Many women experience vaginal bleeding after sex at one time or another. In fact, up to 63 percent of postmenopausal women experience vaginal dryness and vaginal bleeding or spotting during sex. Additionally, up to 9 percent of menstruating women experience postcoital bleeding.
Occasional light bleeding is usually not a cause for concern. If you have certain risk factors or have gone through menopausebleeding after intercourse warrants a visit to the doctor.
Bleeding after sex is medically known as postcoital bleeding. It occurs in women of all ages. In women who have gone through menopause, the source of the bleeding is more varied. It can be from the:. In terms of causes, cervical cancer is the greatest concern. This is especially true for postmenopausal women.
However, postcoital bleeding is more likely to be caused by a common condition. Some infections can cause inflammation of the tissues Burning after sexually active with condom the vagina, which may lead to bleeding. GSM was formerly known as vaginal atrophy. As you get older, especially when your menstrual periods stop, your body produces less estrogen. Estrogen is the female hormone responsible for regulating your reproductive system. When your estrogen levels are lowerseveral things happen to your vagina.
Your body produces less vaginal lubrication, so your vagina can Burning after sexually active with condom dry and inflamed.
Lower estrogen levels also reduce the elasticity of your vagina. Vaginal tissues become Burning after sexually active with condom and shrink.
This can lead to discomfort, pain, and bleeding during sex. Vaginal dryness can lead to bleeding. In addition to GSM, vaginal dryness can be caused by many other factors, such as:. Polyps are noncancerous growths. A polyp dangles like a round pendant Burning after sexually active with condom a chain. Polyp movement can irritate the surrounding tissue and cause bleeding from small blood vessels. Sex, especially vigorous sex, can cause small cuts or scrapes to the vagina.
This is more likely to happen if you have vaginal dryness due to menopause, breastfeeding, or other factors. Irregular vaginal bleedingincluding bleeding after sex, is a common symptom of cervical or vaginal cancer.
In fact, it was the symptom for which 11 percent of women diagnosed with cervical cancer first sought treatment. Postmenopausal bleeding can also be a symptom of uterine cancer. The symptoms you may experience along with postcoital bleeding vary depending on the cause. If you have any vaginal bleeding after menopause, see your doctor right away.
You can visit your primary care doctor or gynecologist for postcoital bleeding. They may also ask about the color of the blood.
Because your symptoms are related to sexual activity, Burning after sexually active with condom doctor may also ask about your sexual history. For example, they might ask if you use condoms regularly or if you have more than one sexual partner.
Depending on your symptoms and sexual history, your doctor could recommend a physical exam. Examining the area may help your doctor find the source of the blood. Postcoital bleeding may come from your vaginal walls, cervix, urethra, or vulva. To help determine what's causing the bleeding, your doctor might also order tests, such as a pap smear, pregnancy test, and vaginal cultures to look for STDs.
Many women hesitate to visit their doctor about a sexual health question if they find pelvic exams uncomfortable. If your doctor does recommend a pelvic exam, talk to them about options to make it more comfortable for you. For example, case reports suggest that different leg positions and using water-based lubricants can make pelvic exams easier for some women. Vaginal bleeding, including bleeding after sex, can be a symptom of cervical and uterine cancers.
In addition to age, other risk factors include a family history of one of these cancers, being overweight for endometrial canceror taking birth control pills for five or more years for cervical cancer.
Being infected with human papilloma virus HPV is another risk factor for cervical cancer. Burning after sexually active with condom you experience postcoital bleeding and have gone through menopause, see your doctor to identify or rule out cervical and uterine cancers.
As with other types of cancer, treatment is most effective when the cancer is found and treated early. Following are some possible complications.
Heavy or prolonged bleeding can cause iron-deficiency anemia because the red blood cells in your body are depleted through blood loss.
Signs of anemia include:. If your anemia is caused by blood loss, your doctor may prescribe an iron supplement. But the most important source of iron is diet. If you Burning after sexually active with condom concerned about your iron levels, add more of these iron-rich foods to your diet:.
If you have vaginal dryness, you are at greater risk of getting a urinary tract infection. Bleeding after sex is commonly caused by vaginal dryness, but there are other more serious causes too. Postcoital bleeding can be a symptom of many conditions. Your doctor will first rule out cancer by examining your vagina and cervix, taking a pap smearand possibly conducting a biopsy. After cancer is eliminated as the cause of your bleeding, several steps may be taken to determine the source:.
If your bleeding is caused by Burning after sexually active with condom dryness, vaginal moisturizers can help. Applied regularly, these products are absorbed by the walls of the vagina. They increase moisture and help restore the natural acidity of the vagina. Vaginal lubricants also reduce uncomfortable friction during intercourse.
You may want to avoid products containing parabens or propylene glycol.