When it comes to out-of-the-ordinary symptoms, a lot of patients overlook the importance of disclosing them to their healthcare provider. For instance, getting in touch with a medical expert every time that one has a mild headache is probably not something that many of us will do. Nevertheless, the persistence of symptoms should always be interpreted as a sign of an underlying condition with malicious intentions. That way, even if the said assumption proves to be wrong, the patient will get a chance to look into the matter and get it resolved promptly.
Well, when it comes to female patients who are experiencing postmenopausal bleeding, the number of those who do not bring it up is concerningly high. In fact, women frequently find themselves facing endometrial or uterine cancer that could have been diagnosed much faster if the bleeding was brought up sooner. Thus, it is crucial to always account for all changes happening on the inside and outside of one’s body, regardless of how minor or normal they may seem.
Thus, once the postmenopausal bleeding is identified, what exactly should doctors look for? In addition, how should this problem be managed so that the patient can reduce the bleeding and any discomfort?
According to a seasoned expert in the gynecological field with over 27 years of experience, Dr. Joon Song, there are many causes of postmenopausal bleeding. In fact, as many as 90 percent of all patients will not be diagnosed with cancer upon examination. Instead, their bleeding will be caused by one of the many benign factors that are not life-threatening. Unfortunately, this indicates that the remaining 10 percent will be diagnosed with uterine cancer. And given that millions of women experience this issue every year, 10 percent is a rather large number that has to be addressed.
What to Look for When it Comes to Patients With Postmenopausal Bleeding
In order to rule out cancer as the cause of the bleeding, all doctors who examine patients that complained of this issue should conduct proper screening. These tests include everything from transvaginal ultrasounds via state-of-the-art sonograms to actual biopsies of any uncovered masses or lumps. That way, the doctor will get a clear idea of what exactly is the reason for their patient’s bleeding.
Fortunately, while most biopsies would involve a long needle that is extremely painful, postmenopausal bleeding that necessitates a biopsy will be much more bearable. In fact, Dr. Joon Song classifies this in the same category with a pap smear that does not even require anesthesia or accommodations such as an operating room or similar. Notwithstanding, however, it is crucial that all medical experts look for endometrial cancer as soon as the patients complain about unusual bleeding.
The reason why an unparalleled degree of urgency is required is due to the fact that any cancer diagnosed early will be much more apt to complete cure. Regrettably, the doctor can never know for sure how long the patient might have been holding the information about the bleeding to themselves. Hence why every second of time after finding out about the symptom is precious.
After getting the diagnosis for the condition, depending on the situation, the patient may require further treatment and in-patient care. Luckily, the 90 percent of women who are not diagnosed with cancer will simply have to work alongside their doctor to figure out a way to manage the bleeding. Expectedly, however, the actual management plan will differ based on the specific condition.
One of the most common candidates here is polyps. For those unfamiliar, this is an abnormal growth of tissue. So, if the vaginal bleed is happening because of polyps, the easiest way to manage it is to surgically remove them. That way, painful polyps will not be able to bleed at all and the discomfort should be minimized.
Another reason for the bleeding could be the so-called endometrial hyperplasia. This condition arises in females that have a lot of estrogen hormone that is not accompanied by a proper dose of progesterone. Consequently, the lining of the uterus becomes overly thick and causes bleeding. While patients who have endometrial hyperplasia are not exposed to as much risk as the ones with cancer, they should get tested fairly often. The rationale here is the fact that this condition often leads to uterine cancer and doctors should constantly re-check sonograms and cancer screenings to minimize the danger.
Finally, if the bleeding is caused by problems such as the thinning of the endometrial tissue, managing it will require prescription drugs that increase estrogen. In turn, the thinning should subside and eventually reduce and eliminate the bleeding.