Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 2014, 192087

Postcoital Bleeding: A Review on Etiology, Diagnosis, and Management


Postcoital Bleeding: A Review on Etiology, Diagnosis, and Management

Christopher M Tarney et al. Obstet Gynecol Int.


Postcoital bleeding refers to spotting or bleeding that occurs after intercourse and is not related to menstruation. The prevalence of postcoital bleeding ranges from 0.7 to 9.0 percent of menstruating women. There are multiple etiologies for this common complaint in which most are benign such as cervicitis or cervical polyps. However, the most serious cause of postcoital bleeding is cervical cancer. There are currently no recommendations from governing bodies such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on evaluating and treating women with postcoital bleeding. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the common causes of postcoital bleeding, the etiologies of postcoital bleeding, and the likelihood that malignancy is the underlying cause. After an extensive literature review, we compiled a paper illustrating the key concepts a practitioner should know when it comes to postcoital bleeding. Finally, this review will conclude with treatment options for women who are found to have an identifiable source for their bleeding and a discussion on the natural history of postcoital bleeding in women who are found to have no identifiable etiology on evaluation.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Diagnostic approach to postcoital bleeding.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 6 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Viikki M, Pukkala E, Hakama M. Bleeding symptoms and subsequent risk of gynecological and other cancers. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 1998;77(5):564–569. - PubMed
    1. Lindner LE, Geerling S, Nettum JA, Miller SL, Altman KH. Clinical characteristics of women with chlamydial cervicitis. Journal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist. 1988;33(8):684–690. - PubMed
    1. Shapley M, Jordan K, Croft PR. An epidemiological survey of symptoms of menstrual loss in the community. British Journal of General Practice. 2004;54(502):359–363. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Shapley M, Blagojevic-Bucknall M, Jordan K, Croft P. The epidemiology of self-reported intermenstrual and postcoital bleeding in the perimenopausal years. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2013;120(11):1348–1355. - PubMed
    1. Tehranian A, Rezaii N, Mohit M, Eslami B, Arab M, Asgari Z. Evaluation of women presenting with postcoital bleeding by cytology and colposcopy. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2009;105(1):18–20. - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources