What triggers a woman’s post-sex bleeding?

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    A woman may bleed after intercourse for a variety of reasons. Postcoital bleeding is the medical term for this. If you are concerned about post-sex bleeding, consult a doctor or a sexual health centre (genitourinary or GUM clinic). They will inquire about your medical history as well as evaluate your symptoms. They will then be able to tell you if any treatment is required.

    Causes of sex-related bleeding

    Bleeding after intercourse can indicate a health problem:

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    What triggers a woman's post-sex bleeding?

    1. A sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia, or an illness, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
    2. Vaginal dryness (atrophic vaginitis) caused by decreased vaginal secretions after menopause vaginal injury, such as tears after delivery or dryness or friction during sex
    3. Polyps in the cervix or endometrium (benign or non-cancerous growths in the womb or the lining of the cervix)
    4. Cervical ectropion (also known as cervical erosion) is characterised by an inflammatory region on the cervix’s surface.
    5. In rare cases, post-sex bleeding might be a symptom of cervical or vaginal cancer.

    Is it normal for a woman to bleed the first time she has sex?

    No, not all the time. Some women will bleed after their first intercourse, while others will not. Both are very normal.

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    When a woman has penetrative intercourse for the first time, her hymen may stretch or rupture, causing her to bleed resulting in post-sex bleeding.

    The hymen is a small flap of skin that partially covers the vaginal opening. When some women begin having intercourse, it may stretch or rip. A stretched or torn hymen does not always indicate that a woman has lost her virginity.

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    The hymen can also easily stretch or tear before a woman has her first intercourse through:

    • masturbation
    • activities such as horseback riding and other sports
    • use of tampons


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    Because it does not usually produce pain or obvious bleeding, a woman may be unaware that her hymen has stretched or ripped.

    If you’re worried about post-sex bleeding, consult your doctor or a sexual health facility near you.

    Examinations and tests

    A doctor may offer various tests or examinations based on your symptoms and medical history for post-sex bleeding, such as:

    • a test for pregnancy (depending on your age)
    • an examination of the pelvis (where the GP inserts 2 fingers into your vagina to feel for anything unusual)
    • examining the cervix with a device known as a speculum

    If the post-sex bleeding is due to vaginal dryness, they may advise you to try lubricating gels. You may also be sent to a gynaecologist or genitourinary specialist.

    Cervical screening examinations

    To help prevent cervical cancer, all women aged 25 to 64 should have regular cervical screening tests.

    Why cervical screening?

    • Cervical screening (also known as a smear test) examines the health of your cervix. The cervix is the entrance from your vagina to your womb.
    • It is not a cancer test; rather, it is a test to help avoid cancer.
    • All women and adults with cervixes between the ages of 25 and 64 should be invited via mail.
    • A little sample of cells from your cervix will be obtained during the screening consultation.
    • The sample is tested for particular forms of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause alterations in your cervix’s cells. These are known as “high-risk” HPV varieties.
    • If certain forms of HPV are not discovered, no additional tests are required.
    • If certain strains of HPV are discovered, the sample is examined for alterations in the cells of your cervix. These can then be treated before they progress to cervical cancer.
    • When you may expect your findings letter, the nurse or doctor will inform you.
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