The Top 8 Causes of Vaginal Bleeding After Sex

What Causes Post-Coital Bleeding?

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You've just finished having sex. You're in that pleasant, dream-like, post-coital state, thanks to those feel-good hormones that come with intimacy and orgasm. Then you go to the bathroom and discover you're bleeding.

What's wrong? What happened? Did the skin of your vulva or vagina become irritated during intercourse? 

Post-coital bleeding can occur for a number of reasons, and is nothing to be taken lightly.

Here's a look at the top eight causes of vaginal bleeding after sex:

  1. Cervical dysplasia: Cervical dysplasia refers to the precancerous changes of the epithelial cells that line the cervix. The risk of cervical dysplasia increases if you have multiple sex partners if you engage in sexual intercourse before the age of 18, if you go through childbirth before the age of 16, or if you have a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Treatment is usually cryosurgery or conization.
  2. Chlamydia: This is a bacterial infection that is usually transmitted through sexual activity or contact with semen, vaginal fluid, or blood. It can be treated with antibiotics.
  3. Gonorrhea: This is an STI caused by a bacteria. Several pharmaceutical treatments are available.
  4. Vaginitis or Cervicitis: This refers to inflammation or swelling and infection of the vagina or cervix. Treatment depends on the cause.
  5. Cervical polyps: Cervical polyps are smooth, red or purple, finger-like growths that grow out of the mucus layer of the cervix or the cervical canal. Cervical polyps are extremely fragile, extending out of the cervix, and easily and painlessly removed.
  1. Trichomoniasis: This is an STI caused by a protozoan. It can also be passed to newborns during vaginal birth by infected mothers. Although rare, transmission is also possible via tap water, hot tubs, urine, toilet seats, and swimming pools. Trichomoniasis may lead to vaginitis.
  2. Vaginal yeast infection: This is an overgrowth of the normal fungi that inhabits the vaginal area. Common symptoms include itching, burning, and an odorless, white, cheese-like discharge.
  1. Uterine polyps: Uterine polyps occur when the endometrium overgrows, causing these protrusions into the uterus. It is extremely rare for these growths to grow in a way that is either benign or malignant. Women with uterine polyps frequently experience bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia). Other symptoms include vaginal bleeding after sex, spotting, bleeding after menopause, and breakthrough bleeding during hormone therapy. Hysteroscopic-guided curettage is the preferred treatment since the normal D&C is basically an unguided procedure that may miss many of the uterine polyps.

Diagnosing vaginal bleeding after sex is usually a matter of exclusion. Any time you experience post-coital bleeding or vaginal bleeding after sex, see your physician in order to get tested and properly diagnosed, so as to choose the best possible treatment.

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