Bleeding After Sex


Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What is bleeding after sex?

Bleeding after sex is a condition in which there is any type of light to severe bleeding from the vagina after vaginal sexual intercourse. Bleeding after sex, also known as bleeding after intercourse, can result from a variety of conditions or diseases that include:

  • Abnormal growths (such as polyps or fibroids) on the cervix or in the uterus

  • Abnormal cells of the cervix (possibly precancerous cells)

  • Infection or inflammation of the vagina, uterus or cervix

  • Malignancy (cancer)

  • Trauma to the vagina or cervix

Bleeding after sex is not normal. However, many underlying causes of bleeding after sex, such as vaginal dryness and cervical dysplasia, are very treatable if promptly diagnosed and treated. Treatment of bleeding after sex varies and is tailored to the individual case, the underlying cause, the severity of symptoms, and the presence of any complications.

Sometimes bloody urine, which is due to bleeding from the urinary tract, or bloody stools, which is due to bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, can be mistaken for vaginal bleeding after sex. Any unexplained bleeding should be evaluated by your health care professional.

Some types of bleeding after sex can be caused by serious, even life-threatening, conditions, such as cervical cancer or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Seek prompt medical care if you experience bleeding after sex, even if it is light spotting. Early diagnosis and treatment of bleeding after sex reduces the risk of serious complications, such as infertility and metastatic uterine cancer.   

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Oct 27, 2016

© 2017 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Diagnosis and treatment of atrophic vaginitis. American Family Physician.
  2. Vaginal bleeding between periods. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

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