Menopause is the end of a woman’s reproductive life. When you reach menopause, your menstrual cycles would come to an end. But this does not happen abruptly. It starts with irregular menstruation. Then, when you have had no menstrual flow in 12 full months, you have finally entered menopause. This season of menopause (or what some people prefer to refer to as perimenopause) can range from one to ten years. The flux of sex hormones in this season can cause many symptoms. This flux can be very erratic for some women. It affects menstruation and ovulation, and everything in-between. Some women even experience brown spotting during menopause.
The average age of menopause in women is around 50 years. But some women experience menopause earlier, while some others experience it later. The age range is usually between 45 and 55. If you experience brown spotting or discharge during menopause, you should not get too worked up about it. It is usually nothing serious. But then, at times, it can signal an underlying health problem. However, so long as you get regular medical checkups, your doctor can diagnose any underlying problem. As you read on, we will tell you the possible reasons why you may have brown discharge during your menopausal stage.
Causes of Brown Spotting During Menopause
Your vaginal will get thinner as you approach menopause. As such, the sensitivity of your vagina to irritation and dryness may increase. You may experience burning, itching, as well as off-colored discharge quite more frequently than before.
If you see blood on your panties or underwear in-between periods, what you have is spotting. Usually, the flow is not so much as to require using a tampon or pad. When you have brown spotting, it means that blood is mixing into your vaginal discharge. So then, the big question is to confirm the cause of bleeding.
Spotting usually occurs as a result of hormonal flux in your body, as well as endometrium buildup. Many women experience spotting once in a while even before menopause. So it is not that much of an unusual occurrence.
You may have experienced mid-cycle spotting before around your ovulation. It is quite a common occurrence. But spotting may become more frequent during menopause due to hormonal imbalance. It can even be as frequent as every 2 weeks in some cases.
As sex hormone levels begin to decrease in the stage of menopause, your uterine cells and vaginal lining may start becoming thinner. Experts refer to this thinning as endometrial or vaginal atrophy. This makes your vagina drier and less flexible. It also becomes more prone to infection and inflammation than before.
Vaginal atrophy causes brown spotting, pain, itchiness, inflammation. It may also cause vaginal redness and post-sex bleeding. If the discomfort is too much, you should speak to your healthcare provider about treatment and management options.
Your healthcare provider may recommend that you go for hormone therapy. This can help stem the effects of hormonal flux. Aside from adjusting your hormone levels, hormone therapy can also help treat your endometrial tissue.
If you are bothered about stains and leaks, you should consider wearing pant liners. There are varieties of disposable options at almost any drug store. You will get a variety of materials and lengths that suit your needs. You can also get reusable fabric liners.
Other Possible Causes of Brown Spotting
Aside from the normal expected brown spotting, some underlying problems may also cause brown spotting. They include:
1. Vaginal infection
If you have infections in your vagina, it can lead to spotting and other off-colored discharges. But these usually come with pain, irritation, itching, and unpleasant odor in the infection area.
Certain factors may increase your risk of infections. They include diabetes, douching, and exercising while wearing tight undergarments. But then, you can treat vaginal infections. Your doctor will prescribe antifungal or antibiotic medications for your treatment.
2. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Some STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to vaginal bleeding. This bleeding usually becomes more prominent after you have sex. Some STDs also cause some other symptoms apart from brown discharge or spotting.
Chlamydia may sometimes cause no symptoms at all. So you should get tested for STDs regularly, especially if you have more than one sexual partner or if you just had a new partner.
3. Strenuous exercise
This is another common cause of brown spotting. Exercise is indeed very vital to keep your body in shape and sustain your health. But then, it may cause brown spotting when you are in the stage of menopause.
Some women have frequent brown spotting, especially after doing strenuous exercise. But then, this should not bother you that much. However, if it is your first time experiencing brown spotting post-exercise, you should consult your healthcare provider.
4. Hormone therapy
Vaginal bleeding is another possible adverse effect of hormone therapy. This occurs because hormone therapy can thicken your uterine lining. Blood flow as a result of this thickening can appear as spotting in your underwear.
If you are on hormone therapy and begin to experience frequent spotting, you should get expert care from your doctor. He or she may adjust your treatment to prevent or reduce spotting.
5. Some other medications
Certain other drugs used for managing menopause symptoms can also lead to vaginal bleeding. One thing your doctor can do about this is to adjust your dosage or switch your medications to offer relief from your symptoms.
Polyps refer to growths that attach to your cervix or uterus. These growths are usually not cancerous, but they may lead to bleeding and brown spotting. They may also cause occasional severe cramping.
And if you have polyps, you may not experience symptoms. As such, you should go for regular gynecological check-ups. The typical solution for Polyps is to remove them surgically.
Should You Bother About Cancer?
Sudden brown spotting or discharge may sometimes signal cancerous growth. That is because vaginal bleeding commonly occurs when a person has uterine cancer. But then, cancerous growth also causes other symptoms like pelvic pain, as well as pain while urinating and during sex.
To treat uterine cancer, you may need chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and possibly hysterectomy. But then, brown discharge during menopause does not always signify cancer. In most cases, it is nothing serious. However, you should see your doctor rule out any serious health problems.