A woman who began bleeding so much she thought she had cervical cancer was told she was actually experiencing menopause.
Gigi Gerencser, from Sechelt, Canada, hadn’t had a regular period for three years when she woke up one morning to find her sheets “soaked in blood.”
He rushed to the hospital, where doctors took a biopsy to check for cancer and said the then-53-year-old’s bleeding was “not correct.”
But the tests came back negative, indicating she did not have cancer, leading Gerencser’s gynecologist to determine that the gushing blood was a “unique” symptom of menopause.
Gigi Gerencser, 58, from Sechelt, Canada, rushed to the hospital believing her heavy bleeding was due to cancer. But doctors later revealed that it was a lesser-known symptom of menopause and that her body was giving “one last hurrah” before her periods ended.
Gerencser said that when he first arrived at the hospital, doctors were concerned that the bleeding could be caused by a serious medical complication.
When Mrs. Gerencser arrived at the hospital, the doctors were concerned about the heavy bleeding and sent her for a biopsy, where a small sample of tissue was taken to look for cancer, but was given the all-clear two weeks later when no cancer cells were found.
She then had an appointment with her gynecologist, who explained why she may have experienced heavy bleeding.
Mrs Gerencser said: ‘My gynecologist told me it was very unusual, but not impossible. I had a “one last hurray” period, a final and huge one.
‘She said it happens when women still have some eggs left after their periods decrease.
‘It was likely that I would never get a period again. Five years later, I still haven’t.
Mrs Gerencser said: ‘I can’t even explain it, it was so scary. I woke up to find blood gushing out of me.
‘I had had a total of three periods in the three years before that, but it was nothing like this. She was extremely weak.
‘I thought I was hemorrhaging from something that had burst inside me, or I was convinced I had cervical cancer.
‘(But) A couple of weeks after going to the hospital, the results of my biopsy were clear. My gynecologist told me that (bleeding) was a unique symptom of menopause.
“I thought I was going crazy.”
For three years before the episode, Gerencser had been in perimenopause, when symptoms appear and the ovaries begin to close, but the body has not yet fully entered menopause.
She still had the occasional period, but they were “weak,” she said, and months apart.
“I thought they would gradually disappear and I would never have one again,” Mrs. Gerencser added.
Ms Gerencser revealed that when she began perimenopause she also struggled with intense attacks of anger and anxiety and had constant joint pain, swelling and hot flashes.
She said: “I started thinking, ‘I’m a bad person. I hate myself. “I don’t understand what’s happening to me.”
‘I began to get intensely angry about absolutely nothing, and at any time.
“Someone could give me the wrong lid for my coffee at Starbucks and I would just want to break the cup.”
‘My husband and I started to have problems: we didn’t get along. This wasn’t normal for us: we had the usual arguments, but we never really fought.
‘Anxiety was something I had never suffered before, but still, to this day, I could open my eyes first thing in the morning and feel it take over my body. To the point where I can feel the hairs on my arms and legs standing up.’
He went straight to a biopsy, where a small sample of tissue is taken to look for cancer, but got the all-clear two weeks later when no cancer cells were found.
To help with the symptoms, Ms. Gerencser has been taking a topical hormone that contains 80 percent estriol and 20 percent estradiol.
She’s also taking vitamin supplements to get more magnesium, K2, and vitamin D and making sure her diet contains plenty of healthy fats like salmon and leafy greens.
Symptoms of perimenopause include night sweats, heart palpitations, vaginal dryness, and in some cases, heavy periods.
These heavy periods typically cause women to need to change a tampon every one to two hours, doctors say, and are not heavy enough to cause the sheets to become soaked with blood.
Although it is a symptom of perimenopause, hHeavy vaginal bleeding is also a common warning sign of cervical cancer: nearly 12,000 women are diagnosed with this cancer in the U.S. each year.
It may also be a warning sign of endometrial cancer, the fourth most common cancer among women in the US, with 65,000 cases diagnosed each year.
Women who have gone through menopause may also experience heavy vaginal bleeding in some cases, and experts say they should see a doctor immediately.