Post-menopausal bleeding (PMB) refers to any vaginal bleeding that occurs 6 or more months after menstruation ceases—in a woman not taking hormone replacement therapy. Although the vast majority of women experiencing post-menopausal bleeding do not have uterine cancer, a small percentage (5%) do—and that’s why it’s an important topic to discuss. Another reasons it’s important to discuss PMB is that we are now witnessing an increase in the incidence of uterine cancer – also known as endometrial cancer. In fact, endometrial cancer is the only one of the gynecologic cancers –the others being cervical and ovarian—that is increasing.
Most women experience menopause between the ages of 48 and 53. Menopause is often—but not always—accompanied by a variety of symptoms that may include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, declining libido and a variety of other subtle changes.
Prior to the menopause women often experience shorter cycles, occasional skipped periods and lighter flow until they’ve experienced their “final” period. However, between 5-10% of women will stop menstruating for 6 months only to experience another episode of bleeding.