Causes of postcoital bleeding

Postcoital bleeding is one that occurs in women after having sex. The medical term used to refer to this situation is coitorrhagia. It is a fairly frequent situation that is not related to menstruation.

Many women who experience this postcoital bleeding tend to get scared. However, it is estimated that it happens to almost 10% of women. In addition, half of the cases are resolved spontaneously because they do not have a pathological cause.

In fact, there are many situations that can cause this postcoital bleeding. Therefore, in this article we explain the most relevant so you know what you can do if it happens to you. It is important to know that the ideal is always to consult the doctor with any questions.

Why does postcoital bleeding occur?

As we have already mentioned, postcoital bleeding has a very varied etiology. In fact, it is more common that it is a non-pathological cause and that it is resolved spontaneously, like a small wound from the friction of sex. Other possible causes are:

  • Vaginal dryness This same dryness is what causes a small tear during friction. It is very common that, if you are not sufficiently excited or nervous, the vagina is not as wet as it should be. In these cases, using a good lubricant may be the solution.
  • Use oral contraceptives. They are medicines that alter the hormonal cycle of women. The hormones have a significant impact on the moisture of the vagina, so contraceptives are also very much associated with dryness.
  • Having an infection, either a sexually transmitted disease or a fungal or bacterial infection of the vagina. It is very important to know that postcoital bleeding may be one of the first signs of STDs. You always have to go to the doctor to study this possibility and treat it.

Infections are much more frequent than we think. Also, as we just mentioned, it's not always about STDs. Many women experience bacterial or fungal infections throughout their lives for a simple drop in defenses or other reasons.

Pathological postcoital bleeding

On the other hand, it is true that this postcoital bleeding may have more serious causes. Although not as frequent, the bleeding may be due to an endometrial polyp, a uterine fibroid or even cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is the most serious cause of this postcoital bleeding. Fortunately, it is a pathology that has less and less incidence. This is so because women have gynecological exams more frequently.

Further, Many studies have shown that there is a relationship between cervical cancer and human papillomavirus. That is why, today, thanks to the vaccine against this virus, the number of women with this tumor has also been reduced.

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How can postcoital bleeding be diagnosed?

As we have just seen, the causes of postcoital bleeding can range from an easily treatable dryness to a more serious problem, such as cervical cancer. Thus, It is important that a correct diagnosis is made of the cause of this bleeding.

First of all, it is necessary to know if the bleeding is postcoital or not, and also differentiate it from possible menstruation. In the same way, It is essential to check that there are no lesions in the area that may be causing the blood, Like a little tear

The gynecologist will be responsible for conducting an exam of the entire area. In addition, complementary tests are usually requested, such as a vaginal cytology and a culture. Thus, infections or cancer can be ruled out.

On the other hand, to arrive at a diagnosis on the causes of postcoital bleeding, the complete situation must be explained to the doctor, if you have any other underlying disease or if you take any medication.

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In conclusion

Postcoital bleeding is a very frequent situation, which most of the time has no pathological origin. However, it is necessary to rule out that there is a disease that causes it, such as an infection. Therefore, it is important to go to the gynecologist if you have any questions.

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