How can I prevent bleeding after sex? But it can also be caused by an infection, and in rare cases, it's a sign of cervical cancer. Why does it happen? The most common causes for vaginal bleeding after sex both start in the cervix , which is the narrow, tube-like end of the uterus that opens into the vagina. One of those causes is cervical inflammation , or cervicitis. It can be ongoing and totally harmless, or it can happen because of a sexually transmitted infection that you need to get treated, like chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Both types of cervical inflammation can cause bleeding after sex. A second common reason for bleeding after sex are cervical polyps. They are growths that are usually small -- about 1 to 2 centimeters -- that often appear on the cervix where it connects to the vagina.
Other causes of vaginal bleeding after sex include: If you have some minor bleeding occasionally after sex, chances are that everything is fine. But the only way to know for sure is to see your doctor for a physical exam. You can also probably hold off if you recently had a pelvic exam and Pap smear and got a clean bill of health. See your doctor to rule out cervical cancer , endometrial cancer , and other issues.
Your doctor will give you a pelvic exam and look for any source of the bleeding, like vaginal tears or lesions, signs of pelvic organ prolapse, cervical polyps, or inflammation. If your doctor finds any polyps, she might be able to remove them in the office and send them to a lab for testing, or make a later appointment to have them surgically removed. During a Pap test, your doctor can swab your cervix to test for sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea, which can cause bleeding after sex and are treated with antibiotics.
The Pap test also detects any sign of abnormal, precancerous growths or cancer cells. What if my doctor finds something abnormal? It starts out like a Pap test, but takes a bit longer, and the doctor will use a special magnifying device called a colposcope to get a closer look at the cervix.
If your doctor sees anything suspicious, she can take a small sample of tissue for testing. If bleeding after sex is an ongoing thing, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy even if your Pap test results are normal, to get a better look at your cervix. Your cervix may bleed more easily during pregnancy because extra blood vessels are developing in the area. If my post-sex bleeding is unexplained, will it stop on its own? A recent study found that just over half of women who had bleeding after sex reported that it cleared up on its own within 2 years.
You can rule out the most innocent causes of bleeding after sex, like friction during intercourse or not enough lubrication, by simply using a lubricant before and during sex. You can also wait a bit longer after your period ends to start having sex again, if it seems like regular uterine bleeding at the tail end of menstruation is the culprit. Removing cervical polyps or treating cervical infections should also clear up post-sex bleeding, if either was the cause.
A Review on Etiology, Diagnosis, and Management. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer.