Have you experienced bleeding after sex? Worried it could be something serious? As London’s leading women’s health clinic, we at The Gynae Centre are highly experienced in investigating and successfully treating this problem. We know it can feel scary and confusing, but is it normal to bleed after sex?
Here we spoke to Dr Albert Aka, Consultant Gynaecologist at The Gynae Centre, to answer the most common questions we see about bleeding after sex.
Is it normal to bleed after sex?
Dr Aka says: ‘We gynaecologists are often asked: “Is it normal to bleed after sex?” Bleeding after sex is fairly common and it could be due to something as simple as too much friction and the need to use a lubricant,’ says Dr Aka. ‘But it isn’t something to be incautious about and the only way to be sure is to see your GP or go straight to a gynaecologist.’
The top two causes for bleeding after sex are:
- Cervicitis, which is inflammation of the cervix. This inflammation could be continual and innocuous, or it could stem from a sexually transmitted infection requiring treatment, such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
- Cervical polyps (growths – usually benign and often on the cervix opening)
There are many other possible reasons for bleeding after sex, including:
- Vaginal dryness because of the menopause
- An infection, for example pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Normal bleeding from the womb if you are just coming on or off your monthly period
- Polyps (benign growths) in the uterus
- Injury to the vagina, for example from friction during sex (usually because of vaginal dryness), or from tears during giving birth. Bear in mind there are times when you are more likely to experience vaginal dryness, for example when breastfeeding or when using certain kinds of medications.
- Cervical ectropion (also called ‘cervical erosion’) which is a more serious kind of cervical inflammation, affecting the surface of the cervix
- Bleeding from genital sores due to a condition such as herpes
- Pelvic organ prolapse (this is when pelvic organs such as the womb or bladder slip from their correct position down into the vagina)
- Cervical or vaginal cancer (in rare cases)
How much bleeding is normal after sex?
Let’s be honest, no bleeding or spotting after sex is ideal, even when it is harmless. The question is it normal to bleed after sex can best be answered like this: If you are a menstruating woman (that is, you haven’t gone through the menopause) who only occasionally experiences light bleeding following sex with no other symptoms, it is probably nothing to worry about. But really, the only way to be sure is to get checked out.
Can hitting the cervix cause bleeding? Does deep sex cause bleeding?
Yes, hitting the cervix can cause bleeding, and yes, it is possible in some cases for deep sex to cause bleeding. The cervix is at the head of the vaginal canal, acting as a barrier between the vagina and the womb. In some cases, the cervix can become bruised from deep penetration, resulting in discomfort and sometimes bleeding (not heavy bleeding though). A bruised cervix, like a bruise anywhere else on your body, is not a permanent injury and will heal with time, usually a few days, in which you should avoid sex.
When should I be worried about bleeding after sex?
Is it normal to bleed after sex? If you haven’t gone through the menopause, have no other risk profile or symptoms, and are experiencing occasional light bleeding or spotting that disappears swiftly, it is probably not a cause for concern. (Though of course, you can never be sure unless you get checked out.)
If you are post-menopausal and experiencing any vaginal bleeding, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
The other symptoms you may notice together with the post-sex bleeding will be different depending on what’s causing the issue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor:
- Heavy bleeding
- Burning or itching sensation around the vagina
- Pain during sex
- Vomiting or nausea
- Pain in your lower back
- Unusual discharge
- Burning or stinging feeling when you urinate
- Intense pelvic pain
“I always say, if in doubt, get checked out. It’s better not to waste time, not least because that kind of worry is draining and a distraction,” says Dr Aka.
Here at The Gynae Centre, we are among the UK’s foremost gynaecology experts, and with our state-of-the-art facilities and leading edge technology, we can get to the root of any issue promptly and treat it without delay. Indeed we can often offer same day appointments, giving you peace of mind as soon as possible.