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What causes bleeding after sex? Normal or Cause for Concern?

Let's face it, sex shouldn't come with a side of surprise bleeding. But sometimes, after the fireworks fizzle, you might encounter a spot of red that can leave you feeling confused and worried. Let's find out the causes and when should you worry?

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Johanitha Moraes
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Sex

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Let's face it, sex shouldn't come with a side of surprise bleeding. But sometimes, after the fireworks fizzle, you might encounter a spot of red that can leave you feeling confused and worried. Here's the thing: postcoital bleeding (PWB), or bleeding after sex, is more common than you might think, and it can have various causes, some more concerning than others.

What causes bleeding after sex?

PWB can be caused by a number of factors, so it's important to consider different scenarios:

  • Friction and Tears: During sex, especially if lubrication is lacking, friction can irritate or cause tiny tears in the delicate vaginal tissues. This can lead to light bleeding afterwards.
  • Cervical Issues: The cervix, the opening to the uterus, can be a source of PWB. Cervical ectropion, a condition where the inner lining of the cervix extends to the outer vaginal area, can make it more prone to bleeding during sex.
  • Hormonal Fluctuations: Changes in hormone levels, such as during ovulation or perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause), can cause vaginal dryness and make the tissues more susceptible to tears.
  • Birth Control Methods: Some hormonal birth control methods, particularly those containing only progesterone,can cause spotting or breakthrough bleeding, which can sometimes occur after sex.
  • Underlying Conditions: In some cases, PWB can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, such as cervical polyps, fibroids, or even cancer. However, this is less common.
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When to Worry, When to Chill?

While PWB can be alarming, it's not always a cause for major concern. Here's a guide:

  • Light bleeding: Occasional light spotting after sex, especially if accompanied by vaginal dryness or irritation, is usually not a cause for worry.
  • Heavy bleeding: If the bleeding is heavy, persistent, or accompanied by pain, it's important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying conditions.
  • Other symptoms: If you experience other symptoms like pelvic pain, unusual discharge, or bleeding between periods, consult a healthcare professional.

Tips for a Smoother Experience

There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of PWB:

  • Lube Up: Use a lubricant during sex to reduce friction and irritation.
  • Talk to Your Partner: Communication is key! Discuss lubrication preferences and any discomfort you might experience.
  • Birth Control Blues? If you suspect your birth control is contributing to PWB, talk to your doctor about alternative methods. Consult our Gytree experts for the same.
  • Schedule Regular Checkups: Routine checkups with your doctor can help identify and address any underlying conditions that might be causing PWB.

Remember, PWB is a common experience, and in most cases, it's nothing to be afraid of. However, it's important to be aware of the different causes and listen to your body. If you're concerned, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor. Knowledge is power, and understanding PWB can empower you to have a healthy and satisfying sex life.

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