Irregular Periods: An Early Sign of Menopause
Irregular periods are usually one of the very first signs that you’re approaching menopause. Of course, they may also be the result of a number of other events, but the most common cause is a woman’s transition into her menopausal days. In fact, the majority of women will experience irregular menstrual cycles, for about three up to ten years before her periods will completely stop. Only about 10% of women will enter menopause without any signs of irregular periods.
What is a Normal Period?
Every woman has a different menstrual cycle unique to her body, although the average consists of intervals of 25 to 31 days (from the beginning of one period to the beginning of the next). Approximately, bleeding will last an average of five or so days, with the average amount of blood lost being about two to eight tablespoons.
What is an Irregular Period?
An irregular period, would be considered an alternation in a woman’s usual menstrual cycle, which will persist for many weeks, months, or even longer. Abnormal bleeding and lengths of cycles are the typical characteristics.
Why Does it Change in Regards to Menopause?
As menopause inches ever so closer in a woman’s life, her hormones will fluctuate and become imbalanced. This is because her menstrual cycle is completely dependent on these hormones, and thus irregular periods will typically happen.
The most common signs typically include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in blood flow
- Blood clots
- Infrequent periods
- Frequent periods
- Missed periods
- Unusual duration of bleeding
Note: Some women may experience irregular menstrual cycles or no periods at all for weeks or months during their perimenopause stage, only to have their period again after this temporary absent.
There is a variety of factors and causes that may result in irregular menstrual cycles. But, once again, it is normal for women about to enter menopause. This will typically occur around the ages of 45 to 55, due to the fluctuating hormone levels within her body, especially estrogen and progesterone. Once the production of hormones begins to waver (and eventually cease), periods will become more and more irregular.
The primary hormones in the female reproductive system are as follows:
Estrogen: Estrogen plays the key role of thickening up the walls of the uterus prior to ovulation. As their leaves fluctuate in an erratic manner prior to, and during menopause, the shedding of the uterine lining will occur irregularly, and can lead to frequent or infrequent, and heavy or light periods.
Progesterone: Progesterone is another primary hormone. It’s responsible for promoting and beginning the shedding of the contents within the uterine lining after ovulation in which no eggs were fertilized. Another key job is plays is controlling the severity and length of menstrual bleeding. Once progesterone levels begin to decline due to menopause, irregular periods can occur.
The bottom line: estrogen and progesterone will typically fluctuate as their levels decease prior to menopause, leading to unusual lengths and occurrences of periods. This may be frustrating at first, but eventually nature takes its course, and those annoying, irregular periods will complete cease forever. While there are menopause treatments like Kuhl Care, irregular periods are going to persist no matter what type of menopause treatment you use.