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Bleeding During Menopause is Common, Study Finds

black woman doctor visitExtended and heavy menstrual bleeding during menopause is common, according to a new study published in the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The findings reassure women who worry about what is and isn’t normal during this time of hormonal changes in the body.

Menopause, is defined by WomensHealth.gov as the life stage in which a woman stops having her menstrual period. A woman is considered to have entered this stage when she has been without a period for at least a year. The ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and the woman is unable to get pregnant. Going through this transitional period can cause some uncomfortable symptoms; such as hot flashes, sleeplessness, mood changes, osteoporosis, vaginal and urinary problems.

Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a long-term study of over 1,300 American women between the ages of 42 and 52, from 1996 to 2006. About 91 percent experienced bleeding for 10 or more days, 88 percent reported spotting for six or more days, and more than three-quarters had heavy bleeding for three or more days during menopause.

This study is also notable for its diversity. The women were  from Michigan, Los Angeles, and northern California — and self-reported white, Black, Chinese and Japanese. Previous studies had been mostly limited to white women.

There were no statistical differences among the women of different races or ethnicity.

“For most women in their 30s, menstrual periods are highly predictable. With the onset of the menopausal transition in their 40s, women’s menstrual periods can change dramatically,” study author Dr. Sioban Harlow, a University of Michigan professor of epidemiology, says in a news release. “These dramatic changes can be disconcerting, and often provoke questions about whether something is wrong.”

Harlow adds that more education around the issue of bleeding during the menopausal stages could give women a better understanding of what does and does not need medical attention.

This highlights the need for further study  to determine whether this normal occurrence during menopausal transition would impact diagnostic or therapeutic interventions.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, http://Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl and visit her website at http://www.SCRhyne.com

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