When you are a menstruating woman, and you get your periods, it’s perfectly normal to bleed once a month vaginally. But once you hit menopause, any sign of vaginal bleeding is a warning!
What Is Post-Menopausal Bleeding?
At around 45-55 years of age, a woman stops menstruating. This change is considered permanent when she does not get her periods continuously for one year. Once that happens, the woman is said to have menopaused and from then on, she will never bleed naturally.
But, if a woman bleeds, whether like before or even in small drops, after it’s called a post-menopausal bleeding. This is not normal and she must visit a gynaecologist at the earliest.
What Causes Bleeding After Menopause?
There are many things which a can be indicated through bleeding after menopause. The severity of these diseases vary. However, even a minor disease can become significantly dangerous, if left untreated.
Let’s read the causes of post-menopausal bleeding:
- Cancer: The main symptom of uterine cancer is post-menopausal bleeding.
- Polyp: Polyps are growth of extra tissue. These can cause bleeding regularly or after sexual intercouse. These can even become cancerous overtime, if left untreated.
- Thinning Or Thickening Of Uterine Lining: Such abnormality in the growth of uterine lining is caused due to hormonal imbalance. Bleeding occurs as the outer lining starts shedding.
- Vaginal Dryness: The inner wall of vagina can become thin, dry and inflamed. This can increase the chance of injury and leads to bleeding.
- Medication: Certain medicines like hormone therapy or blood thinners can also cause vaginal bleeding.
How Can You Know If You Have Post-Menopausal Bleeding?
There are some primary symptoms of post-menopausal bleeding which you can notice on your own. These symptoms are not always distinctly visible; they can be subtle also. However, once you approach a gynaecologist, s/he will recommend some diagnostic tests to judge the real condition.
Which Symptoms Should You Watch Out For?
Here are some symptoms that will help you know if you have post-menopausal bleeding:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Continuous bleeding
- One-time bleeding
- Red, pink or brown mark on undergarment
If you are absolutely sure that you have menopaused, see a doctor immediately; if not, still see a doctor as soon as possible.
What Diagnostic Tests Confirm Post-Menopausal Bleeding?
Ultrasound: This is an imaging technique that uses sound waves to create an image of your uterus or other related organs. The doctor can take a look at this image and know about the condition which is causing the bleeding.
Biopsy: In a biopsy, a small chunk of tissue is exerted from the uterus to see if there is any malfunctioning in their growth pattern or if there is any infection. This diagnostic tests reveals the chances of cancer. For a even more detailed report, a technique called dilation and curettage (D&C), where the cervix is dilated and some tissue is scraped out and send for various kinds of testing. D&C can be done under some anaesthesia.
Hysteroscopy: Hysteroscope is a narrow lighted tube that contains a micro camera. The doctor inserts this tube through your vagina and looks inside for any abnormalities and possible to take biopsy also.
How is Post-Menopausal Bleeding Treated?
You do not take any treatment for post-menopausal bleeding. The treatment is done for the underlying cause. Since the severity and type of health conditions leading to post-menopausal bleeding varies widely, the treatment will vary accordingly.
For vaginal dryness, a simple ointment would suffice.In case of cancer, surgery along with chemotherapy or radiotherapy can be suggested depending on the stage of cancer. A surgery can remove any extra growth while hormonal issues can be solved with some medicines.
Can You Prevent Post-Menopausal Bleeding?
Post-menopausal cannot really be prevented. The diseases, which it indicates, are not lifestyle diseases. Hence, it’s not under your control. But what you can do is Consult a Gynaecologist at the earliest. When diagnosed early, the treatment for the underlying disease becomes less difficult.
Whatever may be the reason behind post-menopausal bleeding is, know that it is not normal and you must address the issue immediately to prevent more complications later. Almost 1 in 10 women over the age of 55 years experience post-menopausal bleeding. Among them, 10% are diagnosed with cancer. If you have menopaused and still see signs of vaginal bleeding, Visit a Gynaecologist immediately.
About The Doctor:
Dr Neerajavalli- Gynaecologist Dr Neerajavalli G is a renowned Gynaecologist and is well known for her laparoscopic surgeries and infertility treatments. Presently, she is practicing in the Gachibowli branch of Sunshine Hospitals.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr. AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.