Topic Tuesday: Sometimes I have bleeding after sex. What could be causing it?

Great question – It can be alarming to find that you are bleeding after sex when you weren’t expecting it. It can be normal, but it could also be a symptom of a serious problem.

Most commonly, bleeding after or during sex is caused by your typical monthly cycle. Sometimes, you may get a little spotting or bleeding after sex a few days before or after your period, and this is usually nothing to be concerned about. In fact, having sex can sometimes make your bleeding start a little earlier than normal if you are close to your expected start date. This is due to a combination of your uterus naturally contracting when you orgasm, and semen softening your cervix. Similarly, if you have just ended your period, you may still have had a little bleeding over the next day or two, even if you thought it was over, and sex can sometimes trigger that bleeding faster than it would have happened on its own so.

Some other common causes of bleeding after sex are:
• Breakthrough bleeding from hormonal birth control use, especially if you recently started a new method
• Friction from sex due to a lack of lubrication or lack of arousal
• A vaginal infection like BV or a yeast infection
• An STD like chlamydia or gonorrhea

If you have bleeding after sex and it is coupled by any signs of infection such as foul-smelling discharge, colored discharge, itching, discomfort or pelvic pain, you should come in for an infection screening right away.

While not as common, vaginal bleeding after sex can also be caused be something more serious like uterine or cervical polyps, uterine fibroids, cervical dysplasia, and even certain cancers. It is important to come in for a pelvic exam and possible pap smear right away if are concerned about your symptoms.

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