Ever look down after things get hot and steamy and notice some blood on the sheets even though you’re not on your period? Or maybe things have gotten a little more potent than usual “down there.” These are just some of the many strange, annoying and sometimes frightening side effects of sexual activity that are rarely discussed. Although these side effects are extremely common and will often turn out to be completely harmless, they can also be red flags of something a lot more dangerous.
Post-coital bleeding is actually very common, affecting over 9 percent of sexually active women. The most common explanations for this frightening occurrence have to do with the cervix. Cervicitis or cervical polyps will often result in a fair amount of bleeding after intercourse and can be treated very effectively. However, pelvic organ prolapse, gonorrhea, chlamydia, cervical ectropion, herpes, and even cervical cancer can also cause post-coital bleeding, so it is very important to alert a healthcare professional if you struggle this issue.
Since the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, a little clear to white discharge is completely normal— especially after intercourse. However, if the discharge is discolored, thick and chunky, or has a foul smell, it could be something more serious. Usually, this abnormal discharge will be coupled with itching, burning, or pain in the genital region and suggests that you could be at risk for a vaginal infection or a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Many women report cramping and pain after sex, and there are several explanations for this phenomenon. Often times, there is a harmless cause to the discomfort including your period or ovulation. But, the cramping can also hint at problems with your pregnancy, STIs such as hepatitis, chlamydia, and pelvic inflammatory disorder, and a possible reproductive disorder.
Sores, bumps, rashes
An itchy rash after sex often signals an allergic reaction to one of the irritants used before or during the act. Rarely, a rash with small white and red bumps can suggest the onset of herpes, which is a very common STI that affects up to 16 percent of all sexually active people. If you notice an open sore around the genital region, you are at a high risk for an STI. An open sore is a very common symptom of genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis or chancroid.
Burning after urinating
If you ever experience discomfort during urination, the leading cause is a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are bacterial infections that are much more common in women and can spread to the kidneys, bladder and urethra if left untreated. Painful urination can also be a symptom of an STI, bladder inflammation, and stones inside the urinary tract. To avoid your risk for many of these conditions, make sure to urinate after intercourse to properly flush out any bacteria from the body.
When it comes to your health, no question and no symptom is too small. Staying aware of your body and any changes within it is so important to maintaining a healthy and satisfying (sex) life! If you notice any of these symptoms, there is no shame in talking to a healthcare professional about it! Chances are, he or she has probably helped dozens of people with the same issue and can seriously increase your comfort during and after intercourse.