The regular function of vaginal secretion is an essential part of every healthy female reproductive system. Glands inside the cervix and vagina release this mucus to clean your uterus from bacteria and dead cells, to keep vagina clean and healthy, and to help in the prevention of various infections.
Vaginal discharge is perfectly natural phenomenon during the menstrual cycle and can be distinguished by amount, color, and odor. Its color can range from milky white to clear. The discharge will be thicker during ovulation, breastfeeding, and sexual arousal. Lastly, the smell can be different if you are pregnant or don’t keep good personal hygiene.
All in all, your vaginal discharge is an excellent indicator of what is going on down in the ‘lady’s parts’ of your body. As long as you know the difference between regular and abnormal discharge, you will be able to notice if something is awry. Get to know your body and help it to be healthy.
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Regular (White) Discharge after Intercourse
During intercourse, you probably experience orgasm, the pleasurable contractions which you can feel in your pelvic area, especially in the lower part of your vagina. These vaginal contractions are the reason why you will notice excessive amounts of discharge which secretes from your vagina after intercourse.
Anyway, you can notice fluids which can secrete from your vagina after every intercourse. This extra discharge is a sign that your reproductive organs function regularly and you don’t have any reason to worry. The appearance, color, and texture of your post-intercourse secretion, directly depends on your age, hormone levels (especially Estrogen level which directly depends on the phase of your menstrual cycle), and many other factors.
Normal healthy discharge after sex is a mixture of different fluids, and it usually implies:
Sexual arousal fluid – Sexual arousal aims to aid in the act of intercourse after your body is stimulated during foreplay. In fact, to help the act of sexual intercourse, your vagina will produce clear and thin fluid when you are sexually excited. This secretion will make sex more pleasurable and comfortable for both you and your partner. This mucus is usually clear, and a little bit slippery. Its texture is more often watery but also can be stretchy. Keep in mind that your body begins to produce this fluid within 30 seconds of sexual arousal and continue to produce it after intercourse as well.
Cervical mucus – Your cervix produces various types of mucus throughout the whole your menstrual cycle. The purpose of this secretion is to help your partner’s sperm to travel through your reproductive system and reach the mature egg. Usually, at the end of the period, your vagina discharges this cloudy and stretched mucus out.
Keep in mind that this secretion changes its clarity and increases its stretchiness during ovulation. At the end of your period, this secretion will dry up, become thicker, and look like discharge you can experience after sex.
Female ejaculate – I know that this information will be a surprise for many of you, but women also produce some ejaculate during intercourse. Actually, you have a small gland in your vagina which produces this female ejaculate fluid. This watery release appears when you are sexually aroused. When your body sprays or secretes it, you can have a feeling like when you urinate.
However, this phenomenon is not a rule and doesn’t depend on whether you have an orgasm or not. Some women ejaculate when they are aroused, and the other doesn’t. No one knows why this is so.
Male ejaculate – Unlike women, men almost always ejaculate during intercourse. If you don’t use a condom, his ejaculate will mix with your vaginal discharge after sex. It is easy for you to confuse the semen with your own vaginal discharge because they are very similar in color and appearance.
Abnormal Discharge after Intercourse
Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons that you can experience many types of abnormal discharge during sex. Some of them are harmless, but the other can be a result of a very severe problem which requires consultations with your gynecologist.
Unlike normal discharge which shouldn’t cause any adverse effects on your body, abnormal secretion usually makes you feel uncomfortable. Any change of usual amount, consistency, smell, color, and/or frequency followed by wetness or sore in the pelvic area and/or bleeding, requires your attention. Try to talk with your doctor and help him to find a reason for your abnormal discharge after intercourse.
We can divide the most common causes of abnormal discharge on sexual and non-sexual.
1 – Non-sexual causes force your vagina to increase the level of its cleaning. The secretion will protect you in various situations:
- Allergic reactions as a result of using antibiotics and/or steroids. Sometimes it can appear due to some ingredients in your diet which negatively affect your overall health.
- Any changing in PH of your vagina can lead to an abundant and unusual discharge. Scented soaps, bubble bath, or lotions can irritate mucous membranes in your vagina if they contain particular harmful chemicals. Also, every hormonal change, douching, menstrual blood, and sexual activity can be a reason for changing the pH of your vagina and consequential abnormal discharge.
- Very young girls very often experience an uncommon vaginal discharge at the beginning of their puberty.
- In some cases, post-menopausal women can experience unusual vaginal discharge at the onset of their menopause. It can be entirely harmless, but you should talk with your gynecologist to be sure that cervical cancer doesn’t cause this discharge.
- Thrush (a type of yeast infection) appears when it comes to a blooming of the natural yeast in your vagina in an excessive amount. It is followed by thick and cheesy secretion, intense itchiness, specific smell that resembles beer and bread, and vaginal sore.
- Birth control can be a cause of bleeding or brown discharge after sex because they can cause the random uterine lining stinging. You can expect the same result if you miss your pill, take an emergency contraceptive, or use intrauterine devices.
- In many cases, diabetes is one of the causes of a yeast infection, which leads to the occurrence of abnormal secretion.
- The lower level of Estrogen during menopause causes drying, thinning, as well as inflammation of the vaginal walls. It is possible that this vaginal atrophy (Genitourinary syndrome of menopause) causes abnormal discharge because the level of cervical fluid during intercourse starts to decrease.
2 – Sexual causes force your vagina to increase the level of its cleaning. The secretion can protect you in various situations:
- Bacterial Vaginosis is, unfortunately, a widespread cause of an abnormal gray and fish-like smelling vaginal release. You can’t get bacterial vaginosis during sex, but sexual activity can transmit various bacteria from other parts of your or your partner’s body in your vagina. This bacterial imbalance leads to infection.
- Women too often suffer from Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of their reproductive organs. The main symptoms are abnormal yellow or green vaginal discharge and unpleasant and unusual odor.
- Genital Herpes cause occurrence of blisters and sores around the genital area as well as a white discharge.
- Trichomoniasis is a well-known sexually transmitted disease. The specific symptoms of this infection are yellow or greenish frothy discharge, a fishy odor of secretion, itching and/or swelling in your vaginal area.
- Gonorrhea and Chlamydia – These sexually transmitted diseases always cause pain during urination, pain and/or bleeding after sex, and create the occurrence of uncomfortable green vaginal discharge.
- Human Papillomavirus is a causer of almost all cases of cervical cancer. The problem is that there are no relevant symptoms of HPV at all in the early stages of a disease. It is a reason why you have to take seriously any irregular vaginal discharge or bleeding as a possible sign that something is very, very wrong.
Types of Abnormal Discharge after Intercourse
After sex, there is a lot of regular vaginal discharge which is almost always transparent. If you have a different experience, it can mean a few things. White, yellow, pink, or brown vaginal discharge after sex, as well as bleeding, can have various meanings. Let’s face them.
Bleeding after Sex
Postcoital bleeding can occur in women of all ages. The sources of the bleeding can be various. Bleeding usually comes from the cervix in younger women, but in women who are in menopause it can vary and comes from uterus, cervix, labia, or urethra. I will give you a list of the most common reasons which cause bleeding after intercourse.
- Infections such as PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease), STD (Sexually transmitted disease), cervicitis, and vaginitis can cause inflammation of the vaginal tissues which can lead to bleeding.
- Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), formerly well-known as vaginal atrophy, is a usual phenomenon in women in menopause. Because of decreasing of Estrogen in your body, there is less production of vaginal lubrication. Your vagina becomes dry, inflamed, and less elastic. Vaginal tissue shrinks and gets thinner which leads to bleeding, discomfort, and pain during sex.
- If you recently had a baby, breastfeed your baby, had unprotected sex with multiple partners, douched too frequently, or weren’t fully aroused before sex, you have been at risk of bleeding after intercourse.
- There is a wide range of factors which cause vaginal dryness and significant bleeding after intercourse. The most frequent are:
- surgical removal of the ovary
- medications (antidepressants, asthma medications, anti-estrogen drugs)
- radiation therapy and chemotherapy
- chemicals (hygiene products, laundry detergents)
- Sjögren’s syndrome (a disease of the immune system which reduces the normal function of glands in the body which are responsible for moistening)
- Polyps are a type of non-cancerous growths in the body. If it grows on the cervix or in the uterus, their movements can irritate the healthy tissue and cause bleeding during intercourse.
- Vaginal Tearing – If you suffer from vaginal dryness during breastfeeding and menopause, vigorous sex will cause small scrapes or cuts to your vagina and cause bleeding during intercourse.
- As a common symptom of vaginal and cervical cancer very often occurs irregular vaginal bleeding. In fact, around 11% of women, who have cervical cancer, can notice bleeding after intercourse as the first symptom of this disease.
There are many ways you can prevent bleeding after intercourse depending on its cause.
Using silicone-based or water-based lubricants are the perfect solution for most women who suffer from bleeding after intercourse because of dryness of their vagina. Make love slowly and stop when you feel any discomfort or pain. Moisturizers will make you feel comfortable because they keep the vaginal area moist.
If bleeding after intercourse is connected with any medical condition, you should talk to your gynecologist about your best options. Try to deal on time with the problem to avoid future complications such as anemia (followed by weakness, fatigue, dizziness, unusually pale skin, headaches) and urinary tract infection.
Pink Discharge after Sex
There are a lot of reasons for the occurrence of pink secretion after sex, and they are not a cause for alarm in most cases. This type of secretion is very often a reaction to slight blood loss. Usually, it is connected with the damage of ordinary or atrophied vagina’s endothelial wall, pathological changes, and various disorders during pregnancy.
During intercourse, a little amount of blood can mix with your regular cervical mucus making its color becomes a little bit ‘pinky’. The reason for blood appearance indicates the disturbed integrity of vaginal vessels caused by many different reasons.
Menopause – It is the fact that vaginal mucous lining atrophies and becomes thinner during menopause. It makes vaginal wall susceptible to traumas. Plus, the production of lubricating substances in vagina decrease with ages, and intercourse, especially rough ones, very often cause micro-fissures and mild bleeding. You can try to use special lubricants, but you should visit your doctor to prevent any further problems including infection.
Trauma – No matter how old woman is, rough or violating sex will cause damage to the vaginal wall. In that case, pink secretion comes along with acute pain, genital discomfort, itching, and possible urethral function disturbances. Maybe you could slow down and bring some tenderness to your intercourse.
Menstruation – It is pretty usual to experience pink discharge at the beginning and/or end of your period. If it is the case, some amount of pinkish fluid can expel after sex.
Pregnancy – If you are pregnant, you can expect some bleeding after intercourse because it is not possible to avoid slightly scratching of your soft and sensitive cervix. However, you should be very careful if you notice bleeding during pregnancy, and visit your gynecologist to check if everything is OK. Keep in mind that untreated bleeding during pregnancy can be possibly dangerous for both a mother and a baby.
Birth control – If you are on birth control, don’t worry if you notice some spontaneous bleeding. It is pretty reasonable due to the thinning of your uterine lining.
A symptom of oncological pathology – There are some pre-cancerous conditions (dysplasia or erosion of the uterus), uterine, cervical, and endometrial cancers that can cause pink discharge after sex. Also, cervical polyps can cause decreasing of cervical fluid and consequential rupture of the blood vessels. You should pay attention to the appearance of abdominal cramps, incontinence, watery discharge, and pain during sex too.
Situations when you should start to worry
- Pink bleeding between periods which lasts longer than three days.
- Irregular spotting which happens during two to four menstrual cycles.
- The occurrence of severe bleeding after sex.
- Heavy periods, lower abdominal pain, pelvic pain, foul odor, pain during urinating or intercourse.
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting after menopause.
Brown Discharge after Sex
Brown release after sex can be completely harmless. There is a list of the most common reasons that can cause this type of secretion after you have enjoyed intercourse.
Endometrial cells – It is possible that brown discharge appears when your vagina expels some old blood from your previous period. Basically, it can occur at any time, regardless of whether you have sex or not. There is no reason to worry about unless you fill a pad within an hour. In that case, it is the time to visit your doctor.
Ovulation – From time to time, your uterine cells can separate from the surrounding tissue before your ovulation (in the middle of your menstrual cycle). When you have intercourse on the day when you ovulate, the color of this secretion will be darker than usual.
Implantation – It is not rare that you experience so-called ‘implantation bleeding’ after sex. It is actually brown secretion which is usual if you have sex on the day when the embryo fixes to your uterus. The reason is that blood from small blood vessels can accumulate in your cervix and can be expelled due to vaginal contractions during intercourse.
Stress – You already know that stress significantly affects your blood pressure and stress hormones influence your menstrual cycle. Consequently, this condition leads to hemorrhages, and accumulated blood gets dried and stay in your vagina. After vaginal contractions during intercourse, same old blood expels from your vagina as a brown discharge.
Birth control – Birth control pills which you take on a regular basis are one more general cause of brown secretion after intercourse. They cause the uterine lining to thin out and shed randomly. It can also happen if you miss a pill, take an emergency contraceptive, or use intrauterine devices.
You should start to worry when this type of discharge occurs:
- As a symptom of the Pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer, and sexually transmitted infections.
- During menopause.
- With frequent urination, itching, burning, unpleasant odor, uttering bleeding dysfunction, vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse, rash, and mouth ulcers.
If you notice any of listed symptoms, you should visit your doctor immediately.
Yellow Discharge after Sex
If you notice yellow discharge after intercourse, you can be sure that it is not a good thing under any possible circumstances. You probably have a problem with STDs, and it would be a wise decision to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Trichomoniasis – Greenish yellow secretion is a particular sign of this disease which is the most common infection in sexually active young women. Luckily, it is entirely curable. The other symptoms appear within five to 28 days of being exposed to the disease and include:
- Frothy and thick discharge with a strong sour odor.
- Irritation, itching, pain and/or burning during urination.
- Abdominal pain.
- Uncomfortable intercourse.
Gonorrhea – Yellow secretion can be a clear sign of gonorrhea. This sexually transmitted disease is usually followed by various symptoms including spotting after sex, swelling of your vulva, bleeding between periods, pelvic pain, and burning during urination.
In some women, gonorrhea can be asymptomatic so make sure to check your health regularly. Treating this STD is essential to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease, damaging of the fallopian tubes, and consequential ectopic pregnancy or infertility.
Chlamydia – Light yellow discharge can mean that you have problems with Chlamydia, the most common STD in the US. It is highly contagious and spreads exceptionally quickly. In 75% of cases, women don’t notice any symptoms.
If symptoms occur, you will notice neon yellow to slightly orange discharge, depending on the period of your cycle. You can also experience burning, itching, bleeding between periods, painful intercourse, abdominal pain, fever, and painful urination.
Be very careful because Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility if it is not treated on time. If you are pregnant, see your doctor immediately to avoid the risk of miscarriage. This infection can be transmitted from mother to child causing blindness, eye infections, and/or pneumonia in the baby.
Yeast infection – It can be a reason for vaginal discharge after sex. There are many ways to come in contact with this type of disease. Even though it can be transmitted through sex, the most forms of transfer are unrelated to intercourse and include using steroid and/or antibiotic, hormonal imbalance, douching, diabetes, stress, weak immune system, and pregnancy.
Symptoms of a yeast infection are pale yellow, cheese-like discharge, a foul odor, itching, burning, painful intercourse and urination, and soreness of the vulva. Taking care of a yeast infection is important because Candida Albicans can reach your bloodstream and cause a slew of other problems. Visit your doctor who will prescribe you some antifungal medication.
Health-care for Vaginal Discharge after Sex
If you have problems with discharge after intercourse, you should pay attention to good hygiene practice.
- Wear cotton underwear.
- Practice moderate douching which won’t lead to the elimination of ‘good’ bacteria in your vagina.
- Wipe your vagina up properly after washing because warm and moist areas make excellent conditions for bacteria breeding.
- Use condoms to protect yourself from STD and other diseases.
- Drink yogurt as much as possible when you need to take antibiotics and avoid the yeast infection.
- Avoid sexual activities with multiple partners if it is possible, especially when you are pregnant.
- Avoid deodorants in your vaginal area.
Vaginal discharge after sex is pretty standard, but you should make a difference between natural and abnormal secretions. In many cases, the color of your release is the best indicator what problem you need to deal with.
As long as you are aware of the problems that could happen, test yourself regularly, and talk to your gynecologist when you notice anything unusual, you can be sure that you will keep your reproductive system as healthy as possible.