Why am I bleeding after intercourse?

Written by: Mr Ashfaq Khan
Published: | Updated: 21/04/2020
Edited by: Cameron Gibson-Watt

The medical name for vaginal bleeding after sex is post-coital bleeding and there are many reasons why it can occur. Any woman of any age can experience it and, in fact, it’s quite a common occurrence. It is believed that most women will experience vaginal bleeding or spotting either during or after sex at least once in their life.


Mr Ashfaq Khan is a leading gynaecologist and obstetrician based in London, who has over 20 years of experience in dealing with this vaginal condition. He describes the more common and rarer causes of vaginal bleeding and when might be a good idea to see a specialist about it.



Is it normal to bleed after sex?

No. It is very important to consult a doctor if you notice bleeding either during and after sexual intercourse. However, a single episode of bleeding following intercourse before menopause may not be serious but should be carefully observed.


If you have already passed through menopause, then bleeding necessitates a visit to the doctor.


Why do I bleed after sex?

There are various reasons why you may bleed after sex. Most of the time, it is can be caused by one of the following:


  • trauma, such as tears in the vagina caused by dryness or too much friction
  • inflammation, which might be present due to cervical ectropion in which there is an inflamed area of the cervix
  • an infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease or an STI
  • polyps, these are non-cancerous growths either in the womb or lining of the cervix


More suspicious causes could be pre-cancer or cancer of the cervix, vagina, or endometrium (lining of the womb). Rarely, auto-immune diseases like lichen sclerosis, Lichen Planus and psoriasis can cause such bleeding.


I’m bleeding after sex but it’s not painful: should I see a doctor?

Pain is not usually accompanied with post-coital bleeding. Most of the time, bleeding after intercourse without pain is more related to some pathology. It is important not to ignore bleeding after sex.


I’m bleeding after sex and it is painful: should I see a doctor?

Yes. Mainly for two reasons:


Firstly, if the bleeding is trauma-related than you may need to either repair the trauma or get treatment for it. Otherwise, the bleeding is very likely to continue.


Secondly, this condition can lead to dyspareunia (painful sex) and chronic pain which can significantly affect your sexual life.


I’m bleeding after sex and I’m pregnant: what does it mean?

It is not unusual to experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, but for many couples, it can cause significant distress. Though the risk of miscarriage or premature labour is not so common, it is strongly advised to see a doctor to exclude those causes.


Most of the time the source of bleeding is the cervix or vagina rather than from inside the womb. It is better to see a colposcopist (gynaecologist with colposcopy experience) who is more experienced to assess the cervix and vagina.


When should you see your gynaecologist about vaginal bleeding?

It is especially important to see a gynaecologist if there is any bleeding after menopause (over 50 years of age), during pregnancy or in anyone who has had a previous abnormal cervical smear result. Otherwise, if the bleeding is sporadic and minimal then you can wait for a couple of months to see if it clears up on its own.


That being said, it is always better to see a gynaecologist who is in a much better position to assess the condition and provide appropriate management.


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, do not hesitate to contact Mr Khan by visiting his Top Doctors profile and booking a consultation.

By Mr Ashfaq Khan
Obstetrics & gynaecology

 Mr Ashfaq Khan is an award-winning gynaecologist & obstetrician based in London. He possesses over 25 years of vast experience in the treatment of gynaecological issues, including HPV infections, PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and post-menopausal bleeding. He also performs colposcopy, smear tests and well-women check ups and holds a special interest in lower genital tract disease and minimal access surgery.

Mr Khan is the founder and clinical director of Harley Street Clinic, which offers unique, specialised treatment for Arabic, French and Japanese women and is proud to provide a ‘what suits me’ management plan. He is highly skilled and performs over 500 colposcopy examinations and treatments each year.

He studied medicine at Dhaka University, qualifying in 1996 and became a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2017. He trained in a number of renowned hospitals, including St Bart's, the Royal London and The Whittington Hospital.
Mr Khan is committed to educating future medics, currently undertaking a post as an honorary senior clinical lecturer at University College London. He is also the course director of advanced and basic colposcopy courses in the UK, Gulf, South Asia & Africa and a teacher of women’s health and examiner for final year MBBS Medical students.

Furthermore, he is dedicated to research and continues his research work at University College London, examining the molecular immunology behind the connection between HPV infections and cervical pre-cancer. His research works have been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and he has co-authored a colposcopy text book alongside Professor Albert with Professor Albert Singer and received the prestigious Ranzo Barraso Award (Founder's award) from the European Federation of Colposcopy.

Mr Khan believes that health care should be accessible to everyone and established Base Health Foundation, which works to deliver medical education to those who are economically challenged, 

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