Imogen Pinnell was around 18 years old the first time she noticed she was bleeding after sex. “I went to the bathroom and there was blood on the toilet paper – not just one or two drops, but like I’d had a light period,” the 28-year-old says.

“I remember thinking nothing feels wrong, there was no pain or discomfort, but it still felt like this shouldn’t be happening,” she adds. “As time went on, I think because I began to worry about it and associate it with a kind of negativity around having sex. I did start experiencing pain as well – but I couldn’t say if that was a psychological thing. I also began to bleed in between periods.”

Shortly after her symptoms started, Imogen looked online and followed the advice to go and see her doctor – but says she felt completely dismissed when she did so. “The answer was essentially oh well, you’re young, this is normal. There wasn’t the offer to have an examination, and they didn’t ask me any questions, it was just like yeah that’s expected, live with it, basically,” she says.

“It was really humiliating and very dismissive, and made me feel really awful actually. I felt embarrassed, like I’d done something wrong by even going and asking the question. I thought oh god, I’m being such a drama queen, obviously this happens with everyone and I’m so stupid for making such a big deal out of it.”

‘It became difficult to enjoy sex’

It wasn’t until after she met her current partner, when she was 24, that Imogen decided to go back to the doctors and follow up. “My new partner began to get really worried that he was hurting me, and he didn’t like the idea that I was bleeding after we’d had sex,” Imogen explains.

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