In fact if you are bleeding after sexual intercourse, or during, you may bleed from your vagina or from the entrance to your womb at the top of your vagina (cervix).
Vaginal bleeding can be directly linked to injury to the wall of your vagina – this is usually due to vaginal dryness or rough sex.
You may also bleed because you have a skin problem on your outer genitals (vulva).
There are many causes of bleeding after sex that are linked to your cervix.
It will not always be clear what is causing PCB, but let us look at some of the most common causes.
1. Cervical ectropion
Cervical ectropion is the most common cause of bleeding after sex in younger people, especially if you are using the combined oral contraceptive pill (the pill) or are pregnant – though it can also happen without any cause.
It is a natural response to any changes in your levels of the hormone oestrogen.
It happens when cells that are usually found inside your cervix grow outside of it and are exposed to your vagina.
These cells bleed very easily, even if lightly touched. So when anything is put into your vagina during sex, this sensitive area may become irritated and bleed.
2. Cervical polyps
These are small growths that can develop inside your womb or on the surface of your cervix.
As they get bigger, they can stick out of your cervix and, because they have a rich blood supply, they bleed easily if touched or irritated during sex.
Cervical polyps are not cancerous and they won’t change into cancer.
3. Vaginitis and cervicitis
Vaginitis is soreness and swelling (inflammation) of your vagina.
It is often due to thrush (candidiasis) or another type of infection.
Thrush is a common yeast infection that can cause symptoms such as vaginal discharge and bleeding, as well as itching and discomfort.
Other types of infections that can cause you to bleed after sex include sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or trichomoniasis. These can cause inflammation in your cervix (cervicitis) and also pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
If you think you are at risk of an STI, see a doctor or visit a sexual health clinic.
4. Vaginal dryness
A number of things can cause a dry vagina, including taking the pill, breastfeeding, some cancer treatments or having your womb removed (hysterectomy).
Vaginal dryness is also more common after the menopause, as your levels of the hormone oestrogen are lower, which causes your vaginal fluid (secretions) to decrease.
If your vagina is dry and is not lubricated during intercourse, the friction caused by penetration can irritate and tear its fragile lining, leading to bleeding after sex.
5. Rough sex
Rough sex can cause bleeding from the walls of your vagina – especially without enough lubrication.
This can happen if sex toys are used too forcefully or if your partner has metal genital piercings, for example.
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