What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a period of a woman's life characterized by several physiological changes. The ovaries stop producing eggs and the synthesis of two female hormones estrogen and progesterone also ceases. Menstruation becomes less frequent and it eventually stops as well. Actually all changes associated with menopause (loss of menstruation, hot flashes and sweats etc.) occur due to insufficient production of these two hormones.
What Are Causes of Menopausal Bleeding?
In women who have lost their menstruation menopause bleeding may be a reason for concern. Namely, since the lack of hormones interferes and eventually leads to cessation in menstruation the occurrence of bleeding is not considered normal. However, there are many possible causes of menopause bleeding and it is essential to identify the actual one.
One of the possible explanations is occasional bleeding that represents a transition period to complete loss of menstruation. Namely, menstrual periods simply do not cease all of a sudden. A woman may bleed occasionally until menstruation completely stops. Bleeding in such case is lighter and shorter or it can also be heavier and longer (this depends on each woman). This is no reason for a woman to worry but she should still visit her gynecologist who will perform pelvic exam and confirm the problem.
Another possible cause of menopause bleeding is associated with low level of estrogen. Lack of this hormone is responsible for changes in female reproductive organs. The vaginal wall becomes thinner and is prone to bleeding. Furthermore, the vagina becomes dry and cannot be properly lubricated as it used to be. The previously mentioned may cause bleeding during sexual intercourse.
In some women benign tumors called fibromas may cause occasional menopause bleeding.
Unfortunately, not all menopause bleeding is associated with benign illnesses. Bleeding in menopause can develop as a consequence of malignant tumors of both, the uterus (endometrial cancer) and the cervix. Women who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy are more susceptible to endometrial cancer. It grows inside the uterus and eventually starts to bleed. Bleeding occurs in a form of watery, blood streaked flow with the portion of blood that gradually increases over time. Additional symptoms include pelvic pain and/or pain during sexual intercourse. It is essential to consult a doctor as soon as possible since the earlier the tumor is detected the better the prognosis is. Cervical cancer generally affects younger women. However, it can occur in menopausal women as well. this is also a serious tumor that can require a prompt and proper treatment.
It is essential to report any bleeding during menopause to the doctor. He/she will perform a pelvic exam and several more tests and examinations and set the definitive diagnosis. Any delay can be detrimental particularly if a woman is suffering from a malignant tumor.