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Intercourse and Vaginal Bleeding - When is it Serious?

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Delhi  •  16 years experience
Intercourse and Vaginal Bleeding - When is it Serious?

One of the common complaints associated with sexual intercourse, is vaginal bleeding. This bleeding can occur during the course of intimacy or after it. Post intercourse bleeding is also termed as post-coitus bleeding. This is known as post costal bleeding. Doctor should be consulted immediately as it may be a sign of hidden cervical cancer.

Reasons behind vaginal bleeding
1. In most cases, the bleeding is risk free. It could be due to extreme friction, causing damage to superficial blood vessels in the cervix. It is important to use adequate lubrication; otherwise the consequences could be annoyingly painful.
2. If your period dates are nearby, the source of the blood could be from your uterus.
3. Benign growths, cysts, polyps on the cervix can cause bleeding. They are small fragile growths that rupture easily.
4. There can also be bleeding due to inflammations that occur as a reaction to a condom or a diaphragm.

When can vaginal bleeding be difficult?

  1. Vaginal bleeding after sex can often be a warning sign of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is when implantation of an embryo takes place outside the uterus, commonly inside the fallopian tubes.
  2. Bleeding every time after intercourse is also a common symptom of endometriosis. It occurs when the inner lining of the uterus, called the endometrial tissue, appears outside it. Endometrial tissue can attach itself to other surrounding organs in the pelvic region, generally, the abdomen, causing searing pain. It is also a major cause of infertility.
  3. Another cause of vaginal bleeding is atrophic vaginitis, a health condition mostly affecting older women, especially those who have reached menopausal age. This is due to the massive decline in the levels of estrogen that causes vaginal dryness and irritation.
  4. Sexually transmitted diseases could be a serious cause of vaginal bleeding. It is generally accompanied by several other symptoms such as vaginal odour, discharge, pelvic pain, inflammations. It should receive immediate medical attention.
  5. Vaginal bleeding could be a sign of cancer. It could be vaginal, ovarian, uterine or cervical cancer. It requires medical attention without any delay.

Most of the time, the reasons for post coitus bleeding is harmless. However, if it persists, you must pay a visit to your gynaecologist as soon as possible and get a thorough evaluation done. This could save the condition from worsening and also diagnose any other underlying medical condition at an early, curable stage. 

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