Menopause is when your period stops. You’ve reached menopause once you’ve gone a year without menstruating. This happens naturally, usually after age 45, but can happen as early as your 30’s and as late as your 60’s. though you may experience symptoms and changes related to menopause for several years beforehand, starting as early as your 30s. Menopause can also happen as late as your 60s.
The symptoms that accompany menopause vary for each person and may surprise you. You may assume that because your period stops, you’ll no longer experience bleeding. However, postmenopausal bleeding, unrelated to menstruation, may still occur. If you experience bleeding, it’s important to see your doctor, who can diagnose the cause.
Should you be concerned?
One change that may place in the leadup to menopause is that your periods become less frequent. Irregular bleeding before menopause, or during “perimenopause,” is normal. However, once your menstrual cycle ends, you shouldn’t be bleeding, even if it’s just spotting.
Postmenopausal bleeding affects 4 to 11% of women. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Farnam if you have notice bleeding, even if it’s not very much. Many underlying conditions can cause postmenopausal bleeding, and though not all of them are serious, some of them are.
You shouldn’t assume the worst just because you experience postmenopausal bleeding, but you should always take it seriously. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can get necessary treatment or just peace of mind.
What conditions cause postmenopausal bleeding?
With the changes that come from menopause, any bleeding that happens can be a result of:
- Polyps: tissue growths that are sometimes precancerous
- Endometrial Atrophy: thinning of the tissue lining of the uterus, often resulting from a decrease in hormones
- Endometrial Hyperplasia: when the lining of your uterus is too thick, which can be a side effect of hormone replacement therapy
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: chlamydia, gonorrhea, or herpes can cause bleeding
- Medications: tamoxifen (used in breast cancer treatment) and blood thinners can cause bleeding
How is postmenopausal bleeding treated?
Treatments for postmenopausal bleeding depend on the cause. For example, if you have a polyp, Dr. Farnam may recommend surgically removing it, which would prevent the growth from becoming cancerous.
If you have endometrial hyperplasia, it can be treated with progestins, a synthetic form of the sex hormone progesterone. This balances out the effects of too much estrogen or not enough progesterone, which are common among women who undergo hormone replacement therapy.
If an STD is causing your postmenopausal bleeding, Dr. Farnam prescribes medication specific to the infection. For example, chlamydia and gonorrhea are both caused by bacteria, so they respond to antibiotics.
To ensure you stay healthy after menopause, it’s important to treat postmenopausal bleeding as soon as possible. Make an appointment with Dr. Farnam and Texas Urogynecology and Laser Surgery Center to get treated today.