What Are the Causes of Bleeding After Menopause?

What Are the Causes of Bleeding After Menopause?
What Are the Causes of Bleeding After Menopause? (Image: gracey/morguefile.com)

Bleeding after menopause is not uncommon. From perimenopausal, breakthrough bleeding to post-menopausal vaginal dryness, the only way to be certain of what's causing the bleeding is to see your gynecologist. Bleeding during this time always indicates a problem, even though the causes are generally benign.

Vaginal Dryness

Estrogen plays a major role in the functioning of the ovaries as well as lubricating the vagina. With low levels of estrogen after menopause, lubrication may have all but vanished. Many women complain of vaginal dryness in this time, which may be accompanied with light bleeding, itching, stinging or burning. Most of these symptoms are felt after sexual intercourse. Purchasing over-the-counter lubricants may help lessen this discomfort.

Hormonal Fluctuation

During the transitioning stage into menopause, called perimenopause, levels of the hormone estrogen begin to decline. At this time, you will still have menstrual cycles, but due to the imbalance of estrogen, they will become highly irregular and in many cases scanty with occasional spotting between cycles. Perimenopause usually takes place about two to eight years before the menstrual cycle completely ends. Bleeding during other stages of menopause may take place, although they are not linked to the menstrual flow and are usually indicative of a health problem.

Uterine Polyps

Uterine polyps are typically benign growths that form in the uterus. Uterine polyps result from the overgrowth of cells in the endometrial lining. This causes the polyp to form. Uterine polyps are small bulb-shaped growths that grow from the uterine lining and are attached by a thin stalk or base. Researchers have concluded that hormonal imbalances play a major part in the formation of these growths, and they are more prevalent in women between the ages of 40 and 50. Symptoms of uterine polyps vary from asymptomatic (no symptoms) to abnormal uterine bleeding and cramping.


Atrophy of the vagina or uterus is caused by decreased estrogen. This results in the spontaneous bursting of blood vessels that are housed behind the linings of the vagina and uterus. Due to the lining being so thin, the blood vessels lose support and become weak. Bleeding from vaginal atrophies can be spontaneous or through sexual intercourse, caused by vaginal dryness.

Special Considerations

There are many changes happening to the mind and body during menopause, and for some, these changes are problematic. Bleeding after menopause is usually harmless but in a small portion of women it can indicate serious conditions such as ovarian, cervical or uterine cancer. Any bleeding during menopause should be investigated by your gynecologist in order to rule out any serious conditions.

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