Your Cycle And Your Cervix
If you’re a woman who has periods and are not on hormonal contraception, understanding the pattern of your own discharge throughout the month can hint at the high and lows of certain hormones.
The cervix is part of the female reproductive system and acts as a gateway between the top of your vagina and the uterus .
Glands in and around the cervix produce fluid, which often turns into vaginal discharge. This can change in colour, consistency and volume throughout the month in response to your changing hormones.
The changes seen in your vaginal discharge can show where you are in your cycle and may help to indicate when ovulation the release of an egg from one of your ovaries has occurred.
Recognising the different phases of your discharge can put you more in touch with the rhythms of your own body and menstrual cycle, giving you information about your likelihood of becoming pregnant, or simply helping you to know the regular hormonal pattern of your own body and, in turn, to be aware of any changes that aren’t normal for you.
There Are Several Potential Causes But Some Are More Serious Than Others
In most cases, postmenopausal bleeding is caused by issues such as endometrial atrophy , vaginal atrophy, fibroids, or endometrial polyps. The bleeding could also be a sign of endometrial cancera malignancy of the uterine lining, but only in a small number of cases. A 2018 study by the National Cancer Institute found that only about 9 percent of postmenopausal women who saw a doctor for bleeding later received a diagnosis of endometrial cancer.
Still, we want the option to intervene early if it is cancer, since treating it sooner leads to better outcomes, Mantia-Smaldone said.
If endometrial cancer is found early, a woman has a 95 percent chance of surviving the cancer for at least 5 years.
Not Sure What To Do Next
If you are still concerned about your vaginal discharge, why not use healthdirects online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
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Changes During The Menopause
Changes to the vagina and vulva are common during the perimenopause , and are due to yes, you guessed it! your changing hormone levels.
Women in midlife typically experience a dramatic reduction in oestrogen levels, which can affect the vaginal and vulval tissues, making them thinner, less elastic and more prone to damage and pain.
The overall amount of vaginal discharge and natural lubrication also often decreases after the menopause. And while this change is normal, it can lead to symptoms of vulval dryness, irritation and painful sex.
The good news is, these symptoms can be successfully treated with vaginal moisturisers, lubricants or topical hormonal creams, so you don’t have to put up with them; see your trusted GP to discuss your management options.
Vaginal Discharge And Your Cycle: Are Differences During The Month Normal
Have you ever noticed that your vaginal discharge changes as you move through your menstrual cycle? You may have heard about ovulation discharge that happens in tandem with an egg releasing each month, but there are even more nuances to how discharge can change with your period. In this article, well address some common and perfectly normal changes in vaginal discharge before and after your period. Well also discuss how to recognize abnormal discharge.
Vaginal discharge changes over the course of a womans menstrual cycle. These changes in color and thickness are associated with ovulation and help to create conditions that are favorable for fertilization of the egg. These changes are completely natural. Discharge may vary based on the amount of progesterone and estrogen levels in the blood throughout the menstrual cycle. Progesterone and estrogen are two hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.
Once you reach menopause, your vaginal discharge may change once again. Many menopausal women have an abnormal discharge that results from decreased estrogen;levels that cause the vagina to become thin and dry. A thin, dry vagina can become irritated and inflamed, resulting in a discharge.
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Does Discharge Change During The Menstrual Cycle
Vaginal discharge changes throughout your menstrual cycle. Everyone will experience different amounts of discharge.
In the first week after your period, a discharge is not usually present. If there is some discharge, it will probably be quite thick.
In the middle of your cycle, discharge is normally thin and clear. It may look slightly yellow or brownish if it has been in your underwear for a length of time.
The Following Patients With Uterine Fibroids After Menopause Should Cause Oncological Alertness:
- with large sizes of myomatous nodes;
- with submucous localization of uterine fibroids;
- with recurrent and atypical endometrial hyperplasia;
- with a combination of uterine fibroids and adenomyosis ;
- with the severe neuroendocrine syndrome ;
- in the absence of regression of uterine fibroids after menopause against the background of age-related extinction of ovarian function.
In addition, the likelihood of activation of fibroids with menopause is increased in those women whose family history has had cases of this pathology. This is important to consider when treating uterine fibroids.
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Other Causes Of Changes To Vaginal Discharge
The other thing that can happen here is that the pH or the acidity of the mucus can change and that will affect the friendly bacteria in your vagina. We all know that there are millions of different friendly bacteria in our digestive tract but not all women realise that we have colonies of friendly bacteria in the vagina, too.
And they are very protective. They help to protect us against infections. They help to keep the mucus balanced just right, so if the amount of mucus in the vagina deteriorates or reduces, then that can affect our friendly bacteria and that can result in a change of smell and consistency as well.
Some medications can do it, antibiotics are a really classic example that can change the vagina and, you know, we’ve all heard stories of women ending up with vaginal thrush because they’ve had a course of antibiotics as well.
It can be poor hygiene. Unfortunately, that’s something that can affect the mucus. It can be man-made materials that we use in our underwear that can affect the flow of air and that in itself can affect the mucus, too. And thongs are particularly bad for this, and I have already posted a blog about the pitfalls of wearing thongs, so if you’re interested in that, please do click onto that afterwards.
Menopause Discharge: What You Need To Know
It is smart to take some time to learn about the five types of menopause discharge, what is normal and when to see a doctor.
Perimenopause is a time of ongoing changes for most women. You may not know what to expect or what is normal. Perimenopause may last for several months or for a year or more. During this time, your vaginal discharge may begin to change as well.
Rather than letting this cause you extra worry or stress, it can be smart to take some time to learn about the five types of menopause discharge, what is normal and when to see a doctor.
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The Only Constant Is Change
When it comes to female hormonal health, it can seem like change is always present. And just when you think you know what’s going on, it can often change again!
But by being aware of the subtle clues, many women can see the signs that their body is showing them and appreciate the greater cycle at play.
When To See Your Gp
See a GP if you have postmenopausal bleeding, even if:
- it’s only happened once
- there’s only a small amount of blood, spotting, or pink or brown discharge
- you don’t have any other symptoms
- you’re not sure if it’s blood
Postmenopausal bleeding isn’t usually serious, but can be a sign of cancer. Cancer is easier to treat if it’s found early.
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Genitourinary Syndrome Of Menopause
After the menopause, oestrogen levels fluctuate in a downward trajectory decline, which can lead to changes in the vagina. The vaginal lining may become drier, thinner, more fragile, and less elastic, often resulting in genitourinary syndrome of menopause , or vaginal dryness . GSM is the most common cause of postmenopausal bleeding.GSM is exceptionally prevalent amongst postmenopausal women. In most cases, it can be effectively treated with lubricants and moisturisers.
How To Detect Fibroids After Menopause Symptoms And Methods Of Diagnosis
The medical literature describes many symptoms of fibroids after menopause, but, most often they are talking about three of them:
- Increased profuse menstrual bleeding.;
- Large fibroids can put pressure on the bladder or rectum, leading to impaired urination, problems with stool.;
- Stomach enlargement. Many women ignore this symptom because they believe that they just gained weight.;
Other possible manifestations: pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, legs, pain during intercourse. Although you need to remember that these signs are nonspecific and can often indicate other diseases
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Symptoms Of Fibroids After Menopause
The main clinical manifestations of non-regressing uterine fibroids after menopause are as follows:
- late onset of menopause ;
- spotting from the uterus;
- lack of regression of uterine fibroids in the first 1-2 years of postmenopause;
- endometrial pathology ;
- ovarian pathology ;
- chronic anemia in the absence of pathology of other organs and systems.
The Diagnostic Process May Involve Multiple Steps
Even though postmenopausal bleeding can have a number of different causes, your doctors first objective is to rule out potential cancers.
Well usually do a physical exam to look for blood or masses, such as fibroids, followed by an ultrasound to see how thick a patients uterine lining is, Mantia-Smaldone explained. A postmenopausal womans uterine lining should be quite thin, since she isnt menstruating.
Endometrial cancer can cause the lining of the uterus to thicken. If your uterine lining appears thicker than normal, your doctor will recommend a biopsy, in which a sample of your uterine lining is removed and examined under a microscope.
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Is Changing Vaginal Smell After 50 Normal
During menopause, your estrogen levels start to decline. This causes the vaginal walls to thin, which means theres less exfoliation in the vagina. With dryness and less glucose in the vagina, pH levels rise. This can make you more susceptible to vaginal infections and inflammation.;
Thats why its important to monitor the smell of your vagina and vaginal discharge. Its normal for your vagina smell to change as you age, but lingering odors that are overwhelming can be a sign of infection.;
Can I Wait And See If It Happens Again Before Going To My Doc
Dr. Jessie: Please dont wait! It is very likely that your bleeding is nothing to worry about and just a nuisance, but occasionally it can be a sign of something more serious. It is always worth a check-up!
If youre experiencing post-menopausal bleeding, please follow Dr. Jessies advice and schedule an appointment right away. If you dont have an ob/gyn, you book a virtual appointment at Gennev Telehealth. If youve dealt with PMB, what caused it and how did you deal with it? Please share with the community: leave us a comment below, or talk to us on our or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.
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Tips For Talking To Your Doctor About Vaginal Dryness
Discussing vaginal dryness with a healthcare professional can be daunting however it is often well worth it as they will be able to help. Here are a few tips to make the discussion as easy as possible:
- Make a list of what you want to discuss
- Discuss the most important or most difficult questions first
- Write down what the doctor tells you
- If there is anything that you dont understand, ask for clarification
- If you feel embarrassed take along some information with you. It can be difficult to discuss embarrassing problems face to face, but if you find information on the internet about your symptoms you can use this to help explain and avoid having to make eye contact with your HCP whilst discussing the problem
- If you still feel unable to discuss the subject, write it all down and hand it to the HCP
- Dont wait to be asked, give the HCP any information that you may feel is relevant including a history of the condition, symptoms, the impact they are having on you, any lifestyle factors that may have contributed and any medication you are taking
- Many women find that their smears become more difficult, if this is the case, speak to the nurse about your symptoms and ask for some further information and advice about vaginal dryness.
Why Is Oestrogen Important For Vaginal Health
- The vaginal area needs adequate levels of oestrogen to maintain tissue integrity.
- The vaginal epithelium contains oestrogen receptors which, when stimulated by the hormone, keep the walls thick and elastic.
- When the amount of oestrogen in the body decreases this is commonly associated with dryness of the vulva and vagina.
- A normal pre-menopausal vagina is naturally acidic, but with menopause it may become more alkaline, increasing susceptibility to urinary tract infections. A number of factors, including low oestrogen levels, have been implicated in the development of UTIs4-7 and vaginitis8-9 in postmenopausal women.
- The vulval area changes with ageing as fatty tissue reduces. The labia majora and clitoral hood may contract.
- This predisposes sensitive, now exposed tissues, to chafing4.
Signs And Symptoms Of Perimenopause
The following signs indicate perimenopause. Not all symptoms need to be experienced, but at least some of the symptoms must be experienced to indicate perimenopause:
- Hot flashes
- Irregular periods
- Urine leakage, especially with laughing and sneezing; urinary urgency
However, irregular periods are the trademark symptom of perimenopause. When other symptoms occur with irregular periods, a physician should evaluate the cause:
- Periods that happen close together
- Spotting that occurs after sex
- Spotting between periods
- Periods lasting longer than they normally do
- Periods that are heavier than normal, or that occur with blood clots
You may be wondering, I didnt read anything about cervical discharge occurring with perimenopause! Why the heck is this happening to me? There is most likely a logical explanation.
How Often Do You Need A Pap Smear After 50
Women who have reached age 50 do still require pap smears, though not with annual frequency. Of course, this assumes you have regularly received normal pap smear results and have not had any history of pre-cancerous results. Women who have received abnormal results should connect with their gynecologists to determine the best course of action for their particular care. Women who have a history of normal pap smear results can generally extend the period between pap smears to three years.;
So, how often do you need a pap smear after 50? For women who have had a complete hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions, pap smears may not be required any longer. The same is true for women who have reached 70 and have experienced an entire decade of normal pap smear test results. Nevertheless, women should connect with their gynecologists for other tests, including HPV tests, every three to five years. Dont clear your browser history following your search for a gynecologist for seniors near me. Youll need the results. For women who have received a precancer diagnosis, regular gynecological screenings should continue for the following 20 years.;
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Perimenopausal Bleeding Or Spotting
Perimenopause is the period that leads to menopause. Its usually characterized by menopausal symptoms and irregular periods. Perimenopause can last up to 10 years. During perimenopause, its normal to experience heavier periods or irregular spotting due to hormonal changes.
Talk to your doctor if your perimenopausal bleeding:
- lasts longer or is heavier than expected
- occurs more often than normal
- occurs after intercourse
There are many conditions that can cause bleeding after menopause. Here weve listed the most common causes of postmenopausal bleeding.
Do I Need To See A Gynecologist After Menopause
As you age, youll notice several changes, beginning with reduced periods. This is something you should look out for after the age of 40. This is generally when female hormones begin changing, which results in several uncomfortable symptoms, including hot flashes, which usually appear during perimenopause. If you have gone a year without a menstrual period, you have likely reached the menopausal phase.;
Your body will continue to change after menopause, and many women experience symptoms that require gynecological care. For example, if you experience irritation of the vagina and vulva, sexual intercourse may become painful. Some women experience pelvic organ prolapse when the muscles that support their bladder, rectum, and uterus become significantly weaker. You may also experience urinary incontinence, which requires care as well. At the end of the day, maintaining a solid relationship with your gynecologist can help you keep good health after menopause.;
So, when youre asking yourself, do I need to see a gynecologist after menopause? the answer is yes. You must know the available answers when you search gynecologist for seniors near me. However, so long as your exams have been healthy in the preceding years, you will not have to visit your doctor as often as you did pre-menopause.;
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