Irregular bleeding around the time of and after menopause

The term menopause is used to describe the last menstrual period in a woman’s life.  In the UK the average age of menopause is 52.  Many women experience irregular bleeding as they approach menopause, which sometimes causes concerns.  Bleeding which occurs more than a year after menopause needs to be investigated promptly, because of the risk of it being caused by a sinister abnormality of the lining of the womb.  However, in the majority of women the bleeding is caused by hormonal problems or benign abnormalities, such as endometrial polyps.  By using ultrasound scans it is possible to reassure most women that the uterine lining is healthy and that they do not require any further tests.  In women with benign endometrial polyps the diagnosis can be made by ultrasound, but they will usually require a small operation called hysteroscopy to remove the polyp.  In women with suspected cancer of the womb the diagnosis needs to be confirmed by performing an endometrial biopsy.  All women diagnosed with cancer are promptly referred to consultants who specialise in cancer treatment.

Irregular bleeding