When the reproductive cycle of a woman is complete, ovulation stops, and women are liberated from menstrual cycles. When they do not menstruate for 12 months at a stretch during their middle years of life after they hit their 40’s, it means that menopause transition has taken place and one cannot click a ‘Rewind’ and ‘Play’ switch on the phase that has passed by. There is no looking back on menstruation or the monthly bleeding cycles after you have attained menopause. Yet, when you bleed years after menopause transition, it may most definitely confuse you, but it certainly is not normal!
Talk to your doctor.
Often, post-menopausal bleeding need not be a cause for worry as it may not be a serious condition in nature, but you must consult with your doctor. Atrophy in the vaginal walls or uterus lining, inflammations and infections in the cervix or uterus, sexually transmitted infections, side effects of drugs used in hormone replacement therapy, strain from exercises and thickness in the uterine lining are some of the reasons for the spotting or bleeding.
Another main cause for bleeding after menopause may be cancer. Various kinds of cancers may have to be treated differently based on the stage of their advancement. Hence, it is important to meet with your doctor when you have bleeding after menopause to confirm the source of bleeding and rule out the cancer fear if benign and the reason is non-cancerous. With obesity being on the rise, the risk of endometrial cancer is high among women after menopause. Therefore, it is important to get it checked out by a doctor.
Post-menopausal bleeding need not be serious but requires treatment.
There are many different causes for bleeding after menopause and hence they are diagnosed and treated accordingly. Some of them are:
Vaginal Atrophy: When the vaginal lining thins down due to a low level of estrogen, it leads to vaginal atrophy that may cause brown spotting, itchiness, inflammation, and bleeding after sexual intercourse. But there are various reasons for vaginal bleeds. For instance, it is one of the symptoms of cervical, uterine, or endometrial cancer
Uterine Atrophy: When the endometrial lining begins to thin down due to constant low levels of estrogen, it is likely to bleed after your menopausal years.
Endometrial hyperplasia: It’s a condition caused by excess estrogen where the uterine lining becomes thicker than thin leading to irregular or heavy bleeding. This can sometimes be the cause of endometrial cancer.
Pelvic trauma: A strong impact or an injury in the pelvic area is referred to as pelvic trauma that can cause bleeding after menopause. The cause for the trauma can be an automobile accident, a fall and more, leading to pelvis bones injury, pain during sexual intercourse or fractures even.
Uterine fibroids: They are often the non-cancerous growth of fibroids along with the uterus in women. They can range in different sizes from a pebble to the size of a ball that can enlarge the uterus.
Polyps: They are the extra growth along the uterine or sometimes in the cervical walls. Mostly they are non-cancerous but a check-up is required to confirm the same.
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Women may have to be extra cautious if they have more than one sexual partner as they may be prone to sexually transmitted infections. Some infections like Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Herpes may cause bleeding that can be treated with medicines.
Side effects of hormone replacement therapy:
Strain from exercises: Exercising is one of the important routines women are advised to inculcate as a lifestyle change after menopause. But sometimes the strain from exercising may cause brown spotting or a bleed that must be followed by a doctor’s consultation for diagnosis.
Cancer: Vaginal bleeding is one of the common symptoms for gynaecological cancers that include endometrial, vaginal, and cervical cancers. An early diagnosis can help largely in treating these cancers.
Visit your healthcare provider even when you are not sure.
You may be confused about when to visit the doctor. Remember to schedule an appointment and visit when:
- There is light spotting only
- You are not sure that it is blood, but the discharge is dark in colour
- When the spot is discoloured and appears brown or pink
- The dark discharge happens only once
- There are no other accompanying symptoms
- You bleed despite feeling hale and hearty.