What is Menopause?
Menopause is a normal process in every ageing woman’s life, which is characterised by the absence of monthly menstrual periods. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive period.
What is Post-Menopausal Bleeding?
Post-menopausal bleeding is vaginal bleeding that occurs after a woman has undergone menopause, after one year without menstrual periods.
Causes of Post-Menopausal Bleeding
Post-menopausal bleeding may happen due to:
- Endometrial, uterine or cervical cancer
- Uterine or endometrial polyps: abnormal overgrowth in the lining of the uterus (endometrium)
- Side effects of hormone replacement therapy
- Overuse of medicines containing oestrogen
Diagnosis of Post-Menopausal Bleeding
When you visit your doctor with complaints of post-menopausal vaginal bleeding, your doctor will review your medical history, enquire about the amount of blood, duration of bleeding, presence of pain and other symptoms, and perform a thorough physical examination.
Your doctor may order a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer, or a transvaginal ultrasound or hysteroscopy, to view the interior of the uterus and vagina.
Treatment of Post-Menopausal Bleeding
Once the diagnosis is made, your treatment will be aimed at suppressing or eliminating the cause. The following treatments may be suggested:
- Progestin (hormone replacement therapy), to suppress bleeding due to endometrial overgrowth/uterine polyps
- Oestrogen creams, to suppress bleeding due to degeneration of vaginal tissues
- Polyp removal surgery
- Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), to control bleeding caused due to endometrial, uterine or cervical cancer
- If cancer is the cause of your post-menopausal bleeding, then chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery can help in your treatment.
Prevention and Care for Post-Menopausal Bleeding
The best way to treat any condition is through maintenance of a healthy body weight, consumption of a nutritious diet and regular exercise. The same holds true for the management of post-menopausal bleeding. Postmenopausal bleeding can be treated effectively based on a timely diagnosis. It’s important to keep your regular appointments with your gynaecologist.