What Does The Color Mean
Although the vagina has less moisture after menopause, you might still have some discharge. This is perfectly normal.
A thinner vaginal lining is more easily irritated and more vulnerable to infection. One clue that you have an infection is a thick, yellow-white discharge.
Fresh blood looks bright red, but older blood turns brown or black. If you notice spots of brown or black in your underwear, its most likely blood. The discharge may be lighter in color if you also have yellow or white discharge due to infection.
A variety of things might cause brown spotting after menopause.
What Other Warning Signs Should I Know About
There are other changes to watch out for in your discharge too. For example, if you notice an unpleasant fishy odour and the fluid becomes thin and watery and greyish-white in appearance, you might have Bacterial Vaginosis . This is caused by an imbalance of vaginal bacteria and its usually treated with antibiotics or gels and creams.
If you experience yellow, green or frothy discharge, you might have Trichomoniasis. This is a sexually transmitted infection thats caused by a tiny parasite. As well as changing the colour of discharge, it can also give it a fishy smell. The usual treatment for Trichomoniasis is a course of antibiotics.
Other STIs, including Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, can also cause changes to discharge, sometimes accompanied by pelvic pain or bleeding.
If you notice anything unusual about your discharge and you think you may have an infection, its important to see your medical professional and get tested.
What Are The Hormonal Treatment Options
Luckily, for women who are only having vaginal atrophy symptoms, there are several options that allow estrogen to be delivered only to the vagina. These options can help to avoid high hormone levels in the rest of the body. Women who are having multiple other menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and difficulty sleeping may choose to use hormone therapy at higher doses to treat all of their symptoms . The local vaginal hormone options will not treat any menopausal symptoms besides the vaginal ones.
Mild symptoms can usually be managed with over-the-counter options. Prescriptions are available for moderate to severe symptoms.
Sexual activity should not be avoided if you have vaginal atrophy. A lack of sexual activity actually worsens the condition. Sex stimulates blood flow in the vagina and aids in the production of fluids so, therefore, sex actually keeps the vagina healthy.
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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.
Why You Shouldnt Ignore Postmenopausal Bleeding
A woman is considered to be in menopause after 12 consecutive months without a period. You may experience irregular bleeding leading up to menopause, a stage known as perimenopause. But once youre in menopause, all vaginal bleeding should stop.There are benign causes of postmenopausal bleeding. For 10 percent of women, however, the cause is endometrial cancer.Early diagnosis offers the best chance to beat endometrial cancer. I urge women to treat postmenopausal bleeding as cancer until proven to be something else. I dont say this to scare people, but a healthy amount of worry in this situation is warranted.
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What Causes Bleeding After Menopause
Bleeding after menopause is rarely cause for concern. It does need to be investigated, however, because in very few cases it will be an indicator of something more serious.
In about 90 per cent of cases, a particular cause for bleeding after menopause will not be found. This is not a cause for alarm, if there is a serious problem it will be identified through investigations. Most of the time, postmenopausal bleeding is caused by:
- inflammation and thinning of the lining of your vagina
- thinning of the lining of your uterus
- growths in the cervix or uterus which are usually not cancerous
- thickened endometrium often because of hormone replacement therapy
- abnormalities in the cervix or uterus.
These are generally not serious problems and can be cured relatively easily.
However, about 10 per cent of the time, post-menopausal bleeding is linked to cancer of the cervix or uterus and so it is very important to have it investigated.
What Does Healthy Discharge Look Like
Vaginal discharge varies from woman to woman and at different times of life.
Generally speaking, healthy discharge is white, cream, or clear. Its not too thick and can even be a little watery. It doesnt have a strong odor and doesnt cause irritation.
You can have so little that you dont even notice it until you see it on your underwear. Or you can have so much that you need a panty liner on some days. Both are within the normal range.
The color of your discharge can be a clue that theres something wrong:
- Thick white discharge with the consistency of cottage cheese: This could signal a yeast infection.
- Grayish discharge: This could be due to a bacterial infection.
- Greenish-yellow discharge: This could be a symptom of desquamative inflammatory vaginitis, vaginal atrophy, or trichomoniasis.
- Pink or brown discharge: Pink or brown discharge probably contains blood. If youve gone 12 months without a period, you shouldnt be seeing blood in your discharge. This could be a sign that theres an abnormality of the uterus. It can also be a symptom of cancer.
Here are some more signs that your discharge may not be normal:
- It has an unpleasant odor.
- It is irritating your vagina or vulva.
- Its more than a panty liner can handle.
- You have other unpleasant symptoms, such as redness, burning, or painful intercourse.
You probably noticed changes in discharge during perimenopause. There are several reasons you might have vaginal discharge as you reach menopause.
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When To Seek Advice From Your Doctor
What can you do about this? If you are worried at all, if any of the not normal symptoms are appearing and you’re not quite sure what to do, especially if they’re going on for a long time, especially if they’re associated with itching or burning, or inflammation or redness of the whole vagina area, then it’s very important to go and see the doctor.
It could be something as simple as thrush, it could be another kind of vaginal infection or irritation that can be easily sorted, so don’t suffer with anything like this. Please do get it checked out.
Is It Normal To Have Discharge Every Day
When it comes to vaginal discharge, whats typical for you might not be typical for your friend or even your sister. And not only are there differences between women, there are also variations depending on factors like your age and where you are in your menstrual cycle. All in all, this can make it difficult to know whats normal. For example, how can you tell if any changes you notice are just the result of hormonal shifts or if they might be a sign of an infection? To help you get to grips with this potentially confusing topic, weve answered some of the most commonly asked questions.
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Vaginal Discharge After Hysterectomy
For several weeks after your hysterectomy, youre likely to experience some type of vaginal discharge. This is especially true if you had a complete hysterectomy and now have a vaginal cuff.
Most of the time, the discharge is a normal part of healing. Now and then, however, it can be a sign that something is wrong.
Knowing what to expect and when to call the doctor can help ease your mind during recovery, so here are some basics about vaginal discharge after hysterectomy.
What Does Discharge Mean
Vaginal discharge can tell you more than you might realise. A fluid produced by the glands inside your vagina and cervix, it helps to protect your intimate area from infection. Healthy discharge can be clear or white in colour while the consistency can be slippery and wet or thick and sticky. The amount you produce will depend on a range of factors. For example, its common to get heavier discharge if youre sexually active, on birth control or pregnant. Also, you may notice more of it, and it may become clear and have an egg white consistency, around the time you ovulate. These changes in colour and thickness are completely normal and are associated with your cycle.
However, other changes may indicate an infection that requires treatment.
Is There A Way To Prevent The Problems That Cause Spotting
Menopause is different for every woman. You cant prevent most of the problems associated with spotting. But there are some things you can do to get an early diagnosis and treat them before they get worse, including:
- Getting a yearly checkup. If youre at high risk for cervical or uterine cancer, ask your doctor how often you should get a Pap smear and pelvic exam.
- Reporting unusual discharge, spotting, or bleeding to your doctor right away, especially if accompanied by pain or other symptoms.
- Telling your doctor if intercourse is uncomfortable or painful.
Tips For Managing Spotting And Vaginal Irritation
Spotting can be troublesome at any age, and so can other vaginal irritations. To make life a little easier, follow these tips:
- Wear a light menstrual pad every day to protect your clothing. It will help you avoid getting caught off guard in public or staining your favorite clothes.
- Wear breathable cotton underwear or underwear with a cotton crotch.
- Avoid clothing that is tight in the crotch.
- Avoid harsh or fragranced soaps and menstrual products that can irritate your thinning vaginal tissues.
- Dont douche. It can cause irritation and spread bacteria.
- Avoid strong laundry detergents.
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Cme Questions About Vulvovaginal Atrophy
A 58-year-old woman, who has been taking oral hormone therapy for successful control of hot flashes and night sweats, reports vaginal itching, burning, and dyspareunia. Clinical examination reveals a pale shiny vulva and petechiae in the vagina, consistent with vulvovaginal atrophy .
Which one of the following treatments would be most effective for managing this patient’s symptoms?
Increase her current dose of oral HT
Continue current dose of oral HT, and recommend initiation of vaginal estrogen applied twice weekly and vaginal lubricant applied at time of intercourse
Substitute transdermal patch estrogen for oral estrogen and recommend initiation of vaginal lubricant applied at time of intercourse
Continue current dose of oral HT and advise use of vaginal lubricant at time of intercourse
A 65-year-old postmenopausal woman who is not taking HT therapy reports new-onset vaginal itching, burning, and dyspareunia. Clinical examination reveals a generalized pale shiny vulva and a white raised area on the vulva.
Which one of the following would be the best recommendation for this patient?
Apply low-dose estrogen cream to the vulvovaginal area
Apply low-dose estrogen cream to the vulvovaginal area and hydrocortisone cream to the whitened area
Apply hydrocortisone cream to the whitened area
Perform biopsy of the whitened area
Administer 1 dose of fluconazole orally, followed by application of low-dose estrogen cream to the vulvovaginal area
pH of the vaginal mucosa
What Does Unhealthy Discharge Look Like
People who have passed menopause may develop vaginal atrophy because of the drop in estrogen levels, which causes the walls of the vagina to become thinner.
Vaginal atrophy can sometimes cause vaginal discharge, especially after something, such as sexual contact, has irritated the vagina.
If discharge appears thin, watery, and yellow or gray, it might indicate a rise in alkalinity and an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. These bacteria can lead to infections and inflammation of the vagina.
People with bacterial infections of the vagina whitish, cheese-like vaginal discharge that has a foul, fish-like smell.
Yeast infections are another cause of unhealthy vaginal discharge, but they are
If a person is concerned about their vaginal discharge and whether or not it indicates a problem, they may benefit from speaking with a doctor.
Bad-smelling vaginal discharge that appears yellow or gray could indicate an infection.
A doctor may collect a sample to test the bacteria present in the discharge. Not all bacterial infections of the vagina will require treatment.
Healthcare providers can offer various treatments for vaginal infections and vaginal atrophy, which are two possible causes of vaginal discharge around menopause.
People can treat bacterial vaginosis with antibiotics. Treatments for yeast infections include antifungal creams or ointments.
Some treatment options for vaginal atrophy include:
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It Might Be Worth Seeing A Specialist
Your gynecologist should be able to perform your initial evaluation. But, if he or she suspects that your bleeding might be related to cancer, its important to see a gynecologic oncologist, Mantia-Smaldone said.
Endometrial cancer is usually treated with surgery that includes a hysterectomy, which may be followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy. Because gynecologic oncologists deal with female reproductive cancers every day, they have more experience operating on cancers, staging them correctly, and determining the best course of therapy. And that can add up to a more successful treatment outcome.
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Can Vaginal Atrophy Be Prevented
A womans body naturally secretes less estrogen with age. This cannot be prevented. Without intervention, its unlikely that the ovaries will make more of the hormone.
However, there are ways to keep vaginal atrophy from getting worse. Avoid tight-fitting clothing, panty liners, perineal pads and any of the following that you may find irritating to your vagina:
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How To Identify When Brown Discharge Is An Alarm For Concern
If during menopause you are experiencing brown discharge in combination with pain, watery or yellowish discharge, depression, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, frequent urination, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, burning, itching, rash, hot to touch, mouth ulcers and/or loss of appetite, it means you need to visit your doctor for further testing.
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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Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Complementary and alternative medicine products have been extensively studied in the treatment of hot flashes, but less information is available on their use in VVA. One study found that Vitamin E and phytoestrogen applied locally as a gel improved the symptoms of VVA. An evaluation of VVA was undertaken in a cross-sectional study of 60 women, half of whom had taken 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D orally for at least 1 year and half of whom had not. The prevalence of vaginal atrophy was significantly higher in the group who did not use vitamin D, as measured by VMI and symptoms.
In a separate study, soy supplementation for the treatment of VVA was investigated. Phytoestrogens such as soy bind to ERs in the vagina and bladder. A randomized controlled trial evaluating dietary supplementation with 12 to 20 mg/d of soy showed no improvement in VMI.
Currently, well-established effective complementary and alternative medicine treatments for VVA are lacking.
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Key Points About Vaginal Discharge
A vaginal discharge may be accompanied by itching, redness, burning, and soreness.
Likely causes depend on age.
Usually, doctors examine a sample of the discharge to check for microorganisms that can cause infections.
Treatment depends on the cause, but applying cold packs or sitting in a warm sitz bath can help relieve symptoms.
Any discharge that occurs after menopause requires prompt evaluation by a doctor.
Treatments For Red And Swollen Lower Legs
If you typically experience clear vaginal discharge, then the treatment may likely be to “wait and see” rather than “rush to the doctor.” As discussed, clear vaginal discharge is typically a normal byproduct of the female body and does not need treatment. The more urgent concern is not when normal discharge is clear and consistent, but when it begins to change, as this may be a sign of infection or other health issues.
What Changes To Expect As You Age
As you get older, your estrogen levels decrease, causing an imbalance in your pH levels.
But, when hormones change during menopause, you may experience changes to how your vagina feels and smells. This includes:
Vaginal irritation. Itching and burning in your vagina can happen because of all the hormonal changes your body is going through. To relieve this discomfort, you can try vaginal lubricants and creams, estrogen cream, and natural oils like jojoba or coconut.
Dryness. This can happen when your vaginal secretions are decreased. It can also make sexual intercourse painful or uncomfortable. You can ease these symptoms with lubricants and gels.
Inflammation. This can cause infection or pain when urinating. If you have an infection, you may notice an overwhelming unpleasant vaginal odor. You may need to see a gynecologist to get antibiotics for your infection.
Discharge with bad odor. This odor may seem different and unpleasant to you. This happens when your vaginal alkalinity increases. A changing pH level in your vagina is normal during and after menopause.
If you have concerns about your changing vaginal smell or overall health, its best to consult with your gynecologist. They can help guide you through these changes and prescribe products that can ease your symptoms.
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