Bleeding After Menopause Warrants Investigation

 


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Bleeding after menopause isn't at all uncommon. It can be a cause for concern, however. Understanding menopause and the potential causes of bleeding after menopause can be very useful to help a woman decide if medical attention is required to get at the root of the problem. In most cases, if bleeding does occur, it is advised to make the condition known to a doctor.

In general, bleeding after menopause is spotting or full bleeding that takes place at least six months after the last full menstrual cycle. The sudden reappearance of blood can be rather alarming, but it can have many benign causes. Some potential causes for it can be serious, which is why medical advice is generally recommended.

Menopause itself is a perfectly normal phase of life that is characterized by the cessation of menstrual bleeding all together. The period of time leading up to that cessation is characterized by gradual changes in the cycle. Some will experience periods that occur more frequently, but are lighter and shorter in their duration. Other women will find they miss cycles completely for a month or two at a time. The marker for true menopause is typically seen as missing six consecutive cycles in a row.

When bleeding takes place after the full six-month cycle has passed, it is considered bleeding after menopause and is known medically as post-menopausal bleeding. The causes for it are many and include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy – This is one of the most common causes of bleeding after menopause. Women who undergo hormone replacement therapy develop bleeding simply because the uterus is reacting to the estrogen and is promoting the thickening and shedding of the uterine lining. Basically, the body starts mocking a normal menstrual cycle. This is not at all unexpected with HRT.

  • Lack of estrogen – When there is a large lack of estrogen in the system, the uterus also reacts. Its lining might atrophy and cause the blood vessels to become weak and fragile. This can lead to the spontaneous breaking of vessels and spot bleeding after menopause.

  • Fibroids and polyps – These are non-cancerous growths that can develop in the uterus. They can cause bleeding after menopause in the light to heavy forms. They are sometimes associated with pain and discomfort, as well.

  • Hyperplasias – This is an overgrowth of the uterine lining. It can cause bleeding, as well.

  • Cancer – Uterine cancer is the real cause for concern. It can be the cause of bleeding after menopause and it is serious. This is the main reason why it is advised that women seek out medical attention if bleeding after menopause takes place.

    Women who experience bleeding after menopause might be asked to undergo tests to determine the nature of the bleeding. The types of tests will likely range based on suspected cause. They might include a D&C, a hysteroscopy, blood work and more. Many physicians will seek to rule out cancer first and then work to eliminate the other potential causes of bleeding after menopause.

    Treatment of bleeding after menopause will depend on the actual cause. If HRT is in the picture, an alteration of the medications or dosing might take place. Polyps or fibroids might need to be removed during a special procedure.

    If cancer is present, the options will range based on the severity. Many doctors prefer doing a full hysterectomy if cancer is found in the uterus. This may be followed up with chemotherapy or other treatments.

    Bleeding after menopause isn't at all uncommon, but some of the causes of it are reason for concern. Women are recommended to bring the issue to the attention of their doctors just to be on the safe side.

    Dawn M. Olsen is an Advocate for Better Women’s Health through Education, Recipe Developer, Soy Food Enthusiast and the Author of “Menopause A to Z - A Definitive Guide to Modern Menopause available online now at http://www.menopauseatoz.com

    Find out more about how to deal with menopause symptoms .

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