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March 14th, 2011
08:42 AM ET

What would cause bleeding during sex?

Thanks for your question. I'm glad that you got checked out and that your tests were normal. Bleeding during or after sex is a relatively common occurrence that can have many causes, most of which are not serious or dangerous. There are some instances when medical treatment is necessary, however, so further evaluation would be helpful if this bleeding continues. To better help you, I consulted Dr. Gary Glasser of Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics in Decatur, Georgia. Dr Glasser shares the following information:

Bleeding after sexual intercourse (also called "post-coital bleeding") is not rare; up to 10% of women have had this at some point in their lives. Abnormal bleeding can bring up the thought, "Is this cancer?" Fortunately, the risk of cancer with post-coital bleeding is not common (thousands of women will have this type of bleeding for every one cancer found).

Should a woman have an episode of post-coital bleeding, she should see her health care professional. The vagina may be the source of the blood, as small tears from intercourse may occur at any age (but more commonly after menopause due to the loss of elasticity or "vaginal dryness" as it is commonly known). The cervix may have a benign (not life-threatening) condition where the cells usually found on the inside the cervical canal are on the outside of the cervix. These cells are sensitive to touch (such as during a Pap smear or intercourse) and may bleed. Any vaginal discharge should be cultured and looked at under a microscope, since infections such as chlamydia can cause bleeding if they affecting the cervix. Also, benign cervical polyps (they look like little skin tags on the cervix) can easily and painlessly be removed in an office setting.

A Pap smear should be done if the woman is due for one (depending on her age and previous Pap smear history) and any lesions on the cervix (or the vagina) should be biopsied to evaluate for pre-cancer or cancer of the cervix.

In the majority of cases, however, no cause is found for the post-coital bleeding. If the bleeding persists or there is bleeding other than post-coital, a further evaluation of the cervical canal and/or uterus should be done by a gynecologist.


soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Liz Christian

    Nice comments very grown up and caring. I had a polyp. It bled. I was scared for days it was cancer. Thankful it wasn't.

    March 14, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. varks

    Yeah bleeding may not be a major problem but it could be. For example, I was only 23 at the time but this happened to me and I ended up being diagnosed with a serious issue that could have lead to uterine cancer. It is fairly rare in females my age (more likely to happen to women in during their menopausal years) but it did happen to me. Now I have biopsies once a year. I had surgery and I have been on medication ever since. Any time you are bleeding for "no reason" it isn't a joke.

    March 14, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aubrie

      I too had this. Had to have the cervix "de-nuded" of the surface layer. Burned inside and out. It was uncomfortable but it remedied the problem for a few years anyway... Until the pap smears started coming back funky. Then I had to have a hysterechtomy. Cervix removed as well. It was the start of cancer. Nothing to fool around with.

      March 14, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      I had it too, and no cause was ever found. Twenty years afterward I am still just fine. So, definitely see your doctor, but the odds are great that nothing serious is wrong.

      March 18, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
  3. kate

    This is to brainsnnotbibles !!! It appears you have neither... brains nor bibles !! You certainly would benefit from both !!! Idiot !!!

    March 14, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Keishae

      Hi Kate, I really dont understand why you would put such a comment like that when people are trying to get helpful information to find out what could possibly be wrong with them. I guess you are the person who has not had a medical problem to deal with in your life and I guess you look at yourself as BLESSED yet you will put something like you did on a website when people are just trying to get help. We are not the idiots yet look in the mirror and you will certainly be looking at the BIGGEST IDIOT of all time.

      July 28, 2011 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
  4. bigrichard

    A gunshot wound to the leg?

    March 14, 2011 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. livinglifeincalifornia

    I have this problem, especially during intercourse. I have been to 2 doctors, however, I have Blue Shield of California. My last doctor sent me to get xrays, blood tests, and so on. After about 1000, out of my pocket because Blue Shield of California would not pay for the unecessary xrays, and my return visit, I still have the problem, first doctor told me I need to lose wieght and the second one said its normal. Talk about pathetic!

    March 14, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bob, Fresno, CA

    Bleeding is bad, santorum is good.

    March 14, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. suzanne

    Why wasn't endometriosis mentioned? That's the most common reason for pain and bleeding with intercourse. One in 10 women has it, yet it's hardly discussed.

    April 5, 2011 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sean

    What if it is a male, and the bleeding is accompanied by excruciating pain?

    April 7, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • frank

      Sounds normal to me.

      April 9, 2011 at 17:36 | Report abuse |
  9. Lavonda dance

    Can bleeding during intercourse mean pragnancy

    November 13, 2011 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. LaShaun

    Im having that same problem but i have did a pap smear and there was nothing but I did go to the ER and they said that it was my uterus and it was irritated and a little swollen. But what is there for me to do?

    December 22, 2011 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. True

    It is happening more and more during sex. It is when my boyfriend doesn't take time to "warm my oven" that it is apparent. When I'm aroused it is not a problem. Why?

    February 5, 2012 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Kristen

    I was having a lot of cramping with orgasms or sometimes even just from getting worked up. I went to two different doctors and they both said that if it wasn't bothering me all the time, I shouldn't worry about it. They told me just to take tylenol before sex. I assumed it was my IUD and had it removed. Now, I'm still on a progesterone-only birth control and the last two times I've had sex, I have bleed during sex. It wasn't rough or anything, and I am not on my period. I'm wondering if these could be related or if something serious is going on.

    February 18, 2012 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. ann

    i'm 48 y/o and still have my regular perods..i wonder why i have spotting after sex...im not using any bcp..please help..

    March 23, 2012 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. pregnant

    Excellent web site. Plenty of useful information here. I'm sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks to your effort!

    June 21, 2012 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Tiffany

    Please email me if you have any information. I'm 18 years old and have had a regular periods, or what would be regular to me because I know when to expect my period for the past year and a half. Me and my boyfriend had actually had intercourse in between my ovulation and most fertile days. July came and in the beginning of the first few weeks I was waiting for my period. We ended up deciding well we will have some intercourse on the 16th of july. He immediately pulled out within a few minutes, if that. I asked him what was wrong and he said it feels different. & that's when I noticed the blood. and for the next 2 days I had cramps that we're just about equal in pain to my menstral cramps. Then they stopped and I continued to bleed with no pain.(mind you during my menstral time I do bleed heavy and I cramp badly.) leading up to Yesterday, the bleeding got lighter and finally stopped and then I would only bleed when I went to the bathroom to pee. by 1 o'clock yesterday I had passed a semi large gray clump. I couldn't exactly describe it. After that there was really no more bleeding. About an hour ago me and my boyfriend stupidly decided to have intercourse. He said it didn't feel different but when I checked I was bleeding again accompanied by plenty of clear mucus. it wasn't much blood and this whole time of bleeding found July 16th til today I can say it was nothing like a normal period. today would make my last day of my so called period.. If that's what this is. if it's a late period I'm curious as to why because normally I expect my period Within the first 2 weeks of the month. never later than that. now I frequently feel like I have to pee. I have no idea what to do it stressful it's confusing I just wanna know what's going on with my body. please email me back if you have any ideas or questions that could lead up to any kind of answers I would appreciate anything. tparenteau08@gmail.com

    July 18, 2012 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • crystal

      hi, I saw your post as I was looking around online. Sounds like you are pregnant and are losing your mucous plug. Please see doctor.

      December 28, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
  16. patrice

    I just would like to know is it posibble I can take meds. So that this doesn't accrue any more

    November 24, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. meagan

    Please help me if you know anything about this. Im 19 and for a while now, after i have intercourse i bleed. sometimes its a little, and sometimes its alot. Saturday night, me and my bf had intercourse and i started bleeding, but it wasnt really blood, it was a clear-pinkish color. I dont think im pregenant since i was on birth control for awhile. but i have been off of it for 2 months and still havent had a period. is that normal or should i be worried and take a test?? help me if u can please!!

    June 4, 2013 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ale

    please help me nd my bf have sex nd it lasts for 15minutes aftr that i slightly bleed dis happends very rarely but im worried. wat am i supposed to do please help

    June 8, 2013 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Lena

    I'm 17 years old .Mostly everytime me & my boyfriend have sex , i bleed.Sometimes it hards & sometimes it doesn't.We've had sex plenty of times but i still bleed .I don't understand.Is there something wrong with me? Should I see a doctor ? I'm getting really scared.HELP ME D:

    June 17, 2013 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Aisha obatolu

    Love what I have read, but am not convinced enough.you mean I shouldn't fear if I see blood during sex?

    October 26, 2013 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.