Causes of postcoital bleeding
Postcoital bleeding is bleeding that occurs in women after they have had sex. The medical term for this is coitorragia. It is a fairly common condition not related to menstruation.
Many women who experience this postcoital bleeding tend to be frightened. However, it is estimated that it occurs in almost 10% of women. In addition, half of the cases resolve spontaneously because they have no pathological cause.
In fact, many situations can cause this postcoital bleeding. Therefore, in this article we explain the most relevant ones so that you know what you can do if it happens to you. It is important to know that ideally you should always consult your doctor if you have any doubts.
Why does postcoital bleeding occur?
As we have already mentioned, postcoital bleeding has a very varied etiology. In fact, it is more common for it to be a non-pathological cause and to resolve spontaneously, such as a small wound from friction of sex. Other possible causes are:
- Vaginal dryness. This same dryness is what causes some small tears 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 can be the solution.
- Use oral contraceptives. These are drugs that alter a woman's hormonal cycle. Hormones have a significant effect on the moisture in the vagina, so contraceptives are also strongly 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 should always go to your doctor to discuss this possibility and treat it.
Infections are much more common than we think. Also, as we just mentioned, it is not always about STDs. Many women experience bacterial or fungal infections throughout their lives simply because of lowered defences or other reasons.
Pathological postcoital bleeding
On the other hand, it is true that this postcoital bleeding can have more serious causes. Although it is not as common, the bleeding may be due to an endometrial polyp, a uterine fibroid, or even cervical cancer.
Cancer of the cervix is the most serious cause of postcoital bleeding.Fortunately, this is a condition that is becoming less common. This is due to the fact that women are having more frequent gynaecological check-ups.
In addition, many studies have shown that there is a link between cervical cancer and the human papilloma virus. That is why, today, thanks to the vaccine against this virus, the number of women with this tumour has also been reduced.
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. Therefore, it is important that the cause of this bleeding be correctly diagnosed.
First of all, it is necessary to identify whether the bleeding is postcoital or not, and also to differentiate it from a possible menstruation. Likewise, it is essential to check that there are no lesions in the area that may be causing the blood, such as a small tear.
The gynecologist will be in charge of performing an examination of the whole area. In addition, complementary tests are usually requested, such as a Pap smear and a culture. Thus, infections or cancer can be ruled out.
On the other hand, to reach a diagnosis about the causes of postcoital bleeding, you must explain to the doctor the complete situation, if you have any other basic disease or if you take any medication.
Postcoital bleeding is a very common situation, which most of the time has no pathological origin. However, it is necessary to rule out the existence of some disease that causes it, such as an infection. Therefore, it is important to go to the gynecologist if you have any doubts.