After getting the Depo-Provera contraceptive injection at age 20 to quell any concerns about possible pregnancies, I started to notice frequent bleeding and bloody discharge between my periods—a reaction that regularly worsened whenever I had sex. It was only when I saw my doctor after a year of irregular bleeding that I first heard of cervical ectropion, otherwise known as cervical ectopy.

During that visit, my doctor drew a picture of a small circle to represent my cervix, then she drew another circle surrounding it to show the erosion of the cells at its entrance.

"Cervical ectropion is when the soft cells, or glandular cells, that line the inside of the cervical canal spread to the outer surface of your cervix," explained Taraneh Shirazian, MD, a board-certified OB-GYN and founder of Mommy Matters. These cells can cause bleeding irregularity, added bleeding between periods and bleeding after sex.

Penetrative sex can exacerbate ectropion as an inserted penis or sex toy can irritate sensitive membranes