Bleeding After Sex: Causes

By Spader, Catherine RN

What causes bleeding after sex?

Bleeding after sex, even if it consists of light spotting, is not normal. Bleeding after sex may be caused by a relatively minor condition, such as vaginal dryness, but it may also be caused by serious or life-threatening conditions, such as cervical cancer or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Potential causes of bleeding after sex

Bleeding after sex can be caused by a variety of diseases, disorders or conditions that affect the vagina, cervix or uterus. Underlying causes of abnormal bleeding after sex include:

  • Cervical dysplasia, abnormalities in cells of the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer

  • Malignancies, such as cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, or endometrial cancer (uterine cancer)

  • Growths on the cervix or in the uterus, such as cervical polyps, uterine polyps, or uterine fibroids

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis

  • Vaginitis or cervicitis, an infection or inflammation of the vagina or cervix, which may be caused by sexually transmitted diseases or other types of infections, such as a vaginal yeast infection or Gardnerella vaginalis infection

  • Trauma to the vagina or cervix due to vaginal dryness and lack of lubrication, or traumatic  sexual intercourse due to child abuse or sexual assault

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or other reproductive organs

What are the potential complications of bleeding after sex?

In some cases, bleeding after sex can be due to an underlying condition that can result in serious or life-threatening complications. You can minimize the risk of serious complications of bleeding after sex by seeking early medical care and following the treatment plan designed by you and your health care professional. Complications of bleeding after sex and its underlying cause can include:

  • Chronic pelvic pain

  • Difficulty getting pregnant and infertility

  • Ectopic pregnancy

  • Metastatic cancer that can become terminal

  • Pelvic adhesions and scarring of the fallopian tubes

  • Severe hemorrhage


  1. Diagnosis and treatment of atrophic vaginitis. American Family Physician.
  2. Vaginal bleeding between periods. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

What is bleeding after sex?

Bleeding after sex is a condition in which there is any type of light to severe bleeding from the vagina after vaginal sexual intercourse. Bleeding after sex, also known as bleeding after intercourse, can result from a variety of conditions or diseases that include:

... Read more about bleeding after sexintroduction


What other symptoms might occur with bleeding after sex?

Bleeding after sex may occur with other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, bleeding after sex due to vaginal dryness may occur with other symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings and cessation of menstrual periods.

Symptoms that may occur along with blee... Read more about bleeding after sexsymptoms

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jul 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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