Cervical bruising can sometimes happen during penetrative sex and typically heals within a day or two. If your pain grows or persists, it may be time to talk with your doctor.

Is this cause for concern?

Although bruising your cervix is often painful, it generally isn’t cause for concern. It typically won’t result in any long-term damage or other complications.

That said, it likely isn’t something you want to deal with on a regular basis. Read on to learn more about why it happens, how to prevent it from happening again, and more.

How it feels will depend on how badly you were injured. Think about smacking your knee on the coffee table — it can hurt, or it can really hurt.

In an article for Bustle, one writer shared that bruising her cervix made her feel like she was being poked on the inside with a red-hot poker. She also said that she experienced cramping and abdominal pain worse than anything her period ever caused.

Not everyone will have that much pain. But you can expect a general aching sensation deep inside your body. This may occur during or after penetration.

You will likely experience pain during penetration until the injury heals.

You may also experience:

  • bleeding
  • spotting
  • nausea
  • back pain

Your cervix can only be bruised during deep penetration with a penis, dildo, or other object.

The cervix is located at the top of the vaginal canal, several inches away from the vaginal opening. It’s highly unlikely that it could be injured by anything other than penetration.

Cervical bruising typically happens when a sexual partner thrusts their fist, penis, or other object deep inside. It’s more likely to happen in positions like doggy style, which make deep penetration easier.

Yes, some people may be more likely to experience cervical bruising.

Vaginal structure and uterus position vary from person to person. When unaroused, the distance between your vaginal opening and your cervix may be anywhere from 3 to 7 inches.

When you’re aroused, the upper two-thirds of the vagina stretch to allow for easier penetration. The cervix and uterus are actually lifted up out of the way when your vagina stretches.

If your vaginal opening and cervix are close together, or you aren’t adequately aroused, it may be easier to bump and bruise your cervix during penetration.

Your cervix can also change positions during your monthly cycle. It may be tilted in one direction the week before your period and another the week after.

Most days of the month, the small hole in the cervix, called the os, is plugged with mucus. This mucus prevents sperm from entering the uterus.

During ovulation, the cervix softens, tilts downward, and opens slightly so that sperm can enter. You may be more likely to experience cervical bruising during this time.

You typically don’t need to seek out clinical treatment for a bruised cervix. It should heal on its own within a couple of days.

However, if this happens frequently, you may want to make an appointment with a gynecologist. Your cervix may be sensitive — and more susceptible to bruising — because of an underlying infection. Additionally, spotting after intercourse could be a sign of cervical irritation, or friable cervix.

You may be able to soothe pain and discomfort by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Menstrual pain relievers like Midol may also be helpful.

You can also try:

  • sitting on a pillow or cushion until any vaginal tenderness subsides
  • applying a heating pad or hot bottle to your abdomen or back to ease cramping
  • massaging your abdomen and back to help relieve tension; use lavender or clary sage essential oil for added relief
  • wearing loose clothing to alleviate pressure on your abdomen and prevent further discomfort

Aside from temporary discomfort, there aren’t any complications associated with a bruised cervix.

As with other bumps and bruises, healing time can vary from person to person.

Your pain will likely start to taper off within a day or two. Your symptoms should be completely resolved within a week.

Avoid penetrative masturbation and sex until your symptoms have disappeared. Penetration can exacerbate your injury and prolong your healing time.

If your symptoms last for more than a week, or you regularly experience pain after penetration, see a gynecologist or other healthcare provider. If you don’t already have a gynecologist, our Healthline FindCare tool can help you connect to physicians in your area.

They can perform a pelvic exam to assess your symptoms and determine whether they’re tied to an infection or other underlying condition. Your provider will advise you on any next steps.

You should seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • are in severe pain
  • soak through a pad or tampon every hour
  • have quarter-sized or larger clots in your period blood

If you’ve experienced sexual assault or were forced into any sexual activity, you should seek care from a trained healthcare provider. Organizations like the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) offer support for survivors of rape or sexual assault. You can call RAINN’s 24/7 national sexual assault hotline at 800-656-4673 for anonymous, confidential help.

The best way to prevent cervical bruising is to make sure you’re fully aroused before any penetration takes place.

If you aren’t already, try spending at least 15 minutes — if not longer! — on foreplay.

Engaging in some quality alone time? Consider investing in a good vibrator to help shoot sparks of pleasure throughout your body.

With a partner? Begin to tease each other by stimulating each other’s erogenous zones, such as the nipples, behind the ears, or the neck.

If you want vaginal penetration — whether that’s with a toy, fingers, or penis — make sure you use plenty of lube. This can help prevent friction and other irritation.

You may also find it helpful to stick to positions where you control the depth. An easy way to do this is to ride your toy or partner; you can thrust as quickly and as deeply as you prefer.

You can also take control while in traditionally “submissive” positions, like doggy style. Simply tell your partner to remain still and watch for your cues; this allows you to move as much or as little as you’re comfortable with.