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's 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 possible that the hymen has been torn. It's also possible that the vaginal walls have been scraped by a partner's fingernails, in which case it's a good idea for to be examined and get treatment so that a vaginal infection doesn't develop.

In either case, it would be wise 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 wise 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 a visit to a health care provider for a check-up might be in order.

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. In this case, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is advised.

Alice!

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