Period After Menopause

Is Having A Period After Menopause Possible?

In the strictest sense, a period after menopause is not possible, at least by definition. A standard definition of menopause is one stating that menopause is not completed until a woman has not experienced a period for at least 12 months. The implication is that, once 12 months have passed, there should be no more periods and the woman then enters into post-menopause.

Not Always By The Book - There are many women however, who will say the definition of menopause is words only, and they have experienced one or more periods after menopause has supposedly ended. In the real world, as a woman enters menopause, her periods often tend to become erratic. She may have a period 2 or 3 months after the previous period instead of one month later, the normal situation. Another 4 or 5 months may go by, and then she will have another period. When this situation is happening, the clock is reset at each period, and menopause will continue until 12 months have elapsed after the woman's last period. When the 12 months have passed, menopause is said to have ended.

So, what happens if a month or two or three later, or even longer, a woman has a period? According to the textbooks this isn't supposed to happen, but life doesn't always go by the book. Some medical practitioners regard what happens as a true period, though most will term the incident "period-like".

Hormone Imbalance And Weight Loss - Much of what may be going on is often attributable to a hormone imbalance. This imbalance can occur as a result of hormone therapy a woman may be undergoing, or simply due to nutritional choices which are upsetting the hormone balance. These hormone imbalances can actually trigger a period, or at least a period-like incident. Insulin resistance is another potential trigger, and many women develop insulin resistance following menopause. Insulin resistance, among other things, can increase the levels of estrogen, which in turn can trigger abnormal post-menopausal discharges or periods.

Weight loss also can have an effect on estrogen production, and rapid weight loss can upset the hormone balance. This will not cause a post-menopausal period, but can induce bleeding, which may mimic symptoms of an actual period.

Bleeding Is Not Uncommon - Upwards to a third of all women experience a so-called period after menopause to some degree, and in most cases what actually  happens is correctly diagnosed as post-menopausal bleeding, and not as a period. Aside from hormone imbalances, the most common cause, the bleeding can result from abnormal cells or tissues that have formed in the uterus. The presence of such cells or tissues carries with it potential danger if the condition is left untreated. Treatment is usually straightforward and effective. A woman experiencing either a period after menopause, or simply bleeding or a discharge after menopause should consult with her doctor, as treatment of one kind or another will usually be necessary, and nipping any problem in the bud will always be in the woman's best interest.

Stress Can Be A Trigger - It should be noted that in addition to the more well known culprits causing either a period after menopause or a period-like discharge after menopause, stress often is a trigger. Women who are well past menopause will sometimes experience bleeding when subjected to sudden or high levels of stress. Such causes are fairly well documented. Even if stress is the contributing factor, any bleeding is abnormal and should be brought to the attention of a physician.

In summary, bleeding experienced more than 12 months after a woman's last period is most likely not a true period, and should be considered abnormal, even if  nothing may be wrong. It's probably fortunate that men do not experience menopause or post-menopause symptoms. Being men, they would in most cases ignore what is going on, and try to “work through it”. Women, often being a little more practical, will tend to do the right thing.