Menopause is a period of time in which a woman’s body begins to change, most notably through the cessation of menstruation. The definition of being menopausal is having no menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. During menopause, as well as the months and years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), a woman may experience a number of symptoms including feeling unusually warm (hot flashes/night sweats), problems sleeping, mood swings, and weight gain, among other things.
Because menopause causes regular periods to end, any bleeding after menopause, whether light or heavy, could be indicative of another underlying condition.
- The potential causes for postmenopausal bleeding are numerous and varied:
- Thinning or thickening of the uterus (endometrial atrophy or hyperplasia)
- Thinning of vaginal tissue (vaginal atrophy)
- Cervical polyps
- Side effects from some medications
To determine the cause of this type of bleeding, a physician will conduct a physical exam and discuss a patient’s medical history. He or she may suggest an ultrasound, endometrial biopsy, dilation and curettage (D&C), or other test as part of the diagnostic process. Some of these tests can be done in a doctor’s office, while others require a hospital or surgical setting. Treatment for postmenopausal bleeding will depend on the cause of the condition but could include hormone therapy or other medications.
If you are experiencing bleeding after going through menopause, consult your OB-GYN doctor.