Possible Causes Of Periods After Menopause
Menopause is the final stage of a woman’s reproductive life cycle. Though it marks the end of menstruation, some women may experience postmenopausal bleeding or a period after menopause. Given below is some information on the causes of postmenopausal bleeding.
Menopause is the final stage of a womans reproductive life cycle. Though it marks the end of menstruation, some women may experience postmenopausal bleeding or a period after menopause. Given below is some information on some of the causes of postmenopausal bleeding.
- Since menopause marks the end of menstruation, having a period after menopause can cause stress. There are underlying causes of postmenopausal bleeding. Lets first look the reproductive life cycle of women. After the onset of puberty, women undergo a series of physiological changes throughout their reproductive years. The duration of the menstrual cycle ranges from 28 to 35 days. These changes are brought about by changes in the levels of hormones called estrogen and progesterone. The beginning of the menstrual cycle begins the rupture of uterine lining or the endometrium. The menstrual bleeding cycle lasts for a period of 3 to 5 days.
What Causes Postmenopausal Bleeding?
Women are said to be in menopause, if they have not gotten a single period for a year.
As Menopause Nears Be Aware It Can Trigger Depression And Anxiety Too
“Technically, menopause is only one day in a woman’s life, which is exactly when she has not had a period for 12 months,” she says. “It’s the period of time leading up to menopause that causes all the trouble.”
And it can start earlier than you might think. Many listeners wrote to us in response to our call-out for individual experiences with menopause to say that they struggled to get medical support for perimenopause in their mid-30s and early 40s.
When Edrie went back to her OB/GYN with the fertility clinic’s conclusion, she says the doctor shrugged again and told her that menopause is a normal part of life. She wasn’t satisfied with that answer. “Yeah, it’s a normal part of life, but it would be great if we could talk about it and figure out strategies.”
With that spirit in mind, we reached out to endocrinologists, gynecologists and psychiatrists for advice about navigating this major life transition.
How early can perimenopause start?
It’s quite possible for women to start to notice things changing in their mid-30s. Most women arrive at menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but perimenopause can start as much as a decade beforehand. And about 1% of women in the U.S. reach menopause at age 40 or younger.
Common Symptoms Of Early Menopause
The most common symptoms experienced during early menopause are:
- Hot flashes. These are sudden body temperature changes that produce heat and sweating.
- Night sweats. These are the night version of hot flashes. They can interrupt sleep, leading to fatigue during the day.
- Irregular periods. This is the symptom most related to early menopause. Menstrual periods become unpredictable in time and flow.
- Women often experience a decrease in sex drive due to hormone fluctuations.
- Vaginal dryness. The vaginal walls become thinner and lose their elasticity, causing pain during sex.
- Mood swings. Women in early menopause often experience sudden changes in mood or irritability.
Don’t Miss: Sweet Potato Menopause
Induced Premature Menopause Or Early Menopause
Induced menopause may result from premenopausal bilateral oophorectomy or from cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation. Premature menopause from these causes has increased over time because of the improved success in the treatment of cancer in children, adolescents, and reproductive-age women. Similarly, the practice of prophylactic bilateral oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy has increased over time . However, evidence for the long-term risks and adverse health outcomes following induced menopause is starting to accumulate.
How Is Premature Menopause Diagnosed
Primary ovarian insufficiency is often diagnosed when someone talks to a healthcare professional about missing several periods. If you have missed three or more periods in a row, its a good idea to talk to a doctor. Heres what to expect during the diagnosis:
- some questions about your family history, since premature menopause can run in families
- tests to check your estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, and anti-Mullerian hormone levels
- tests to find out if other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, are affecting your ovaries
If your doctor thinks you may have primary ovarian insufficiency, you may have a pelvic ultrasound to see if a cause can be determined.
Premature menopause cannot yet be reversed, but researchers are trying to improve the outlook. Treatments have different goals, such as:
- reducing your menopause symptoms
Recommended Reading: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Diagnosis Of Premature Or Early Menopause
Premature and early menopause is diagnosed using a number of tests including:
- medical history, family history and medical examination
- investigations to rule out other causes of amenorrhoea , such as pregnancy, extreme weight loss, other hormone disturbances and some diseases of the reproductive system
- investigations into other conditions associated with premature or early menopause, such as autoimmune diseases
- genetic tests to check for the presence of genetic conditions associated with premature or early menopause
- blood tests to check hormone levels.
How Do You Know When You Have Reached Menopause
While theres no definitive test that can confirm menopause, your gynecologist can help you determine whether you are near menopause by reviewing your symptoms along with your medical and menstrual history.
With changing levels of hormones during perimenopause, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Heavy and irregular periods
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Starting Periods At A Young Age Is Linked To Early Menopause
Girl talk: puberty hits younger and younger
Women are more likely to go through menopause early if they started menstruating before their 12th birthday.
This is the conclusion of the largest study of its kind, involving 50,000 postmenopausal women in the UK, Australia, Japan and Scandinavia.
On average, a first period arrived around age 13 and the last when the women were 50. But 14 per cent had their first period before they were 12, and 10 per cent had their last period before they turned 45.
To investigate whether there was a link between early menstruation and early menopause, Gita Mishra at the University of Queensland, Australia, and her colleagues performed a statistical analysis, adjusting for possible confounding variables like weight and smoking.
They found that women who began menstruating before the age of 12 were 31 per cent more likely to have an early menopause between the ages of 40 and 44.
Of the women who had their first period when they were 13, only 1.8 per cent had premature menopause , and 7.2 per cent reached menopause early. But in women who had their first period when they were 11 or younger, 3.1 per cent had premature menopause, and 8.8 per cent went through it early.
What Affects The Age You Start Menopause
Certain factors may affect when you begin menopause. Your family history, medical conditions, and hormones all play a role in when menopause is likely to occur for you.
Smoking may influence the age of menopause onset. Studies have found that smoking during the reproductive years was significantly associated with earlier menopause.
Don’t Miss: Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation
How Is Premature Menopause Early Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Diagnosed
If you begin to have symptoms of menopause before the age of 40, your healthcare provider will do several tests and ask questions to help diagnose premature or early menopause. These tests can include:
- Asking about the regularity of your menstrual periods.
- Discussing your family history of menopause at an early age.
- Testing your hormone levels .
- Looking for other medical conditions that may be contributing to your symptoms.
Women who have not had a menstrual period for 12 straight months, and are not on any medication that could stop menstruation, may have gone through menopause.
How Do Cramps All Month Occur
The cramps that you experience perimenopause are linked to your hormone levels. Hormones such as prostaglandins are released by the glands that line your uterus. It is due to these hormones that cause your uterus to contract during your period, which worsens the cramps if their levels get higher.
When the estrogen level is high, you will produce more prostaglandins and those levels often increase during perimenopause.
If youre having cramps but no period, you should check with your doctor to find out why this is happening. Keep on reading for some of the most common reasons for perimenopause cramps all month.
Recommended Reading: How To Increase Breast Size After Menopause
Are There Other Health Issues That Affect Women In Premature Menopause
Like all menopausal women, women in premature menopause experience lowered estrogen levels as the ovaries stop most of their production of this hormone. Low levels of estrogen can lead to changes in women’s overall health and may increase their risk for certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis. Other health risks associated with the loss of estrogen include increased risk for colon and ovarian cancer, periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cataract formation.
However, compared with women who go through natural menopause, women undergoing premature menopause spend a greater portion of their lives without the protective benefits of their own estrogen. This puts them at an even greater risk for the above mentioned menopause-related health problems.
Risks Of Premature & Early Menopause
The risks of developing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease are higher for women with premature or early menopause than for women reaching menopause at the expected age. For this reason, it is important that you seek advice and treatment from your doctor.
According to community studies, women who go through premature or early menopause without hormone treatment have a reduced life expectancy by about two years.
The advice below is based on current expert opinion, as there are no studies on women with premature or early menopause that establish which prevention strategies are effective.
Don’t Miss: Is Lightheadedness A Symptom Of Menopause
Going Through Menopause In Your 20s And 30s Sucks
“I’m self-conscious of sweating. Now I have to think about what clothes I’m going to wear. One day I thought I’d be fine and I wore a pale grey T-shirt to work and that was a disaster. The hot flushes are crazythey come out of nowhere at any time and I’m suddenly drenched in sweat.”
Sophie is 31 years old. She works as a television producer at an advertising agency in England. Like many young professionals, her priorities include her career, a mortgage, maybe marriage. She didn’t plan to add menopause to that list.
Read More: Living with PMS That Makes You Want to Die
The Londoner suffers from severe endometriosis. Her endometriumthe cells that line her wombhave migrated to other parts of her body. In Sophie’s case, that means her uterus and bowels. These cells follow her menstrual cycle, building and then breaking up and bleeding when she has her period. But unlike regular cells in the womb that are shed during menstruation, the excess blood has no way of being released and leads to chronic pain, heavy periods, inflammation, and the formation of scar tissue.
In order to prepare for an operation to have this excess endometrium cut out, Sophie was injected with Zoladex, a man-made hormone used to effectively switch off her period for three months. This will tame the endometrium, making it less bloody and easier to manage.
They did some blood tests and said, ‘Right, you’ve just been through menopause. That’s it. We can’t do anything about it. Off you go.’
Reasons Why Some Women Go Through Early Menopause
One in 100 women will start to experience the frustrating symptoms of early menopause before they turn 40.
Maybe you wake up at night drenched in sweat. Or youre struggling to concentrate, and oh yeah, your period has been MIA. These symptoms are enough to freak any woman out, even when she’s at the right age for menopause, the natural transition to infertility that most women experience around 50. But when these symptoms begin in your 30s, they can be downright scary.
For some women, early menopause is brought on by surgery that removes the ovaries. A woman who carries a BRCA gene mutation, for example, may opt to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes taken out in a preventative salpingo-oopherectomy. The result? Levels of estrogen and other female hormones drop dramatically, which may lead to hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other telltale signs of menopause.
But one in 100 women will experience these symptoms for other reasonswhich are often hard to pin down. In fact, for about 90 percent of cases a woman never learns the reason why. The technical term for this medical condition is primary ovarian insufficiency . Basically the ovaries poop out early, explains Shawn Tassone, MD, an ob-gyn who specializes in integrative medicine at Austin Area Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Fertility.
RELATED: 8 Reasons Sex Is Better After 50
Recommended Reading: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Premature Menopause Affects 1 In 1000 Women Under 30
Premature menopause, also called premature ovarian failure, is when the ovaries of women under 40 stop releasing an egg each month, halting their periods and ability to reproduce. The condition affects 1 in 1,000 women between ages 15-29 and 1 in 100 women between ages 30 and 39. The average age for menopause in the US is 51.
Premature menopause can be caused by autoimmune disorders, a viral infection, eating disorders, a genetic condition, a thyroid dysfunction like McLay’s, or several other health issues. Most often, though, the cause is unknown, the American Pregnancy Association says.
Beyond being painful and awkward to bring up on first dates , the condition is linked to serious health complications including premature death, neurological diseases, psychosexual dysfunction, mood disorders, osteoporosis, ischemic heart disease, and, top of mind to McLay, infertility.
“When all of a sudden something is not there, you want it more than anything,” she told Syrtash.
How Does Ovulation Work
Before we begin to understand ovarian failure we need to understand ovulation. In brief, a female is born with about 2 million ovarian follicles. As she gets older and reaches puberty she will only have about 300,000-400,000 left. The body does not make any more. These follicles are very important because they mature to be eggs that will be released during ovulation. Now, 300,000 may sound like a lot, but not every follicle becomes a mature egg.
When your menstrual cycle begins, your estradiol levels are low. Your hypothalamus sends out a message to your pituitary gland which then sends out a follicle-stimulating hormone .
This FSH triggers a few of your follicles to develop into mature eggs. Remember only one follicle will be the lucky one to become a mature egg. As the follicles mature they send out another hormone, estrogen. Estrogen sends a message to the hypothalamus to stop producing FSH. If the follicles do not mature and produce estrogen to stop the production of FSH, FSH will continue to produce and rise to high levels.
This is why women with POF are checked for high levels of FSH. Once the levels of estrogen are high enough, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland know that there is a mature egg. A luteinizing hormone is then released this is referred to as your LH surge.
Also Check: Does The Texture Of Hair Change With Menopause
An Introduction To Period Pain And Menopause
Most women experience period pain at some stage during their life. It can be a common symptom among menstruating women and part of PMS . However, as you approach the menopause, period pain may become worse again. One worrying symptom of the menopause is experiencing period pain, but having no periods. However disconcerting this may be, it is a common experience.
Period pain occurs when the muscles in the womb contract. This compresses the blood supply and reduces the level of oxygen in the tissues. This then causes you to experience pain in the lower abdomen, and sometimes in the back and thighs.
When Do Menopause Symptoms Start
If youre a woman in your 40s, you know menopause is on the horizon. But many of our patients at Kelly Morales, OB/GYN in San Antonio, Texas, arent sure how to separate menopausal symptoms from the more familiar PMS ones, and when to start looking for them.
Dr. Morales specializes in helping women of all ages enjoy excellent reproductive health including women in perimenopause and menopause. The best way to learn what stage of life youre in is by meeting with Dr. Morales for a one-on-one consultation.
Our team also knows that knowing how menopause works can be extremely helpful in alleviating your concerns. To that end, heres a helpful guide to understanding when menopause symptoms usually begin.
Recommended Reading: Heightened Sense Of Smell Perimenopause
Induced Menopause Following Prophylactic Bilateral Oophorectomy
Approximately 1 in 9 women aged 35â45 years has undergone hysterectomy, with 40 percent undergoing bilateral oophorectomy at the same time, resulting in the abrupt onset of menopause . The practice of prophylactic oophorectomy has increased over time and more than doubled between 1965 and 1990 . Meanwhile, reports now link induced menopause from bilateral oophorectomy with serious health consequences including premature death, cardiovascular and neurologic disease, and osteoporosis, in addition to menopausal symptoms, psychiatric symptoms, and impaired sexual function.
4.2.1. Mortality and cardiovascular disease
The Mayo Clinic Cohort Study of Oophorectomy and Aging involved a population-based sample of 4,780 women and reported increased all-cause mortality in women who underwent prophylactic bilateral oophorectomy before age 45 years . The increased mortality was mainly observed in women who did not take estrogen after the surgery and up until age 45 years . Cardiovascular mortality was also increased in the women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy before age 45 years and did not take estrogen .
In summary, data consistently show an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in women who undergo bilateral oophorectomy inducing premature menopause or early menopause. Estrogen replacement proximate to bilateral oophorectomy appears to be particularly important for reducing premature coronary heart disease and death in this group of women.
4.2.2. Neurologic outcomes