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Dr. HANX: Is It Normal To Bleed After Sex?

Dr. HANX: Is It Normal To Bleed After Sex?

You’re lying in bed, basking in the post-boink afterglow and you notice a little blood on the sheets, also known as ‘spotting’, this can be quite concerning if you’re not expecting aunt flow anytime soon but post-coital bleeding is surprisingly common, with up to 9% of people with vaginas experiencing it. We spoke to our very own in-house gynae Dr. Sarah Welsh to get the lowdown on bleeding after sex and when to seek help from your healthcare practitioner. 

Is it normal to bleed after sex? 

It can be. However, it’s important to speak with your GP if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding post-sex, or you feel like something is not right. 

Bleeding after sex is fairly common, and it could be down to something quite simple such as too much friction. When the vagina isn’t lubricated enough, friction can cause micro-tears. These are basically tiny cuts so small they can’t be seen, but they can bleed slightly which can explain light spotting. If you find your natural lubrication level isn’t matching how turned on you are (it happens to many of us, at any age!), reach for a gentle lubricant to help smooth things along. 

What are other reasons why I might be bleeding after sex?

Other than vaginal dryness, one of the most common causes of bleeding after sex is related to your cervix. The cervix is the small canal that connects the vagina with the lower part of the womb. Inflammation of the cervix (AKA Cervicitis) can cause bleeding post-sex, due to irritation of the cervix or the presence of a sexually transmitted infection, such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.   

Another common cause is cervical polyps, which is extra tissue growing on the cervix. They’re often very small and can be easily removed by a doctor. Some other symptoms of cervical polyps are very heavy periods, and white or yellow mucus. 

Can rough sex cause bleeding? 

It is possible that if you’re having particularly rough or deep penetrative hanky panky, post-coital bleeding can be more likely. As the cervix is located at the top of the vagina, it can become bruised from deep penetration, which can feel very sore and can cause light bleeding. However, like any bruise on your body it will heal after some time. If you have been going at it with everything you’ve got, it might be time to give your poor cervix a break from penetration in the meantime, and focus on some clitoral stimulation instead… 

When should I be worried about bleeding after sex? 

If you are experiencing occasional light bleeding after sex that promptly disappears, it’s probably not a cause for concern. However, if you are concerned or notice that the bleeding happens every time you have sex, or is heavy,  book an appointment to speak to  your doctor to check it out. If you notice any of of the below symptoms alongside your spotting, this could be a sign of an underlying problem, so make sure to reach out to your GP:

  • Pain during sex 
  • Burning or itching sensation around the vagina and/or vulva.
  • Pain in your lower back or pelvis.
  • Vomiting or Nausea. 
  • Burning or stinging after you urinate. 
  • Unusual discharge (e.g. is it different from what you usually have?) 

As always, if in doubt, get it checked out. Being seen by a doctor, regardless of the outcome, will always put your worries at ease. 

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