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 polyps or fibroids
Two types of growths on pelvic organs can cause post-sex bleeding: polyps and fibroids.
“A cervical polyp is a benign (non-cancerous) growth on the cervix,” explains Carriveau. We don’t know why they happen, but it’s usually recommended to have them removed, and they’re often discovered during routine pelvic exams. “A polyp may become irritated during sex and bleeding can occur.”
Fibroids, on the other hand, grow in the uterus and often cause bleeding that may or may not be associated with intercourse, says Char’ly Renee Snow, certified nurse midwife and director of midwifery services at Henry Ford Health System. One red flag that you might be dealing with fibroids? “Painful and heavy menstruation frequently accompany fibroids,” says Snow. Usually, they’re diagnosed via ultrasound. “The management of fibroids depends on the severity of symptoms and should be discussed with your provider.”