Vaginal Bleeding After Menopause: A Cause for Concern?

by Laura Ramirez on February 12, 2011

Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not caused by menstruation. There are different reasons for a postmenopausal woman to experience vaginal bleeding, and each must be taken seriously and attended to immediately.

Once you’ve had your final menstrual period (that which ceases to be followed by another cycle for 12 months or more), you shouldn’t be experiencing any postmenopausal bleeding. If you do, it’s considered abnormal. Any one of the reasons listed below could be the cause of vaginal bleeding after menopause.

A side effect of Hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy or HRT uses a combination of estrogen and progesterone, which, within the first six months of HRT, can bring about erratic vaginal bleeding after menopause. There are also reported cases of postmenopausal women on an oral regimen involving a year-long intake of progestin, who experienced bleeding that simulates the frequency of monthly periods. If you are going through hormone replacement therapy and suspect that this is the main cause, consult a doctor straightaway so they can rule out the possibility of more alarming causes of postmenopausal vaginal bleeding.

The presence of cervical polyps. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is possible because of polyps forming in your cervix. These are small growths that are usually benign, but they can cause vaginal bleeding especially during or after intercourse. Polyps are also a prime trigger of vaginal dryness, which can also cause bleeding during intercourse. If dryness has been a problem for you, a soothing, herbal vaginal cream can help. Polyps can be surgically removed, but again, it’s wise to see your doctor for the proper diagnosis and maybe less drastic suggestions to remedy the situation.

Decrease in estrogen levels can cause postmenopausal atrophic vaginitis. Postmenopausal women experience a shrinking of the vaginal walls, causing the vaginal area to become inflamed. This is called atrophic vaginitis, and its symptoms include vaginal soreness, itching, pain during intercourse, and vaginal bleeding. There can also be a thick yellowish discharge, a burning sensation, and a strange odor. Atrophic vaginitis is considered the most common cause of vaginal bleeding after menopause. Investing in an effective feminine lubricant to aid intercourse is encouraged. When you go to a clinic to get yourself checked for symptoms of atrophic vaginitis, your doctor may order an endometrial biopsy or other forms of physical examination to rule out cancer.

The possibility of cervical or ovarian cancer. Cancer of the cervix and the ovaries both list vaginal bleeding as one of their main symptoms. Progressive cervical cancer in particular has vaginal bleeding after menopause, as well as bloody vaginal discharge, as indicators that the cancer is in the advanced stages. Early detection can be done with a pelvic exam, a pap smear, and an HPV DNA testing.

There are a variety of treatments for vaginal bleeding after menopause, but doctors usually go for top three approaches for postmenopausal women. The most practical one is to go for sensible lifestyle changes. A healthier diet, regular exercise, taking a natural supplement to balance feminine hormones and doing away with physically damaging vices are keys to having a healthy life post-menopause. Your doctor can also prescribe progesterone as an oral contraceptive to be taken regularly, to decrease the chances of postmenopausal uterine cancer and lessen the bleeding. This also helps balance hormone levels.

The most extreme recourse is surgery and stronger drug prescriptions. Vaginal bleeding after menopause, as mentioned, can be caused by polyps or other cancer-causing growths. Polyps can be removed by surgery to control the bleeding. Other hormonal medications can help, but if the bleeding doesn’t stop, your doctor can suggest a hysterectomy as a final option. To avoid resorting to this, be on your toes when it comes to detecting postmenopausal symptoms. Don’t wait until you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding after menopause to consult your doctor, get tested, and be properly diagnosed.

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Copyright © 2011 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.

Please feel free to share your stories, comments and tips about dealing with vaginal bleeding after menopause. Let’s make this a community of women supporting each other through this big transition.

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