Definition - What does Postcoital Bleeding mean?
Postcoital bleeding is bleeding from the vagina during or after vaginal sexual intercourse that is not related to menstrual bleeding. The source of bleeding can be any part of the lower reproductive tract of a female that includes the vagina, cervix, uterus and the skin and mucosal lining around the vaginal opening. The presence of postcoital bleeding may indicate a condition like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or a cervical infection that can be an underlying cause of infertility. Therefore, a thorough evaluation and treatment of postcoital bleeding is recommended for any women experiencing infertility.
FertilitySmarts explains Postcoital Bleeding
While around 1 to 9 in every 100 women may experience postcoital bleeding, it does not always indicate a serious illness. The most common causes of postcoital bleeding are problems in the inner lining of the vagina and cervix such as an injury during intercourse, polyps in the cervix or uterus, infection of the cervix or vagina and cervical ectropion. Some of the other conditions that can give rise to postcoital bleeding are pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, and foreign bodies. Rarely postcoital bleeding can be a symptom of a malignant condition in the reproductive system such as cervical, endometrial or vaginal cancer.
Postcoital bleeding does not typically cause serious complications. But it can be associated with significant blood loss or infection.
A pelvic examination by a clinician using a vaginal speculum, a tube-like instrument through which the vagina and cervix are visualized, is sometimes adequate to detect the source of the bleeding. Other investigations like ultrasound scanning, obtaining samples for biopsy and to identify infection may be required based on the nature of the underlying condition.