Post-Menopause Periods? Why They Can Happen

Post-Menopause Periods? Why They Can Happen

MenoLabs News | Fri, Jun 24, 2022

Have you finally completed 12 months with no period? The first thing you probably want to do is throw away all of those pantyliners and pads. Not so fast! You may still need them for after you hit menopause. In fact, 10% of women experience bleeding after menopause.  

Bleeding after menopause is fairly common, but it is also usually a sign of a medical issue. Post-menopausal bleeding is different from typical menstrual bleeding, because the blood is not coming from the monthly shedding of the uterine lining. So if you experience any type of bleeding after menopause, make an appointment with your doctor right away.

Read on to learn a little about why you might bleed after menopause, and what can be done about it.

What type of bleeding can you expect after menopause?

  • Spotting
  • Bleeding similar to your normal period
  • Non-stop bleeding

What causes this bleeding?

Vaginal atrophy or the thinning of vaginal tissue can lead to vaginal dryness, a problem that can affect 50% of women once they reach menopause.  A woman who is experiencing vaginal dryness may spot after sexual intercourse, due to bleeding from small tears in the vaginal tissue.  Moisturizers, lubricants, or laser therapy can be used to help make sexual intercourse easier.

Endometrial hyperplasia is a disorder where the main symptom is abnormal, sporadic bleeding, caused by the thick growth of endometrial tissue that needs to be shed. This usually happens when a woman is using hormone therapy.  

Uterine fibroids and uterine polyps can cause bleeding — from spotting to heavy bleeding, or bleeding after sex.  Both uterine fibroids and uterine polyps can be removed through surgery.  But, there is a chance that both may return.  A hysterectomy might be an option for a patient with large fibroids and polyps or recurring fibroids and polyps that won’t go away.  If polyps are left untreated, they can lead to cancer.

Endometrial/uterine cancer affects 2-3% of American women, and that number is climbing every year.  Obesity increases a woman’s risk of endometrial cancer.  Endometrial cancer is highly curable by surgery (hysterectomy).  

How can a doctor figure out what is causing the bleeding?

Your doctor will need to perform one or all of the following examinations to determine what is causing bleeding after menopause: 

  • Pap smear  
  • Hysteroscopy 
  • Dilation & Curettage (D&C)
  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Endometrial biopsy

Things to keep in mind: 

-The most common risk factor for bleeding after menopause are diabetes and hypertension, so if you experience either of these, it's especially important to keep an eye out for bleeding

-It’s essential to share all details with your doctor about post-menopausal bleeding, even if they feel intimate. It might be embarrassing to share that you bleed after sexual intercourse, and it might be tempting to dismiss it as just related to vaginal dryness. 

But you can also experience spotting due to other, very serious health concerns like polyps and fibroids.  And even if you are having regular pelvic exams, doctors can’t find fibroids/polyps/uterine cancer from a pap smear.  Therefore, tracking your symptoms and sharing them with your medical provider is essential. Don't risk your health — let your doctor know what is really going on.  

Connect with MenoLabs Founders Vanessa and Danielle

Connect with Founders Vanessa and Danielle

Join our newsletter to hear from V and Dani! Get advice, tips and tricks for managing your menopause journey the happy and healthy way!

By clicking "Subscribe," you agree to receive emails from MenoLabs and accept our privacy and cookie policies. You may unsubscribe at any time.