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What is Cervical Bleeding?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Cervical bleeding is bleeding which originates from the cervix. There are a number of potential causes for bleeding from the cervix, and women are usually encouraged to go to a gynecologist for evaluation if they experience bleeding. The flow of blood can be light or heavy, depending on the issue, and may cause spotting or streaking between periods, or an unusually heavy menstrual flow. Any bleeding which differs from the norm can be a cause for concern.

A gynecologist can determine the source of abnormal bleeding with a physical examination. If the blood is coming from the cervix, the gynecologist will determine which area of the cervix appears to be bleeding, and check for any signs of obvious abnormalities or issues. A small tissue sample may also be taken for analysis. The examination should also include a discussion with the patient about when the onset of the bleeding occurred, any pre-existing conditions the patient has, and additional symptoms which may be important to know about.

Many infections can cause this type of bleeding. Yeast infections, cervical irritation, bacterial infections, and sexually transmitted infections such as the human papilloma virus have all been linked with cervical bleeding. In these cases, the cervix may have an “eroded” appearance, meaning that it looks rough and inflamed, and the woman may experience unpleasant discharge in addition to the bleeding, such as thick mucus or a strong-smelling discharge. Itching and burning sensations can also occur.

Conditions such as uterine fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease can also lead to cervical bleeding, as can cervical cancer. In fact, bleeding can be an early warning sign of cervical cancer. A biopsy sample can determine whether or not cancerous cells are present on the cervix, and if they are, what stage the cancer has reached.

Abnormal bleeding can also be caused by some forms of hormonal birth control and intrauterine devices. If a woman has recently started using birth control or has changed methods, this can explain abnormal bleeding. Women can also experience bleeding after sexual activity in some cases; women who regularly experience bleeding after sex should discuss the situation with a gynecologist.

Treatment for cervical bleeding generally involves determining the cause and addressing it. A woman may need to wear pads until the source of the bleeding can be addressed. Treatments can include medications to address infections, a change of birth control method, or surgery to remove abnormal cells from the cervix.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon993129 — On Oct 25, 2015

I'm 61 and recently started noticing some vaginal spotting. I've had no vaginal pain and have not engaged in any sex for quite a few years. I had cervical cancer (stage 3 dysplasia) in Dec. 1988 and chose to have a hysterectomy in Jan.1989. I've already gone through menopause (about 1 1/2 - 2 years ago). I have always been very faithful with my annual pap tests! However, this year I've delayed my exam due to lots of other tests and doctor appointments for several other issues with my health (none having to do with my female parts).

I'm a little concerned. Sound familiar to anyone?

By anon285728 — On Aug 17, 2012

My nurse told me during my smear test that I had spotting, and asked how was my health. I told her I had bleeding from the back passage and had a small operation in September. She asked was I sure the blood was coming from there, since I'm still bleeding from time to time, but I was unsure.

Sex has always been painful unless I take a drink, and now I'm worried because I have a lymph node on my jaw that flares up now and again and they can't find the reason for this either.

By anon267221 — On May 09, 2012

Two weeks ago, we had sex. It was the day after my period was finished but he was very rough when he was climaxing. I was left in extreme pain in my lower abdomen for three days, then the pain went away completely.

I normally don't have intercourse so soon after my period, but on this day I did. I spotted the whole week afterward and then we had intercourse again but he was gentle this time but the next day I was bleeding heavily. Also, I noticed that today on my way to work I was bleeding quite heavily but the blood was a very bright red and looked like normal blood.

I have booked an appointment with the doctor but that won't be for another week.

Can anyone please advise me if my friend ruptured my cervix?

By anon167735 — On Apr 13, 2011

I have light (like new) blood bleeding from my vagina. I do not have any std. What can it be?

By anon147019 — On Jan 28, 2011

I had a miscarriage in August 2010, and since then I haven't had a normal menstrual period. It's either light bleeding(spotting), or nothing at all. I went to the clinic and they said it might be because of hormonal imbalance.

What's worrying me now is that, for the past two weeks, I am experiencing the light bleeding. I would call that spotting and its not just ending. Do you think this is a sign of cancer? I'm beginning to feel some mild pains in my lower abdomen. I'm worried!

By anon140242 — On Jan 06, 2011

I have experienced bleeding after intercourse (and sometimes simply after orgasm) for years. Three different GYNs investigated and two diagnosed a friable cervix, an area which is simply prone to bleeding. None have offered solutions, none have given me a cause or helped in any real way. Mostly it's greeted with a shrug and no information which is exceedingly frustrating.

Aside from a hysterectomy, there seems to be no recourse. I and my husband are at the end of our rope. Please advise.

By anon128699 — On Nov 20, 2010

I usually experience bleeding during sex. What usually causes it?

By anon122602 — On Oct 28, 2010

HPV accounts for roughly about 65 percent of cervical cancer cases. Having cervical cancer doesn't necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer. Bleeding from cervix can be caused by: cervical cancer, uterine cancer, fibroids, and endometriosis.

The following tests should be administered: pap, ca-125, hpv, if tests are still negative, then proceed with ultrasound and salpingo hysterogram, to detect physical abnormalities.

Since endometriosis causes scar tissue (adhesions) which aren't normally picked up by ct scan and u/s then do laparoscopy to get a visual of uterus and surrounding structures.

By anon121298 — On Oct 23, 2010

I have a six month baby girl and have recently got my mensuration in late september. However, I began to experience some light bleeding from my cervix since early October and my nurse gave me prescription for infection that I should take for ten days. but the bleeding continues heavily! what should I do?

By pharmchick78 — On Aug 01, 2010

@FirstViolin -- Sorry to hear you've been having something like that going on.

The short answer is, although it is extremely rare for a virgin to have HPV, it is possible, particularly if you have had any kind of sexual contact, even without penetration.

However, from what you're describing, I would have your doctor check it out anyway -- at least he or she can put your mind to rest!

By FirstViolin — On Aug 01, 2010

OK, so this is a little bit nerve-wracking, but I've been having abnormal cervical bleeding lately and I'm really afraid that it is cancer.

I haven't had sex yet, but a lot of websites seem to say that the most common cause of cervical bleeding is HPV -- could I have this?

By pleats — On Aug 01, 2010

One of the other causes of cervical bleeding is cervical displasia.

This is often most noticeable after intercourse, and is caused by changes in precancerous cells in the cervix.

You can help to prevent cervical displasia by having regular Pap smears -- that not only lowers your chances of getting it, but it also gives you the earliest head's up possible for cervical cancer.

Other good tips to prevent cervical displasia include avoiding STDs, and having sex with as few partners as possible.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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