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I'm bleeding a lot after sex! What's wrong with me?

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Elle asks:

I'm worried because I bleed after having sex. At first it was only a little bit, but now it's a lot!
I don't know what's wrong with me.

Susie replies:

Assuming that it's definitely not menstrual blood, whenever a woman bleeds after sex, it's generally the result of an injury.

Sometimes if there's blood spotting and pain after sex, it's because there's an infection in the cervix like trichomoniasis, Chlamydia or gonorrhea. Irritation in the cervix can result in light bleeding. If you suspect this might be the case, see a doctor and get tested for STDs. Trich, Chlamydia and gonorrhea are all curable with the right antibiotics. Your partner may need to be treated, too, otherwise you'll both get reinfected.

More commonly, tearing and abrasions are to blame for the bleeding. These can be eased with the use of condoms and water-based lubricant during sexual play. If penetration hurts, you need to tell your partner to ease up and slow down. Bleeding should never last more than a day. If you are bleeding fresh blood three days after your sexual encounter, see a doctor! You might have serious injuries. A pelvic exam can determine the extent of the tissue trauma, if there is any. In case you are bleeding a lot, do NOT use a tampon to soak it up. Avoid all penetration until it heals. Use a pantiliner in the mean time.

written 13 Jan 2008 . updated 21 Jan 2014

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