Menopause signals the end of the monthly cycle of ovulation and the bleeding that accompanies what most women refer to as the period. When a woman has made it 12 months with the absence of monthly bleeding, it is generally believed that menopause has been reached, but is it possible to continue bleeding after menopause? The answer is yes. Please continue reading to find out why some women have bleeding after the completion of menopause.
What to do if you experience post menopausal bleeding?
The first thing that you should do if you begin bleeding after menopause is to schedule an appointment with your health care provider. Don’t wait for the bleeding to stop. There are many possible causes and only your health care provider can properly diagnose and recommend treatment for the cause of the bleeding.
Is cancer the only cause of post menopausal bleeding?
The most common reaction to unexpected vaginal bleeding after menopause is the dreaded “C” word. However; this is not always or even usually the case. There are many different possible causes for post menopausal vaginal bleeding which are not life threatening events. Although cancer can cause this symptom, it is generally something quite different. In the event that it is cervical or uterine cancer, catching the disease in stage 1 results in a 96% cure rate. This is why it’s important to seek medical diagnosis immediately when you experience this unsettling symptom.
Non-cancerous causes of post menopausal bleeding
Endometrial hyperplasia – This is a condition that may result from an overabundance of estrogen and not enough progesterone. The lining of the uterus thickens and this may cause bleeding. This is more common in women who are obese. In addition, and with some patients, this condition can lead to endometrial cancer. It isn’t the case with all patients, however; those who have abnormal cells when tested for the condition, have a higher risk.
Polyps – Polyps are growths that may develop within the uterus, inside the cervical canal, or on the cervix. They are generally benign, or non-cancerous, and may cause vaginal bleeding after menopause.
Endometrial atrophy – This is a thinning of the endometrium, or tissue that lines the uterus. Due to the lessening of estrogen levels in the body, the endometrium may become much thinner and has the potential for bleeding due to the thinning.
Medications – Certain medications, such as blood thinners can cause post menopausal bleeding. Don’t assume however; that these are the cause. Consult with your physician to make sure.
Infection – Infections in the cervix or uterus can also cause post menopausal bleeding.
Hormone therapy – Hormone therapy can also cause post bleeding after menopause. In addition to this, if the body ovulates, signally that menopause has not yet completed, this can also be a cause. Although more rare, it can happen.
Should I be concerned about post menopausal bleeding?
Any physical symptom out of the ordinary deserves attention and should be investigated. Most often, bleeding after menopause is harmless. It can be a sign of a cancerous condition which can be frightening, so it pays to get medical attention right away and have this ruled out. In addition, pre-cancerous conditions may also cause vaginal bleeding after menopause. Catching this disease before it spreads results in a high success rate for treatment. The fear of contracting cancer is something that crosses the minds of most women experiencing this symptom, however; this is not generally the case, as only ten percent of women who experience post menopausal bleeding actually end up having cancer. There are more often, other causes responsible for the bleeding.
Women who experience bleeding after menopause should seek medical attention to identify the cause of this symptom. Most women will find that the bleeding is caused by conditions that are not life threatening, and highly treatable. Medications, hormones, infections, endometrial atrophy or polyps are some of the most common causes of post menopausal vaginal bleeding. For the ten percent who will test positive for pre-cancerous or cancerous conditions, early detection of such conditions increase the odds of successful treatment. Some women may actually have bleeding due to ovulation because menopause has not fully completed. If you experience what you believe to be post menopausal bleeding, check with your health care provider to isolate the cause instead of waiting for the bleeding to stop or spending precious time worrying.