Christine O’Connor, MD, OBGYN, answers questions about postmenopausal cervical mucus.
Is the production of cervical mucus in postmenopause normal?
It’s pretty scary one day seeing a glob of mucus on your panties — after being bone dry from menopause for so long.
For many women, cancer will be the first thing that comes to mind.
“Cervical mucus can be present after menopause, although it is often less than previously,” says Christine O’Connor, MD, FACOG, Director Adolescent Gynecology and Well Woman Care, Weinberg Center for Women’s Health, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD.
How much or how little cervical mucus should be produced?
Dr. O’Connor says, “This varies person to person. Some women will continue to have a small amount of discharge. Other women will notice the disappearance of discharge almost immediately in the postmenopausal period.”
CM many years after menopause would be much more unusual than several months after a woman has completed her “change of life.”
I speculated that if a woman experiences a renewed production of cervical mucus within several months of being officially postmenopausal, this would reflect some hormonal settling, or, as the saying goes, “dust settling,” meaning, things are still getting figured out before the final set-in-stone stage.
Dr. O’Connor explains as follows: “After menopause, you are correct in that hormones are not shut off completely like a switch.
“There are still low levels of hormones present. Some estrogen is also naturally produced in fat cells; both of these sources can cause enough estrogen to stimulate cervical and vaginal glands to produce mucus.”
Sudden fat gain, in fact, can stimulate this process. Suppose a woman, having just completed menopause in the past few months, starts overeating (due to emotional stress).
She gains seven pounds in one month. The increased level of fat in her fat cells means more estrogen in her body. This can create a noticeable increase in cervical mucus.
All in all, unless the cervical mucus is soaking a woman’s underwear or coming out in large quantities, it’s nothing to worry about.
Dr. O’Connor is exceptionally skilled in minimally invasive/endoscopic and robotic surgeries.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.