Sophie Wessex: Nobody talks about periods or menopause
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Menopause is defined as when a woman stops having her periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Whether periods stop suddenly or gradually, they will stop and you can normally expect not to bleed again. But what does it mean if you experience bleeding after menopause? Express.co.uk chatted to Professor Stelios Doumouchtsis, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist to find out why not to ignore bleeding after menopause.
Is it normal to bleed after menopause?
Bleeding after menopause isn’t to be expected, but it can happen and be harmless.
Professor Doumouchtsis said: “Although it can take up to one full year without a period for a woman to be diagnosed as menopausal, there may be an occasional episode of light bleeding or spotting.
“In most cases, this is nothing serious, but it is important to have a check-up with your GP or gynaecologist, partially to ensure there are no signs of precancerous or cancerous cells present.”
Any vaginal bleeding after menopause needs to be checked by your doctor or a gynaecologist.
This is the case even if it has only happened once and is a small amount, or you are not sure if it is bleeding or discharge.
If you’re experiencing bleeding after a year of no periods, it could be down to a number of factors.
The reason why you should NEVER ignore bleeding after menopause
Bleeding after a year of no periods after menopause could simply be down to low oestrogen levels affecting the lining of the womb – which may be thickening or thinning.
Or it could be due to abnormal but harmless tissue growths known as polyps.
Professor Doumouchtsis added: “A thickened lining of the womb could be caused by hormone replacement therapy, high oestrogen levels or being overweight.”
Don’t just assume your bleeding is normal and harmless, Professor Doumouchtsis said your specialist will need to examine you in order to identify the cause of the problem.
The main reason for this is to “ensure that there are no potential signs of cancer.”
The Professor explained: “Tests may include examination of the pelvis and vagina to visualise the vaginal walls and the cervix, an ultrasound scan of the womb and pelvis, or an hysteroscopy, whereby a telescope is passed into the womb through the cervix to check for abnormalities, and tissue samples are taken at the same time for examination.”
What happens next is determined by the results of the inspection or surgery.
Professor Doumouchtsis said: “Depending on the results of the investigation and the cause of bleeding, you may need surgery to remove polyps or suspicious cells or more extensive surgery in cases of cancer.
“When there is atrophy only, the solution may just be a course of vaginal oestrogen tablets or cream.
“It’s vital, however, that you don’t ignore the problem and make an appointment straight away.”
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