After intercourse or sex play, vaginal bleeding for days... Normal?

Originally Published: November 12, 1999 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: November 14, 2008
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(1) Dear Alice,

I had my first sexual experience on the weekend. Now I'm still bleeding. It's been about two days. Is this normal? How long does it last?

From,
Confused

 

(2)
Hi Alice,

Recently, my boyfriend and I were fooling around and he was fingering me. He has really big hands with really long fingers and, for the first time, I felt a lot of pain followed by a lot of pleasure. After he was done, I checked my underwear and it was drenched in blood. I am assuming that my hymen was broken but I didn't think it was supposed to bleed for over two days and certainly not this much. Is this normal or is something else happening?

Dear Confused and Reader #2,

It is normal for some women to bleed after having sexual intercourse for the first time. Bright red in color, the bleeding is caused by stretching of the hymen until it tears. If the bleeding continues, it will turn dark red and trail off until it stops, typically within a few days.

If a woman is penetrated with fingers and experiences bleeding, there are a few causes. If she's a virgin, it's likely that her hymen has been torn. It's also possible that her vaginal walls have been scraped by her partner's fingernails, in which case it's important for her to be examined and get treatment so that she does not develop a vaginal infection.

In either case, a woman needs to see a health care provider for a check-up if:

  • bleeding is significant (is heavier than the first couple of days of her period, is constant, and/or soaks through a tampon and a pad)
  • bleeding persists for more than a few days
  • there is pain that does not get better
  • she is worried about anything (for some peace of mind)

In order to heal, it's important not to have any vaginal penetration (no penises, fingers, tampons, etc.) and orgasm until after the bleeding has completely stopped. If bleeding returns after vaginal penetration or orgasm has resumed, then go to a health care provider for a check-up.

While it's highly likely that the bleeding is in response to a sexual act, it's also quite possible that it may not be related. If the bleeding starts out as dark, rather than bright, red in color, then there may be bleeding from the cervix or higher up in the uterus. This is not normal after first sexual intercourse and needs to be looked at by a health care provider as soon as possible.

Alice