Can I get STIs while on my period?
While some people for personal or religious reasons may forgo sex during a woman’s period others have no feeling either way. Period sex (sex during periods/menses) may decrease the risk of pregnancy, there’s still a small chance of getting pregnant (but that’s a discussion for another day). Period sex however does not decrease the risk of getting an STI. In fact, there may be an increased risk of getting an STI due to:
- Blood carrying infections – The possibility of getting certain STIs that are blood borne such as HIV and Hepatitis is obviously increased because of the presence of blood.
- Open cervix – Period consists of blood and uterine lining. Because these have to pass through the cervix, the cervix is slightly open during a period. So, while blood comes out through the cervix STIs can go in the opposite direction into the uterus and tubes.
- Vaginal pH – The pH changes during a period from being acidic to more alkaline. Acidity protects the body from infections for example like in the stomach.
- Lubrication – Blood can reduce the natural lubrication of the vagina. Because of this decreased lubrication there is a risk of skin irritation and abrasion. These irritation and abrasions can allow infections to pass easily through the natural skin barrier.