You’ve gone 14 months without menstruating, when suddenly, you begin feeling crampy, bloated, and here comes the blood — just like any period you’ve ever had.
- How can this be?
- Cancer is something that will resonate in the minds of many women who seem to be having a period when they thought they had completed menopause just a few months before.
“By definition, menopause is no period for 12 months, so any bleeding after this period [even 14 months] should be immediately evaluated to rule out cancer or precancerous conditions,” explains Mylaine Riobe, MD, founder of Riobe Institute of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Riobe, board certified in OB/GYN and integrative medicine, is the author of “The Answer to Cancer.”
Causes of Bleeding only a Few Months After Menopause Ends
Most cases of bleeding 14 months (or any number of months) after the completion of menopause are benign. The estimate for this is around 60 percent.
“Other causes are atrophy or thinning of the lining [of the vagina], making it bleed easily,” continues Dr. Riobe.
Intercourse and even an internal pelvic exam can trigger this bleeding, though it may also occur spontaneously.
Vaginal atrophy may present with only dryness, but there can be occasional faint blood appearing on one’s panties.
There may also be burning during urination, and sex may be painful.
The spontaneous “bleeding” from vaginal atrophy is very faint and subtle unless there’s been some kind of physical trauma to the thinning and vulnerable vaginal lining – such as what happens during intercourse.
The blood from vaginal atrophy won’t necessarily show up immediately after menopause ends, because as time goes on during the postmenopausal period of time, the vagina becomes drier.
Abstinence will exacerbate the problem because this promoted increased tightness.
“Infection of the lining of the uterus can also cause bleeding — this is called endometritis,” says Dr. Riobe. “Hormone imbalances can also cause bleeding.”
Vaginal bleeding after one goes 12 months without a period and has a confirmed completion of menopause can be caused by uterine, cervical, vaginal or vulvalar cancer.
Cervical, vaginal and vulvalar cancer are strongly tied to the HPV virus.