I thought I was in menopause because I haven't had a period in three years. But last month, I got my period again. I'm 50 years old. What could be happening?
Answer From Tatnai Burnett, M.D.
Menopause marks the end of having periods and being able to get pregnant. You may reach menopause when you haven't had a period for 12 months.
Bleeding from the vagina after menopause is unusual. Get it checked by a health care provider as soon as you can. Or see a doctor who's had extra training to find and treat diseases of the female reproductive organs, called a gynecologist.
This type of bleeding is also called postmenopausal vaginal bleeding. It can be caused by:
- Cancer of the uterus, cervix or vagina.
- Thinning of the tissues that line the uterus or vagina.
- Uterine fibroids or uterine polyps, which are tissue growths in the uterus that aren't cancer.
- An infection of the uterine lining.
- Hormone therapy, tamoxifen or other medicines.
- Injury, sexual assault or abuse by a partner.
- Bleeding from nearby body parts, such as the urinary tract or rectum.
- Endometrial hyperplasia, when the lining of the uterus grows too much and becomes thick.
The cause of your bleeding may be harmless. Or it could be due to something serious. That's why it's important to see your gynecologist or other care provider for a check-up as soon as possible.
Tatnai Burnett, M.D.
Dec. 07, 2022
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See more Expert Answers
- FAQs: Perimenopausal bleeding and bleeding after menopause. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Perimenopausal-Bleeding-and-Bleeding-After-Menopause. Accessed Nov. 2, 2022.
- AskMayoExpert. Postmenopausal bleeding (adult). Mayo Clinic; 2022.
- DeCherney AH, et al., eds. Complications of menstruation and abnormal uterine bleeding. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Obstetrics & Gynecology. 12th edition. McGraw Hill; 2019. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Nov. 2, 2022.
- Goodman A. Approach to the patient with postmenopausal uterine bleeding. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Nov. 2, 2022.
- Vaginal and vulvar cancers: What are the symptoms? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/vagvulv/basic_info/symptoms.htm. Accessed Nov. 2, 2022.
- Uterine sarcoma treatment: Health professional version. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/uterine/hp/uterine-sarcoma-treatment-pdq. Accessed Nov. 2, 2022.