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).
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Last reviewed: May 2019