Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Vaginal bleeding after sex

2-minute read

Many women will experience vaginal bleeding after sex. The blood usually comes from the cervix, although other parts of your reproductive system may be involved.

If you’re pre-menopausal and the bleeding doesn’t happen very often, it’s probably nothing to worry about. But it’s always a good idea to tell your doctor or visit a family planning clinic, especially if it happens more than once. Let them know if you could be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection.

Any bleeding from the vagina after menopause should be checked by a doctor. They may refer you to a gynaecologist.

If you are bleeding very heavily or you feel faint or as if you might pass out call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero (000) does not work on your mobile phone, try calling 112.

Bleeding after sex may be caused by several things, such as:

  • inflammation of the cervix (also known as cervical erosion). This is common in young women, pregnant women, or women taking the contraceptive pill
  • vaginitis (infection of the vagina)
  • small polyps (growths) on the surface of the cervix. These are often benign, meaning they’re not cancerous
  • a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia, genital herpes or syphilis
  • a condition called cervical ectropion, where the inner lining of the cervix comes through the opening into your vagina
  • changes to the cells in the cervix
  • vaginal dryness
  • a tear or cut in the vagina
  • pelvic inflammatory disease
  • friction during sex, or inadequate lubrication
  • cancer — although this is rare (less than 1 in 100 women who bleed after sex have cancer)

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about vaginal bleeding after sex, use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: May 2019

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Pregnancy: Vaginal Bleeding | HealthEngine Blog

Vaginal bleeding can occur early in thepregnancy (spotting) or late (antepartum haemorrhage) and should be investigated by a medical professional.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Vaginal bleeding - irregular - Better Health Channel

If you suffer from ongoing vaginal bleeding problems, see your doctor.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Symptoms in Pregnancy | HealthEngine Blog

Symptoms commonly experienced during pregnancy include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, nausea and vomiting and weight gain.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Placenta praevia | HealthEngine Blog

In placenta praevia, the placenta grows in an incorrect position, covering the opening of the uterus. It typically causes painless vaginal bleeding.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Guidance for management of troublesome vaginal bleeding with progestogen-only long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) | Family Planning NSW

Family Plannning Alliance Australia guidance for management of troublesome vaginal bleeding with progestogen-only long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)

Read more on Family Planning NSW website

Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT)

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), now more commonly known as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), is not a quick fix for the challenge of menopause, but it can reduce troublesome symptoms.

Read more on myDr website

Menopause management | Jean Hailes

Management and treatment of menopausal symptoms depends on each individual woman. Healthy living, natural and complementary therapies including herbs and phytoestrogens, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), some antidepressant medications and medications ty

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) | HealthEngine Blog

Postpartum haemorrhage refers to vaginal bleeding within six weeks of childbirth which results in loss of more than 500 ml of blood.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Ectopic pregnancy - myDr.com.au

Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that implants outside the uterus (womb). Most ectopic pregnancies occur in one of the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition.

Read more on myDr website

Complications of Pregnancy | HealthEngine Blog

Pregnancy is a normal and natural event. However, it may pose risks to the mother. Complications can include ectopic pregnancy, placenta praevia, placental abruption, preeclampsia or premature delivery.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo