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Clinical management of vaginal bleeding in postmenopausal women

Carugno J1.

Climacteric. 2020 Apr 1:1-7. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2020.1739642. [Epub ahead of print]



Menopause is characterized by permanent cessation of menstrual periods and is clinically diagnosed after 12 months of complete amenorrhea. It occurs at a median age of 51 years alongside the physiological process of aging, although it can happen at an earlier age for other medical conditions or after surgery (surgical menopause). Due to reduced circulating estrogens and progesterone, the reproductive organs undergo progressive atrophy. This physiologic process of aging is also present at an endometrial level; without the cyclic hormonal actions of the menstrual cycle, the endometrium during menopause becomes atrophic. Postmenopausal bleeding (PMB) is a common gynecologic complaint encountered by the clinician. Endometrial cancer is present in about 10% of patients with PMB. Nevertheless, many other conditions, such as endometrial or cervical polyps, genital atrophy, or non-gynecologic conditions, may also be present. Historically, dilation and curettage (D&C) was the main diagnostic procedure in patients with PMB; however, newer methods of investigation have replaced D&C. The aim of this review is to present an up-to-date analysis of the current evidence for the clinical management of vaginal bleeding in postmenopausal women.