'Why am I bleeding after sex?' Here's what the experts want you to know

If you've ever asked, 'Why am I bleeding after sex,' the answer isn't necessarily straightforward

couple's legs and feet in bed with red blanket over them
(Image credit: Ekaterina Misenko / EyeEm)

Plenty of women have wondered, "Why am I bleeding after sex?" 

It's not uncommon to get caught up in the intimacy, orgasms and all of the fun that goes along with a romp. But noticing a few spotted sheets—especially when Aunt Flo isn't due for another couple of days or weeks—can be cause for concern and, in turn, make you feel stressed about sex

While bleeding isn't necessarily something out of the realm of possibilities, medical professionals strongly warn against self-diagnosing. The only way you can treat yourself is if you correctly pinpoint what's causing the issue in the first place.

For more on the intricacies, here are important things gynecologists want you to know.

Why am I bleeding after sex?

This is not a black and white answer, and everyone's scenario is likely to be different. 

"Bleeding after sex can be due to various reasons," Rachel Gelman, PT, DPT and pelvic floor specialist tells My Imperfect Life. "Things like vaginal dryness can make the vaginal canal prone to abrasions which can cause bleeding. Certain medical conditions, like lichen sclerosis can make the tissue prone to fissuring, which can also lead to bleeding."

But, again, before treating, you have to diagnose. The only way to do so is with a check-in at the gyno.

"Talk to [your] healthcare provider so that they can determine the cause of the bleeding," Gelman adds. "The provider may recommend using more lubricants or a vaginal moisturizer, but other interventions may be necessary depending on the cause."

(Estrogen therapy is another way in which to help fix the issue, per Healthline.)

Meet the expert: Rachel Gelman

With over 15,000 hours of clinical practice under her belt (pun intended), Rachel Gelman, the owner and operator of Pelvic Wellness Physical Therapy

According to WebMd, there are a variety of fairly common reasons you're seeing blood appear after sex, which is also known as postcoital bleeding. Typically, these issues stem from the cervix and affect roughly 9% of menstruating women, and are easily treatable. They include:

  • Friction during sex
  • An insufficient amount of lubrication
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Regular uterine bleeding from your period (either before or after) 
  • Cervical polyps (noncancerous growths)

"If the bleeding is superficial, it could be connective tissue or skin tearing. This can occur if there are hormonal deficits, specifically estrogen and testosterone," Heather Jeffcoat, DPT tells us.

However, not everything can be treated with lubricants. Serious causes for postcoital bleeding include:

  • Infection
  • Cervical cancer
  • Vaginal cancer 
  • Trauma from sexual abuse
Meet the expert: Heather Jeffcoat

Heather Jeffcoat is the author of Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide To The Sex Life You Deserve and the founder of Femina Physical Therapy.

Although complications stemming from postcoital bleeding aren't likely, unless there is an underlying health issue in question, few indicators are to be aware of. According to the healthcare professionals, these are the symptoms to take note of:  

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness 
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin

Women who present the issue of bleeding after sex to their gynecologists might have to undergo a few exams, including: 

  • A colposcope examination
  • A urine test
  • A blood test
  • A pregnancy test
  • A transvaginal ultrasound
  • An examination of vaginal discharge

A good way to keep on top of all of your sexual health is to schedule regular visits with your doctor. According to the National Health Service in England, women ages 25 to 64 should undergo frequent cervical screening tests to help prevent cervical cancer.

Contact your doctor immediately if bleeding after sex is a common occurrence or a first-time experience. Always seek medical help, even if you believe the problem is not serious—your health is on the line. 

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.