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Menopause Int. 2010 Mar;16(1):5-8. doi: 10.1258/mi.2010.010005.

Age-related differential diagnosis of vaginal bleeding in postmenopausal women: a series of 3047 symptomatic postmenopausal women.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UY, UK.



The aim of this study is to identify the causes of vaginal bleeding in different age groups of postmenopausal women. Also, we attempt to estimate the incidence of postmenopausal vaginal bleeding and endometrial cancer in a defined geographical area.


The study was conducted at a gynaecological oncology centre in the United Kingdom, between February 2006 and May 2009. Patients were investigated according to established evidence-based departmental guidelines.


During the study period 3047 women were referred with postmenopausal vaginal bleeding. In 1356 women (44.5%) the endometrial thickness measured less than 5 mm on transvaginal ultrasound scan. Benign histology was found in 1144 women (37.5%). Benign endometrial polyps were the cause of bleeding in 10.1% of the cases. The incidence of endometrial cancer in our study population was 5%. The rate of postmenopausal vaginal bleeding during the study period peaks at the age of 55-59 years (25.9/1000 postmenopausal women/year) and declines thereafter. The peak incidence of endometrial cancer during the study period (12.6/10,000 postmenopausal women/year) was seen between the ages of 60 and 64 years and similarly declines with increasing age.


To our knowledge, this is the first population-based estimation of the incidence of genital tract bleeding and endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women in the United Kingdom. The results of this study showing the age-related differential diagnosis can be used to inform clinical practice when counselling postmenopausal women with vaginal bleeding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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