Postmenopausal bleeding (PMB) is bleeding from the vagina that happens after a woman has stopped having regular menstrual periods because of menopause . Any vaginal bleeding that occurs 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual period is considered PMB.
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PMB may be caused by several factors. These may include:
- Continuous hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Thinning and loss of elasticity of the vagina
- Inflammation of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus
- Endometrial hyperplasia, a thickening of endometrium
- Polyps, noncancerous growths on the uterus or cervix
- Infection of the uterus or cervix
- Uterine cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Fibroid tumors in the uterus or vagina
Some medical conditions and medications you take can increase your chances of having PMB.
Vaginal bleeding is a symptom of PMB. Your doctor can determine what condition is causing the bleeding and whether it is serious. If you have PMB, you should see your doctor.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests will be done to find the cause of the bleeding. Tests may include:
Your doctor may need cell and tissue samples. This can be done with:
- Cervical cancer screening
- Endometrial biopsy
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. The first priority is ruling out cancer. Treatment will depend on the findings of your tests and the cause of the bleeding. For instance, if your tests show signs of cancer, you will be referred to an oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.
Office on Women's Health https://www.womenshealth.gov
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists https://www.acog.org
Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada https://sogc.org
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 440: the role of transvaginal ultrasonography in evaluation of postmenopausal bleeding. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114(2 Pt 1):409-411. Reaffirmed 2015.
Gale A, Dey P. Postmenopausal bleeding. Menopause Int. 2009;15(4):160-164.
Perimenopausal bleeding and bleeding after menopause. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq162.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121221T1430328285. Updated May 2011. Accessed April 16, 2018.
Postmenopausal bleeding. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116214/Postmenopausal-bleeding . Updated June 19, 2014. Accessed April 16, 2018.
Sonohysterography. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=hysterosono. Updated February 25, 2018. Accessed March 14, 2016.
11/5/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116214/Postmenopausal-bleeding : Khati NJ, Glanc P, Priyadarshani R, et al. ACR Appropriateness Criteria abnormal vaginal bleeding. Available at: https://acsearch.acr.org/docs/69458/Narrative. Updated 2014.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD
- Review Date: 03/2018
- Update Date: 11/05/2014