Brown spotting during menopause
During menopause (after 45-50) women no longer have menstrual periods but women could experience light bleeding or brown spotting. A condition known as atrophy can also cause brown spotting during menopause. Atrophy occurs when the blood vessels within the uterine lining become weak and spontaneously burst, causing brown spotting.
Not all cases of brown vaginal spotting are cause for concern during menopause.
As actual blood can range in color from pink to brown, the type of brown spotting during menopause also can be different (brown, dark brown, light brown). In most cases brown spotting during menopause could be a natural result of the changes in hormones but sometimes it could be a symptom of some health conditions.
Brown spotting during menopause – causes
Perimenopause occurs few years before menopause starts (2-8 years before the occurrence of menopause). The beginning of perimenopause and its length differ from case to case. Main symptom of perimenopause is menstrual dysfunction (irregular periods). Menstrual periods become lighter or heavier or sporadic or absent (due to “hormonal storms”) – during perimenopause the level of estrogen rises and falls unevenly.
During perimenopause women often experience unpleasant brown spotting, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia and pain during sex.
Uterine polyps are growths that occur on the endometrial wall – inside of uterus. These growths stem from the overgrowth of cells in the wall’s lining. They can range in size – they are common for women in their 40s and 50s and can vary in number from one to several. Some menopausal women with uterine polyps have no symptoms but some mention irregular brown spotting.
Vaginal dryness is a very common problem for women going through menopause. Vaginal dryness is also a result of decreased level of estrogen. Sometimes the dry vagina could be the only cause of brown spotting during menopause. During menopause many women experience dryness, itching, stinging, burning, pain and brown spotting during and/or after intercourse. Some vaginal lubricants could be very useful.
Brown spotting during menopause
During menopause the lack of estrogen can cause the uterine lining to thin, causing the blood vessels inside to become weak. When the blood vessels react in this way they are subject to bursting spontaneously, which is a phenomenon known as atrophy. The endometrial atrophy can easily be the cause of brown spotting during menopause. As it takes a bit of time for this small amount of blood to reach the outside of the vagina from the uterus, it may appear to be dark pink in color, or brown.
Vaginal infection also can be a reason for brown spotting during menopause – when bacteria normally present in the vagina grow uncontrolled, an infection can occur, even after menopause. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and/or Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are well known provokers for brown vaginal spotting. Most common causes for brown vaginal spotting during menopause could be untreated gonorrhea, Chlamydia or vaginal warts.
Exercising regularly during menopause is beneficial for health. However, exercising too much or too vigorously can put stress on the body and provoke brown spotting. It is well know that women could spot or have brown spotting during or after exercise because of vigorous activity.
Cervical cancer or Endometrial cancer
Brown spotting that occurs after menopause occasionally could signal more serious health condition that needs to be urgently evaluated. If you never had brown spotting during menopause and suddenly experience brown spotting, if brown spotting combined with vaginal discomfort and/or odor and/or unexpected weight loss – visit your doctor as soon as possible!
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