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Awaiting moderation 62147 Article

Uterus: menstrual patterns

        UTERUS: MENSTRUAL PATTERNS
The bleeding patterns of women as they approach menopause are as individual as women themselves. For some women, periods become lighter and less frequent until they disappear altogether. For others, periods are longer, heavier, and more frequent. This sort of bleeding, along with the pain that may accompany menstrual periods, is one of the most common reasons for women to have a hysterectomy. Factors known to affect women's bleeding patterns include their weight, race, nutritional factors, such as the fat content of their diet, and hormonal influences, which may be inherited or introduced into their lifestyle as hormones in the form of tablets, injections, implants, patches or ointments. Studies in progress are examining other theories for why unexpected bleeding patterns occur.
Sometimes women bleed after their menopause, that is, after not having had a period for more than a year. If this occurs, it is essential that it be checked by a competent medical practitioner as it may indicate the presence of a serious, perhaps even life-threatening, disorder such as cancer. In the case of Susan, spots of blood appeared on her underwear at the age of fifty-eight, six years after her menopause. Initially, she thought wear and tear during intercourse might be responsible for the spotting, but when it continued and bore no apparent relation to when she had sex, she raised the matter with her doctor. A vaginal cream containing oestrogen that Susan had been using for three years to reduce vaginal dryness was the probable culprit. However the doctor conducted vaginal and pelvic examinations and took a Pap smear before taking a specimen of cells from the endometrium (a gynoscan). This showed that the endometrium had become quite thick, which can occur when vaginal creams containing oestrogen are used after menopause. The gynaecologist performed a dilatation and curettage (D and C) to remove the endometrial build-up and reduced the dosage of oestrogen in the cream she was using to ensure that the same problem did not recur.

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