Most women attain menopause during their late forties or early fifties. The word menopause has been derived from the Greek language where ‘men’ stands for month and ‘pausis’ means cessation. In short, the term menopause refers to the end of the monthly cycle.
A woman is said to have reached menopause if she has not had menstrual bleeding for a whole year or twelve consecutive months. Along with the cessation of bleeding, a woman may experience some secondary symptoms like vaginal pain, itching, dryness, night sweats and hot flashes.
Causes of Postmenopausal Bleeding
Women should never trivialize any episode, even a rare one, of bleeding or even vaginal spotting, after she has attained menopause. Post menopausal bleeding can be indicative of more serious health complication including endometrial cancer. However, remember that endometrial cancer is not the only cause behind post menopausal bleeding. Sometimes a nutritional deficiency can also cause vaginal bleeding in older women.
If a woman starts to bleed after attaining menopause, she should consult a gynecologist immediately. Some common causes of postmenopausal bleeding have been delved into in this article.
Nutritional Deficiency / Sudden Weight Loss
Nutritional deficiency, particularly long term nutritional deficiencies, can result in hormonal imbalances. Sudden weight loss can result in the body releasing vast quantities of estrogen – which is stored in the fat tissue – into the blood stream. This sudden release of huge amounts of estrogen into the blood stream can cause a woman who has attained menopause to experience vaginal bleeding. Post menopausal bleeding caused by nutritional deficiency can be stopped by taking proper multivitamins, and by following a healthy diet plan along with plenty of exercise.
Some women suffer from postmenopausal bleeding due to the presence of polyps in the uterine lining or inside the uterus. While most polyps or nodules are non-cancerous in nature, there are chances of polyps being cancerous growths.
Vaginal atrophy can also cause postmenopausal bleeding. A decrease in the level of the hormone estrogen is the primary reason behind vaginal atrophy. Some signs of vaginal atrophy, which can cause bleeding in postmenopausal women, include watery vaginal discharge, spotting or light bleeding after intercourse and increased incidence of urinary tract infections to name just a few.
A thinning of the uterine lining is known as endometrial atrophy. Endometrial atrophy occurs due to reduced amounts of estrogen inside a woman’s body. When a woman suffers from endometrial atrophy the minute blood vessels which line the uterine wall begin to rupture. This results in vaginal bleeding.
There is a sharp rise in the incidence of endometrial cancer in post menopausal women in recent years. Women who fall in the age groups between 50 and 60 are more likely to suffer from endometrial cancer. Some signs of endometrial cancer include pink or white vaginal discharge, pelvic pain and pain during intercourse. If postmenopausal women experience these symptoms, they should consult their gynecologist post haste before the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
Women are advised to go in for hormone therapy to alleviate some of the distressing symptoms related to menopause including vaginal dryness, itching, hot flashes and night sweats. Prolonged hormone therapy can often cause a post menopausal woman to experience vaginal bleeding.
Most post menopausal women are unaware of the fact that excessive stress can also result in vaginal bleeding. Extreme stress levels can cause the body hormones to go haywire and this can result in vaginal bleeding in post menopausal women.