If you’ve ever gone to pee after sex — and pro-tip, you should, because it does make it less likely you’ll suffer a UTI — and realized your period seems to have come a bit early, you’ve probably wondered if the two things are related.
The short answer is no, not really. However, the oxytocin from an orgasm can cause uterine contractions.
If you’re teetering on the edge of your period, these contractions may force some blood out, making it seem like your period started early due to sex. In reality, it’s more coincidence than causality: your period probably would have started right around that time, anyway.
That coincidence aside, there are many different reasons why you may be bleeding after sex, and it can be important not to write off any blood you notice as your period if that’s not what it is. Especially if you’re on birth control or are otherwise not expecting your menstrual cycle, you’ll want to look into what’s causing you to bleed.
So, now that we’ve saved you an all-too-common google search, let’s talk about what’s going on with vaginal bleeding after sex.
Why Am I Bleeding After Sex?
There’s no reason to panic if you experience bleeding after sex — let’s say that first and clearly. But many people see blood after sex and worry that something is wrong, since there’s a chance the cervix may be the source.
A pap smear is, however, the cornerstone of women’s healthcare, so as long as you’re up to date, cancer isn’t likely to be the cause. But it’s good to check in with your OB.
That said, many other common causes of post-sex bleeding have nothing to do with your period, so let’s break them down.
Dryness is especially likely to be the cause if you’re postmenopausal because hormonal changes can lead to vaginal dryness, which can cause irritation and bleeding. Other common reasons for vaginal dryness include having sex when you’re not fully aroused, not having enough lubrication, or medications like birth control pills that may affect your body’s estrogen store and lead to dryness.
Yes, sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea may cause bleeding post-sex. The good news is that these STDs are treatable.
But if an STI or other issue has gone untreated, you may also be vulnerable to pelvic inflammatory disease. PID can cause pelvic pain and other symptoms, like bleeding.
You may also experience an infection due to vaginal tears that have gone untreated. Even a simple yeast infection, if left untreated, may lead to bleeding!
Around and during ovulation, your cervix becomes much more sensitive than usual. Because of this, it can be more sensitive during sex — which also means it can be more vulnerable to (mild) damage.
Sex around ovulation may lead to light bleeding, which can be scary but isn’t a concern.
What Should I Do If I Bleed After Sex?
Let’s discuss some ways to address the issues at hand so you can return to your sex life without interference.
If your bleeding results from vaginal dryness, you’re in luck. It’s the easiest problem to fix. All you need is some lube!
Now, if vaginal dryness is because you’re not as turned on as you could be, in addition to looking for lube, you’ll probably want to create more effective sexual communication with your partner.
Visit Your OB
This is really number one on our list. While there are so many reasons for vaginal bleeding that aren’t a huge deal or may clear up on their own, others are worth a closer look.
If you have any unusual symptoms or concerns about bleeding after sex, a visit to your OB-GYN should be in order. There are also less extreme medical reasons you may be bleeding after sex, including endometriosis.
There’s something known as cervical ectropion that may be worth investigating if you regularly bleed after sex. It’s caused by high estrogen levels in your body, which can cause your cervix to be inflamed.
Lastly, it’s possible to grow polyps on your cervix or in the endometrial lining of your uterus. These polyps aren’t cancerous but can irritate your intimate area because they tend to move around, inflaming surrounding tissue. This can cause bleeding from small blood vessels, which may be the cause of your symptoms.
Be Cautious About Infection
If your vaginal bleeding is down to vaginal tears and they’re not causing you much discomfort, you may be relieved that it’s not something more serious and assume you can return to normal activities.
However, it’s crucial to remember that tears are injuries — if you jump straight back into penetrative intercourse, they won’t have time to heal. Continued irritation or exposure to potential aggravating factors like lube or toys that may host bacteria can lead to serious infection.
If you think you have tears or have confirmed you have another type of infection, it’s important to take a bit of a break to give your body time to heal. Infections are no joke — they can not only be painful but can lead to more serious issues like pelvic inflammatory disease.
That said, being cautious about an infection doesn’t have to mean putting your sex life on pause. There are many different ways for your partner to pleasure you that don’t involve penetrative sex, and being forced to look at your sex life from a new perspective may be a plus!
The first thing you should do if you notice bleeding after sex and you’re not already menstruating — or about to start — is to proceed with caution. You might experience postcoital bleeding for many reasons, and not all of them are a big deal. But some of them can be serious or need some TLC to recover properly.
Ultimately, if you spot a bit of blood after sex and don’t experience any other symptoms, it’s probably not a crisis situation. However, a visit to your gynecologist or healthcare provider is always a good idea if something is going on with your sexual health — if not only for peace of mind.
Of course, there’s no reason to panic, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
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