So you’ve just finished getting busy when you look down and realise… there’s blood on the sheets. You’re not on your period and it isn’t your first time, so what’s going on – and more importantly, should you do something about it?
Bleeding after sex: why it could be happening
Around 9% of women will experience this at some point in their lives, and the reasons for it are varied. There are four places you could be bleeding from: inside your vagina or from your vaginal septum (a piece of flesh that divides the vagina in half, and which occurs in around one in every 3000 to 80000 women – so not everyone has it); the entrance of your vagina; your cervix, or your uterus.
Other causes for vaginal bleeding include tiny fissures (cuts) near the entrance of the vagina, sometimes caused by excessive friction, and uterine bleeding, particularly if you’re close to getting your period. If the bleeding is caused purely by friction, you can help prevent it by lubing up well before and during sex. The more lube, the less chance of injuries and bleeding.
When you should visit your doctor
If the bleeding is very heavy, you may have torn your vaginal septum – think soaking through pads every hour or so. Obviously, if you are bleeding this heavily, you should get to an emergency room as quickly as possible.
However, even if you’re not bleeding severely, you should see your doctor, gynae or clinic as soon as possible if you notice any kind of bleeding after sex. Whether or not it’s accompanied by pain, and even if it disappears quickly, vaginal bleeding can indicate STIs such as HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and others, as well as polyps and even more worryingly, cervical cancer.
Bleeding and cervical cancer
Regular bleeding from the cervix can be an early warning sign of cervical cancer, one of the deadliest types of the disease. It requires early detection if it’s to be treated effectively. This is also why it’s critical to be up to date on your pap smears.
How much do you know about HPV, pap smears and cervical cancer? Get clued up quickly with these helpful articles:
- Pap smear, oh yeah: the quick health check keeping you cervical-cancer free
- Cervical cancer: the facts you need to know
- HPV and cervical cancer: the importance of pap smears
- Are you 21 or older? Here’s why you need a regular pap smear
Where to get help
If you’re concerned about your symptoms, visit your nearest Marie Stopes centre as soon as possible for a thorough health check. Find your nearest Marie Stopes centre and make an appointment online now for a thorough and confidential health check.