It is not unusual for a woman to experience vaginal bleeding after intercourse. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims that 63 percent of postmenopausal women experience vaginal dryness and vaginal bleeding during intercourse. While occasional light bleeding is not usually a cause for concern, certain risk factors warrant a visit to the doctors. Here is what to know about vaginal bleeding after intercourse:
Causes of bleeding
In younger women who haven’t reached menopause, the source of the bleeding is usually the cervix. In women who have gone through menopause, the source of the bleeding is more varied. It can be from the:
Some infections can cause inflammation of the tissues in the vagina. This may lead to bleeding. These infections include:
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)
Previously known as vaginal atrophy, the condition is common in women in perimenopause and menopause. As you get older your body produces less estrogen. This causes your body to produce less vaginal lubrication, which may cause the vagina to become dry or inflamed. The elasticity of your vagina also reduces and the tissues become thinner. These factors can lead to discomfort and bleeding during intercourse.
There are many factors that contribute to vaginal dryness such as:
- having your ovaries removed
- certain medications, including cold medicine, asthma medications, some antidepressants, and anti-estrogen drugs
- chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- chemicals in feminine hygiene products, laundry detergents, and pools
Vaginal dryness can lead to small cuts or scrapes in the vagina causing bleeding during and after intercourse.
Noncancerous growths that can sometimes be found on the cervix. The movement can irritate the surrounding tissue and cause bleeding from small blood vessels.
A common symptom of cervical or vaginal cancer is irregular vaginal bleeding.
When to see a doctor:
According to Healthline, “If you aren’t menopausal, have no other risk factors, and have only minor spotting or bleeding that goes away quickly, you probably don’t need to see a doctor. If you have any vaginal bleeding after menopause, see your doctor right away.”
You should also consult your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms.
- vaginal itching or burning
- stinging or burning sensation when urinating
- painful intercourse
- heavy bleeding
- severe abdominal pain
- lower back pain
- nausea or vomiting
- unusual vaginal discharge