Why did my pe­riod sud­denly re­turn?

First For Women - - Love -

Q:I’m 52 and I haven’t had a pe­riod for nearly a year, so I as­sumed I was in menopause. But out of the blue I started have men­strual-like cramps and a dark red vagi­nal dis­charge. Should I be con­cerned?

A:What you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing is very com­mon. In fact, there’s even a name for it: a “last hur­rah”—a reap­pear­ance of your pe­riod for a few cy­cles be­fore go­ing into full menopause. This can be caused by a num­ber of fac­tors like stress or a re­cent health is­sue. I’ve even had some pa­tients whose pe­ri­ods re­turned when an adult daugh­ter came home for a visit (ex­po­sure to a younger woman’s pheromones can cause the body to re­lease just enough es­tro­gen to cause a pe­riod).

Still, I sug­gest see­ing your doc­tor to rule out other causes of bleed­ing— par­tic­u­larly if it’s heavy enough to re­quire that you fre­quently change your pad or it’s been go­ing on for two weeks or longer. Other pos­si­ble cul­prits in­clude polyps, fi­broids, vagi­nal at­ro­phy and cer­tain med­i­ca­tions such as blood thin­ners and hor­mone ther­apy.

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