Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Bleeding after menopause

4-minute read

Key facts

  • Bleeding after menopause is also called 'postmenopausal bleeding'.
  • Up to 1 in 10 females experiences vaginal bleeding or spotting after menopause.
  • Always see your doctor if you have vaginal bleeding after menopause.
  • Treatment will depend on the cause of your bleeding.

What is bleeding after menopause?

Menopause is the time when you stop having periods at around the age of 51 years. You've reached menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months.

Up to 1 in 10 females experiences vaginal bleeding or spotting after menopause. This is called 'postmenopausal bleeding'.

However, perimenopause is the stage of life leading up to your last menstrual period. This stage can last 4 to 6 years. A common feature of perimenopause is irregular periods.

Can periods restart after menopause?

Your periods cannot restart after menopause. Once you have reached menopause, any vaginal bleeding is not normal. You should always have it checked by a doctor.

What can cause bleeding after menopause?

There are many causes for vaginal bleeding after menopause, including:

  • atrophic vaginitis (inflammation and thinning of the lining of your vagina)
  • thinning of the lining of your uterus (womb)
  • thickening of the lining of the uterus
  • polyps (growths) on your cervix or uterus
  • sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Some cancers can cause vaginal bleeding after menopause, such as:

Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT)

Menopausal hormone therapy, also called hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can sometimes cause vaginal bleeding. You should check with your doctor if you have bleeding while taking MHT.

When should I see my doctor?

In most cases, postmenopausal bleeding is not serious. But bleeding after menopause can sometimes be a sign of a serious condition that needs treatment. So, always see your doctor if you have bleeding after menopause.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

How is bleeding after menopause diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and your health in general. They might ask you:

  • how long you have had vaginal bleeding
  • how often you have noticed the bleeding
  • how heavy the bleeding is
  • when the bleeding happens (for example, if you have bleeding after sex)

Let them know if you have had any other symptoms and whether you are taking menopausal hormone therapy (MHT).

Your doctor will examine you. They may ask to do a vaginal examination and check your cervix (the entrance to your womb) using a medical device called a speculum. This is the same device that's used when you have a cervical screening test (which feels the same as a Pap test).

They will recommend some tests to find the cause of your bleeding, such as:

Your doctor will also refer you to a gynaecologist — a doctor who specialises in female health — for further tests. These tests may include a:

How is bleeding after menopause treated?

Your treatment will depend on what is causing the bleeding.

It may involve:

  • hormonal treatments
  • medicines to control problems with the lining of your uterus
  • surgery — such as a D&C

If you are having very heavy vaginal bleeding, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Resources and support

Jean Hailes for Women's Health and the Australasian Menopause Society have more information on women's health and menopause.

Cancer Council has more information on cancers affecting the female reproductive system.

For more information on bleeding after menopause, you can call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria). A registered nurse is available to speak with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2023


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

What are the symptoms of uterine sarcoma? | Cancer Australia

The symptoms of uterine sarcoma include: bleeding between periods bleeding after menopause a mass or lump in the vagina pain or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen (belly) frequent urination. Many conditions can cause these symptoms, not just uterine sarcoma. However, all women with unusual bleeding or discharge should see their doctor. All women with postmenopausal vaginal

Read more on Cancer Australia website

What are the symptoms of endometrial cancer? | Cancer Australia

The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is abnormal vaginal discharge, particularly if it occurs after menopause. The discharge can appear watery or bloody, and may have a bad smell. Abnormal bleeding or discharge can happen before or after menopause, and it is usually not due to endometrial cancer. However, all women with unusual bleeding or discharge should see their

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Vaginal bleeding - irregular - Better Health Channel

If you suffer from ongoing vaginal bleeding problems, see your doctor.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Vaginal health after breast cancer: A guide for patients - Australasian Menopause Society

Women who have had breast cancer treatment before menopause might find they develop symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, joint aches and vaginal dryness. These are symptoms of low oestrogen, which occur naturally with age, but may also occur in younger women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. These changes are called the genito-urinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), which was previously known as atrophic vaginitis.

Read more on Australasian Menopause Society website

Menopause

Menopause is often referred to as the ‘change of life’ because it marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life. Menopause literally means that a woman has had her last (or final) menstrual period.

Read more on RANZCOG - Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website

What is menopause? | Jean Hailes

Menopause (your final period) happens to most women. In Australia, the average age of menopause is 51 years, but it’s normal to have menopause anywhere…

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Menopausal hormone therapy - Better Health Channel

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can reduce menopausal symptoms, but the benefits and risks need to be considered carefully.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Menopause - Better Health Channel

Menopause is a natural occurrence and marks the end of a woman's reproductive years.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Glossary of Terms - Australasian Menopause Society

Glossary of Terms - For Women

Read more on Australasian Menopause Society website

Hormone replacement therapy - MyDr.com.au

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), now more commonly known as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), can reduce troublesome menopause symptoms.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.