Postmenopause Articles

6 Reasons for Postmenopausal Vaginal Bleeding

If you experience vaginal bleeding, however light or brief, a year or more after your final period, then you are suffering from postmenopausal vaginal bleeding. For some women, it can be worrying because it is unexpected.

There are a number of reasons why bleeding can happen, but it is important to know the difference between typical causes and serious conditions. In most cases, no serious problem is found; however, it is advisable to see your doctor before ruling anything out. Read on to find out six of the most common reasons for postmenopausal vaginal bleeding.

6 Reasons for Postmenopausal Vaginal Bleeding, Postmenopause
1

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Women taking HRT to smooth the menopausal transition may find that a change in the dosage - either to a stronger dose or when gradually weaning off the drugs during postmenopause - comes with similar side effects to natural hormonal changes in the body. The lining of the uterus can be stimulated by these hormones, building up and shedding, resulting in postmenopausal bleeding similar to menstruation.

2

Atrophic Vaginitis

Commonly known as vaginal dryness, atrophic vaginitis is the result of permanent changes to the lining of the vagina due to reduced levels of estrogen during postmenopause. The vaginal walls become drier, thinner, and less elastic, which can lead to inflammation. This condition is one of the most common causes of vaginal bleeding during postmenopause.

3

Cervical Polyps

These growths of tissue are found on the lower part of the uterus connecting to the cervix, or the cervical canal, which can cause bleeding. Very rarely are there abnormal, precancerous, or malignant cells in the polyp, and tests can be taken to check for these. Benign cervical polyps, o the other hand, are relatively common in postmenopausal women.

4

Endometrial Atrophy

A lack of estrogen causes the lining of the uterus to thin and the vessels in the lining to break down, which in turn results in spontaneous postmenopausal bleeding or spotting.

5

Weight Loss

Drastic weight loss can cause postmenopausal bleeding. This is because fat cells produce estrogen. If body fat is lost, a woman will experience a sudden dip in estrogen levels. This hormonal imbalance may cause postmenopausal bleeding.

6

Emotional Stress

If a woman experiences a major life even that causes her to be overly stressed, anxious, or depressed, hormones can sharply fluctuate, causing spontaneous bleeding in postmenopause.

Recommendations

Always visit your doctor if you are experiencing postmenopausal bleeding, no matter how heavy or light the bleed is, in order to rule out rare and more serious causes such as endometrial, ovarian, or cervical cancers.

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Sources:
  • National Health Service UK. (2014). Post-menopausal bleeding. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/postmenopausal-bleeding-or-spotting/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  • Laughlin-Tommaso, S.K. (2015). Bleeding after menopause. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/expert-answers/bleeding-after-menopause/faq-20058396