THE last thing you want in the bedroom is a bit of blood to cause a mess and spoil the mood.
But for women, a bit of spotting – or light bleeding – after sex is actually quite normal. So what causes it?
Is it normal to bleed after sex?
It’s actually pretty common to experience spotting – light bleeding – after sex.
Medically, this is called post-coital bleeding.
As many as 63 per cent of post-menopausal people report vaginal dryness and bleeding after sex, as do nine per cent of menstruating people.
Bleeding is usually from the cervix in people who haven’t gone through the menopause.
In those who have been through the menopause, bleeding may happen at the cervix, labia or urethra.
Bleeding from your vagina during or after sex is also more likely if you have sex before you are aroused, you douche, or if you are breastfeeding.
If bleeding is heavy, or you have any other reason to worry about it, contact your GP or go to a sexual health clinic.
What are the causes of bleeding after sex?
There are lots of reasons why you might experience vaginal bleeding after sex.
Common infections include Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), cervicitis, or vaginitis, or sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia.
Any of these conditions might cause inflammation in the vagina, which makes bleeding after or during sex more likely.
2. Vaginal dryness
This may become more frequent during or after menopause, but can happen to some people at any time, or at various points in their menstrual cycle.
Low oestrogen causes vaginal dryness, and can also make the skin in your vagina more fragile and less stretchy.
This makes it easier for your vagina to become sore or damaged, so you bleed during or after sex.
Dryness in your vagina can also be caused by: having sex before you’re fully aroused; chemicals in hygiene products; some medicines; having your ovaries removed; breastfeeding; or child-birth.
3. Damage to the vagina
Damage to the vagina can be caused by childbirth, or from friction or damage during sex.
Polyps are mostly non-cancerous lumps which you might have in the womb or lining of the cervix.
They can become irritated and cause bleeding during sex.
5. Cervical or vaginal cancer
This is the most rare reason, and also the most serious concern.
Up to 11 per cent of diagnoses for cervical cancer have been found through a report of bleeding after sex.
If you are worried, talk to your GP or a sexual health clinic.
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