It is common for a woman going through menopause to have vaginal discharge in the form of mucus and sometimes bleeding. As the body changes and goes into a menopausal state, there is a decrease in hormones that regulate the reproductive cycle and balance within the body. While most discharge is due to physical changes in the body, there are physiological causes that can be prevented.
Menopause is a biological function of the body when a woman no longer ovulates and experiences a monthly period. Menopause does not start until approximately 12 months after the last regular menstrual period. The average age of menopause occurs at age 51 years.
Vaginal discharge during menopause occurs as bleeding or a mucus discharge. Bleeding generally appears like a period, though it may be accompanied by heavy cramping and abdominal pain. Bleeding once menopause has fully established could be a symptom of other serious problems and should be evaluated by a physician. Vaginal discharge is also seen in the form of mucus that is watery and thin and may have streaks of blood present.
Stress and anxiety will cause a menopausal body to produce discharge. This includes becoming fatigued or overworking the body. These actions cause the body to become emotionally unstable, resulting in additional hormone changes.
Physically, a body in menopause has an irregular hormone balance of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are balanced during ovulation, which no longer occurs in menopause. As a woman ages and during menopause, the vaginal walls thin out due to the decrease in estrogen. There is also less cervical mucus produced, which causes the vagina to dry out and easily become inflamed. The inflammation causes bleeding and discharge when irritated. It is rare for a menopausal woman to be infected with a bacterial infection that causes discharge, such as vaginitis. Discharge that is foul smelling or is cause for concern should be examined by a physician.
Physiological causes of discharge are treated by decreasing life stressors. This includes getting adequate rest and participating in an exercise program. Physical causes are treated by attempting to regulate the hormone levels by taking a daily multivitamin and possible hormone replacement therapy. Having regular sexual intercourse will promote natural secretions in the vagina to prevent inflammation. Use a water-based lubricant to reduce pain and dryness in the vagina. It is common for the symptoms to disappear over time as the body becomes accustomed to the changes.