What is menopause?
- Last menstrual period in life
- Postmenopause is the period in a woman’s life when she has stopped getting her period for more than a year
Why is a visit to your gynecologist necessary in case of postmenopausal bleeding?
- Postmenopausal bleeding may have many harmless causes, but women at this stage are in greater risk of developing malignant diseases so this type of bleeding needs to be checked
- Bleeding may occur from the colon, vagina or the bladder and it is not easy for a woman to detect the source of bleeding on her own
What are the causes of vaginal bleeding?
- At this age, the vaginal wall is dry and thin so the friction during intercourse may lead to bleeding
- A serious injury of the vagina may occur in cases of rougher intercourse, resulting in heavier bleeding
- Vaginal dryness, in which case the vagina may be hurt by wiping with toilet paper
- Endometrial atrophy – a condition where the endometrium is so thin due to hormone depletion that it causes bleeding
- Endometrial hyperplasia – a condition where the endometrium continues to grow regardless of menopause. It is more often in overweight women because estriol, a hormone very similar to estrogen, is created in the fat tissue
- Blood clotting disorder
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Prescription drugs taken to treat other diseases (e.g. Marivarin, Voltaren, Andol)
- Uterine polyps – benign growths in the endometrium and cervix
- Malignant diseases
How dangerous is postmenopausal bleeding?
- One of eight women experiencing postmenopausal bleeding is diagnosed with endometrial cancer
What groups of women are under increased risk to develop endometrial cancer?
- Overweight women
- Women with PCOS or irregular menstrual periods
- Women entering menopause later in life
- Women with endometrial hyperplasia
- Women with diabetes or high blood pressure
- Women with breast, colon or ovarian cancer
What exams will the gynecologist do?
- Pelvic examination
- Pap test
- Vaginal ultrasonography
- Curettage may be necessary, i.e. taking a tissue sample from the uterus