Published: February 2021
Please note that this information will be reviewed every 3 years after publication.
Within this information, we may use the terms ‘woman’ and ‘women’. However, it is not only people who identify as women who may want to access this information. Your care should be personalised, inclusive and sensitive to your needs, whatever your gender identity.
A glossary of medical terms is available at A-Z of medical terms.
Text version: Post-menopausal bleeding poster
What is PMB?
Any vaginal bleeding after the menopause is called PMB.
What causes PMB?
There are lots of causes for PMB such as menopause-related thinning of the lining of the vagina, polyps (growths from the lining of the uterus or cervix) and use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Less commonly, PMB can be a sign of cancer of the cervix, uterus or vagina.
1 in 10 women with PMB can have cancerous cells in the lining of their uterus.
What should I do if I have PMB?
You should arrange to see your GP urgently so that it can be quickly investigated.
What type of tests will I have?
You will be offered an internal examination and an ultrasound scan, usually done by inserting a small probe into your vagina. You may be offered a procedure called hysteroscopy, whereby a thin telescope is used to see inside your uterus. This can be done in the outpatient clinic or under general anaesthetic. A biopsy from the lining of your uterus may be done as an alternative to a hysteroscopy or at the same time.
What are my treatment options?
You may not need any treatment. If treatment is advised, it will depend on the cause of the bleeding, and your healthcare professional will discuss this with you.
9 in 10 women with PMB do not have cancer.
If cancer is found it is usually at an early stage and treatment can cure it.
For more information, see NHS information on postmenopausal bleeding.
Sources and acknowledgments
This information has been developed by the RCOG Patient Information Committee.
Before publication this information was reviewed by the public, by the RCOG Women’s Network and by the RCOG Women’s Voices Involvement Panel.