleeding that bothers or worries you, make an appointment with your doctor to get it checked out. If you’re at risk or feel you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, see your doctor for an evaluation.
If you’re postmenopausal, vaginal bleeding at any time must be evaluated. Consult with your doctor to be sure that the cause of your vaginal bleeding isn’t something serious.