If you’ve ever noticed spotting—or outright bleeding—after sex, you know it can be terrifying. Before you freak out, here’s the good news: There are lots of potential reasons that bleeding after sex can happen, and many of them have easy fixes. Still, it’s important to get to the bottom of what’s causing this common symptom, since it can indicate a variety of health issues.
Here, eight reasons you could be spotting after getting it on.
You have this common condition
If you’re experiencing bleeding post-sex, most often, it’s coming from the cervix,” explains Amber Carriveau, a nurse practitioner and program director of the College of Nursing at Michigan State University. If you need a refresher, your cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus, which opens into the vagina. But there’s a common condition that may make this more likely.
“Cervical ectropion, found mostly adolescents and women under the age of 30, is a condition where the lining of the upper cervix is found on the vaginal side of the cervix.” There’s no single cause of cervical ectropion, but it can be the result of hormonal changes, hormonal birth control use, and pregnancy. Because the lining of the upper cervix is made from a different, more sensitive tissue, sex can easily irritate it and cause light bleeding. Usually, cervical ectropion goes away on its own, but in order to know if this is the reason behind your after sex bleeding, you’ll need to undergo a pelvic exam.