When you are at your most vulnerable and having an intimate moment the last thing you want to be worried about is vaginal bleeding after sex. Research shows that over 60% of postmenopausal women experience bleeding after sex and around 10% of pre-menopausal women bleed during or after having sex.
You may become worried and ask yourself “Is bleeding after sex normal?” Bleeding during or after sex can happen for a variety of reasons, and it may be nothing to be concerned about or it may warrant a trip to your OB-GYN.
Looking at other factors or symptoms that may be happening simultaneously may give you some idea of what is going on. Let’s look at some common reasons for experiencing bleeding after sex, and when there is cause for concern.
What Causes Bleeding After Sex?
Postcoital bleeding (PCB) is the medical term for a condition where a woman experiences vaginal spotting or bleeding after sexual intercourse. The condition can manifest with or without pain. Often, the cause is something that can be easily addressed, but, in rare cases, the underlying cause can be serious.
- Birth Control
- Hormonal birth control methods help regulate the menstrual cycle and can sometimes cause spotting after intercourse. This normally occurs when birth control is first started and it can take a few months for the body to become adjusted.
Sometimes, hormonal contraception can cause vaginal dryness, and intercourse can cause some tearing and bleeding. If birth control is causing your light bleeding after sex, your OB-Gyn should be able to suggest some solutions.
- Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
- Infections that are passed on through sexual activity can produce unpleasant symptoms including bleeding after sex. STIs such as trichomoniasis and chlamydia often result in cervicitis which causes inflammation of the cervix that can become further irritated during sex and cause spotting or bleeding. It is important to get checked out if you are sexually active because most women do not exhibit any symptoms from STIs.
- Endometrial Polyps
- These polyps form due to an overgrowth of endometrial cells which make up the lining of the uterus. Women can have one polyp or many and this condition most often occurs in postmenopausal women. Endometrial polyps are normally contained within the uterus but sometimes can protrude through the cervix into the vagina.
These polyps are fed by multiple blood vessels and If they are disturbed during sexual intercourse they can cause bleeding after sex.
- Vaginal Dryness
- Lack of lubrication mixed with the friction created through sexual intercourse can cause tearing of sensitive vaginal tissue causing pain and bleeding during and after sex.
Vaginal dryness can be caused by menopause, birth control, medications including allergy medicine, yeast infection, and STIs. It is best not to self-diagnose because choosing the wrong drugstore product could potentially worsen the situation. Talk to your Ob-Gyn to identify the underlying issue and obtain appropriate lubrication recommendations.
- Bacterial or Yeast Infections
- Occasionally, common yeast or bacterial infections can cause inflammation and irritation that can result in bleeding after sex or during sex. Most often, yeast and bacterial infections are characterized by vaginal discharge, itching, and changes in discharge color or odor. But, if the cervix is infected and inflamed, sex can irritate it further and cause bleeding.
- Bleeding during sex or bleeding after sex with no pain is one of the main symptoms of cervical cancer. The friction of sex irritates the vascular cancerous tissue and can cause light bleeding that is painless. If you are experiencing chronic or abnormal bleeding, make sure to schedule a visit with your doctor to determine the cause.
- Uterine Fibroids
- Uterine fibroids are abnormal growths that are made from the same muscular tissue cells as the myometrium (middle muscle layer of the uterus). It is not known exactly why these rogue cells begin to grow outside of their designated location but we do know that they respond to excess estrogen.
Fibroids form in and on the uterus and can range in size from a small pearl to a large grapefruit.
Many women who have fibroids have no associated symptoms so they are unaware. Other women suffer debilitating symptoms that prevent them from being able to function or carry out their daily routines.
Depending on their location and size, fibroids can cause many painful symptoms including pain during sex and bleeding after sex.
What Should I Do To Stop Bleeding After Sex?
A small amount of spotting once in a while is normally nothing to worry about, but if it occurs on a regular basis then you should make an appointment with your OB-GYN to rule out any serious conditions.
If you are experiencing pain and bleeding after sex due to fibroids, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) can help you reclaim your sex life. UFE is a non-surgical procedure that is performed as an outpatient and takes less than an hour. During the procedure, an Interventional Radiologist blocks the blood vessels that feed the fibroids and they shrink and die. UFE treats all types and sizes of fibroids and can help restore a woman’s quality of life. Since there is no surgery, there is no hospital stay, and patients go home the same day with only a bandaid.
Most women experience relief from fibroid symptoms within a few months of the procedure and many have reported that their symptoms were gone or much improved by their first cycle after having UFE.
Contact The Atlanta Fibroid Center today to learn more about UFE and how it can help you eliminate pain and bleeding after sex. Set up a consultation today so you can live fibroid-free tomorrow!