I need a physiology lesson

Menopause - how it impacts your health, your sexuality, and your life in general.
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I need a physiology lesson

Postby StrawberryBlonde » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:12 am

TMI and embarrassing questions following:

I know how my body's put together. But what happens to the uterus and all that stuff as we age? Does it shrink away, sort of? Is it supposed to be receding? Would it be hanging low if I had really poor core strength and a flabby pelvic floor? What happens to the monthly store of blood in the uterus? Does it build up and then get reabsorbed into the body over time, or does it cease to collect at all during menopause? Does the cervix develop a plug of some sort?

I got some Lelo Luna Beads to help firm me up down there due to various things, mostly having to do with sex. When I inserted the beads I felt like part of my body was in the way, but I pushed them in around the resisting tissue. After the first day wearing them I had a tinge of blood. After two days I had cramping and enough bloody gunk that I needed a panty liner after I removed them. I left the beads out yesterday, and today there is no spotting at all. I have not had a period in 9 months, so where is this blood coming from? Am I coincidentally going to start my period again? If I get my period again, is it going to be the mother that makes up for the past nine months without?? I haven't been to the ob/gym since the birth of our youngest child, twelve years ago. Maybe I am due for another trip. :(

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby Nvr2Late » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:16 am

Around menopause (see Menopause), changes in the genital organs occur rapidly. Menstrual cycles stop, and the ovaries stop producing estrogen . After menopause, the tissues of the labia minora, clitoris, vagina, and urethra thin (atrophy). This thinning can result in chronic irritation, dryness, and a discharge from the vagina. Vaginal infections are more likely to develop. Also after menopause, the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries become smaller.

With aging, there is a decrease in the amount of muscle and connective tissue, including that in muscles, ligaments, and other tissues that support the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. As a result, the affected organs may sag or drop down (prolapse), sometimes causing a feeling of pelvic pressure or fullness, difficulty urinating, loss of control of urination or bowel movements (incontinence), or pain during sexual intercourse. Women who have had many children are more likely to have such problems.


The lining that builds up and sloughs off when we are pre-menopausal stops after menopause. It's all hormonally driven and when your hormones decrease the menses stop over time. So there won't be any blood collecting in the uterus anymore. If you have completed menopause then bleeding is abnormal, to my understanding.

With as much blood as you reported after using the beads, I think you need to get to a doctor ASAP just to get things checked out.
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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby seeking perspective » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:29 am

It is possible for the uterus to prolapse (drop) a bit into the vaginal canal. As hormones change, muscles can weaken (especially if they were already weakened by childbirth) and it is harder for the body to hold everything up where it once had been.

Nvr2Late is right that the blood stops building up after menopause. If you are past menopause, you should definitely get bleeding checked out. However, I have had several friends talk about "the big one"--one final doozy of a period months after they'd had any other bleeding, like the uterus is trying to get rid of all the rest of it or something. Bleeding may just mean that your body is still going through menopause, but it could indicate something else going on. Between that and the feeling that something is in the way, it's a good idea to see your doctor.

Has your husband noticed any difference?
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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby StrawberryBlonde » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:31 am

Thank you both for that info. I have never yet been able to find a good definition of menopause. How do I know I'm through it? If I haven't had a period in a year, am I then IN menopause, or am I POST menopausal? Is there a definite event that marks the difference in phases?

seeking perspective wrote: I have had several friends talk about "the big one"--one final doozy of a period months after they'd had any other bleeding, like the uterus is trying to get rid of all the rest of it or something.
That's what I mean. It's like it is all stored up in there. I had doozies for about two years before I stopped, and I was really hoping that was the last of them! My later periods started sooooo slowly, even the big ones. I guess time will tell whether the Luna Beads caused me to bleed or if it is just me. Since they caused cramping, I wonder if wearing them would help get the Big One going? Might as well get it over with. is that reckless? :)

DH has not noticed any difference that I know of, but I have. I don't have any pain or any of the other symptoms of prolapse, but he seems to "fall out" easily, and now I wonder if there just isn't much room in there. :( Blechhh. I don't relish the thought of finding a new doctor.

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby seeking perspective » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:44 am

I do find that when there is an increase in vaginal dryness, inserting anything (penis, luna beads, etc.) without sufficient lubrication can cause some abrasions and spotting. What you describe sounds like a bit more than that, although it could be that some internal tissue got stuck to the beads. (I know it sounds gross, but it can happen.)

"In menopause" is used in different ways. What most women mean is that they are experiencing all those annoying symptoms like dryness, hot flashes, etc. Technically, menopause is the cessation of periods. Women who have not had bleeding for a year are considered post-menopausal. Up until that time, it's considered perimenopause.

I need to find a new gynecologist, too, because it's been too long and it's time. I know it stinks to have to find a doctor, but because bleeding sometimes indicates something more serious, you need to do it soon just to be checked out. You may want to ask to have your hormones tested as well as get a physical exam just to get a good snapshot of what's going on with you.
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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby MayDayGirl » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:55 am

Here is a link to some good definitions and explanations:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/d ... tmenopause

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby StrawberryBlonde » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:50 pm

MDG thanks for the link.
Menopause. [...]Menopause is diagnosed when a woman has gone without a period for 12 consecutive months.
Post-menopause. These are the years after menopause.

So then menopause is the period of one year when a woman is no longer having her period, but it can't be diagnosed until after the twelve months are past (during which time she is now post-menopausal), because she might menstruate again before the twelve months are up. :) ::spin Until then it's called peri-menopause. Have I got it?

SP, I suppose there is a possibility that the rubbery bead "harness" got a bit stuck in there, though I did lube it. That would be a simple answer.

seeking perspective wrote:I need to find a new gynecologist, too, because it's been too long and it's time. I know it stinks to have to find a doctor, but because bleeding sometimes indicates something more serious, you need to do it soon just to be checked out. You may want to ask to have your hormones tested as well as get a physical exam just to get a good snapshot of what's going on with you.
If we lived in the same town I'd be asking to compare notes. :) Yeah, I do need a physical, but I always just ask for the minimum of tests. We've been without health insurance for years, and God's been REALLY GOOD to all of us, but he isn't going to keep our bodies acting like they are twenty-five forever...

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby seeking perspective » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:37 pm

StrawberryBlonde wrote:Yeah, I do need a physical, but I always just ask for the minimum of tests. We've been without health insurance for years, and God's been REALLY GOOD to all of us, but he isn't going to keep our bodies acting like they are twenty-five forever...


We've had some stretches without health insurance, and I know how challenging it is. New bleeding is always an important reason to get checked out, though. It can be a result of things that are fairly treatable if caught early but can become big problems if not dealt with.
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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby StrawberryBlonde » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:21 pm

Thanks, SP. ♥ I know I should get it checked out. Still no more blood. Maybe you were right about the sticking.
Does anyone know a jack-of-all-conditions specialist? lol There's this, plus I need a visit with the endocrinologist and possibly an oncologist and/or radiologist, on the advice of a chiropractor. All those new patient visits and diagnostics! $$$$$ Gone are the days when one visit to the family physician took care of it.

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby mamame » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:59 pm

Your chiropractor thinks you have cancer?

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby StrawberryBlonde » Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:06 am

He showed me a shadow on my X-ray, something he can't identify. For his own peace of mind (not mine, or wouldn't have told me about it!) he wants me to see a good oncologist or someone else who will investigate it further. I don't know whether to be skeptical, which is my nature, or concerned about it. If nothing else, it's prompted us to look a little harder for some insurance before I get a diagnosis.

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby Barbarah-Hephizibah » Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:40 am

StrawberryBlonde wrote:He showed me a shadow on my X-ray, something he can't identify.

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby StrawberryBlonde » Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:35 pm

Thank you! I appreciate that. ♥

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby Leah » Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:55 pm

Your regular bloodwork will show hormone levels. I'm sure your chiro has a lot of experience, but it might be a good idea to visit your county health department for a full exam, if you don't have a regular gyno. They will do a Pap smear and may be able to do an ultrasound that will give you a better idea of what you're dealing with.
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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby StrawberryBlonde » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm

Thank you, Leah. Actually, the chiropractor's suspicions and the bleeding (which stopped just as soon as I posted) are not even related. The shadowy figure revealed by the x-ray is at the very top of my spine, so they'd have to go in pretty deep to detect cancer up there with a Pap smear. :) Sorry, I was not at all clear about the two things being separate! The next time I have blood work I will ask for my hormone levels.

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby ledgemoor » Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:39 pm

Hi Strawberry--

The little bleeding you experienced is unlikely to be from cancer. DW was menopausal, but started bleeding ALL THE TIME. They put her on progesterone which helped, but did not stop it. Finally she had an endometrial biopsy which confirmed cancer. It is fairly rare. There were only six doctors in our state that treated it when DW was going thru it.

Pap smears not detect endometrial cancer. They detect cervical cancer, which is sexually transmitted. However, the virus can apparently remain dormant for years. If that is a possibility, then it is good to get a pap smear every so often so as to catch it before bleeding starts. But just one bleeding episode is nothing to sweat.

Physiology: Menopause is the cessation of periods, caused by a reduction in the production of progesterone and estrogen. Technically, the term "post menopause" is redundant. The transition from reproductive years to cessation of periods, called perimenopause, is when many women experience various symptoms, typically hot flashes and irregular periods. The symptoms are caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone. Because of this, I don't think they can do just one test to determine if you are in menopause or not during this transition period. If you haven't had a period in a year, it's a safe bet you menopausal. The Wikipedia article on menopause explains it well.

The uterus does not shrink that I am aware of, and nothing gets plugged up. The lining just stops building up every month, so no more periods.

Once the transition is over, sex should be fine. Your ovaries continue to produce estrogen, and progesterone, and testosterone. You should have no problems with vaginal atrophy or dryness, libido, and lubrication. If you do experience sexual problems, bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy will fix them. DW had minor hot flashes and no sexual issues from menopause. When she lost her ovaries, that was a different matter :-(.

The tissue that was in the way when inserting the beads was probably your cervix. It can be quite close to the opening, but moves up and back out of the way when you get aroused. If the pelvic floor gets weak, the cervix can protrude outside the vaginal opening. That happened to a friend who never had children. The Luna Beads are good exercise, and if they don't work out for you, regular old Kegel exercises are good. It might be good to do them in addition to the Luna Beads.

Hope the shadow on the X-Ray is nothing. Did a radiologist read it, or just the Chiropractor?

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby StrawberryBlonde » Thu Dec 24, 2015 12:51 pm

Thank you for your thoughts, Ledgemoor. The chiropractor read the x-ray, admittedly not an expert, and that is why he recommended someone who would do further tests. I am not at all worried about cancer causing the bleeding, just wondering where the blood came from. Three months to go to make a year without periods, so it's possible I will have another one.

The cancer rumor comes from farther up my spine, almost to my head and more likely in the soft tissue of my throat. And it may not be cancer at all, only a fuzzy x-ray. I only brought both things up at once because at the moment I was stressing about the money involved in diagnostics. :)

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Re: I need a physiology lesson

Postby ledgemoor » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:07 pm

...just wondering where the blood came from.
Probably from friction or bruising from the beads--your vagina could be more tender due to low estrogen from menopause. Or it could have been a little period.
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