Post-Menopausal Bleeding

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.

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