For many menstruating women, periods come like clockwork: every 25 to 31 days. But when a woman enters perimenopause — the life stage prior to menopause — she may skip periods, experience changes in bleeding, or stop menstruating completely. This sort of irregularity leads many women to believe they have officially made the transition into menopause. Read on to learn more about irregular periods and menopause.
Why Do Irregular Periods Happen?
Irregular periods occur as a result of hormone imbalance. Two important female hormones — estrogen and progesterone — are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and preparing the uterus for a fertilized egg each month. However, as the female body runs out of eggs, the monthly menstrual cycle becomes unnecessary. The body begins to slow production of menstrual-regulating hormones, leading to irregular periods.
Irregular periods are a normal symptom for women going through the changes of menopause. However, in some rare cases, they may be a sign of something more serious. Women should consult with a healthcare professional if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
• Heavy bleeding
• Extended bleeding (more than 7 days)
• Bleeding after sex
• Abdominal pain
• Excess hair growth
• Unexplained weight gain
• Accompanying odorous discharge
Click here to continue reading about irregular periods or read on to learn about menopause and irregular periods.
When Do I Reach Menopause?
Irregular periods can be an irritating sign of menopause, as this symptom can last several years. During this time, women may experience periods that are infrequent or too frequent, changes in blood flow, cramping and blood clots. These uncomfortable side effects happen as the body adjusts to changing hormone levels.
It is not an uncommon occurrence for a woman in perimenopause to miss several periods in a row and then resume her monthly cycle once more. For some women, the symptoms of perimenopause can last for up to ten years. By definition, a woman does not reach menopause until she has not had her period for 12 consecutive calendar months.
While irregular periods are generally caused by hormone imbalance, they can also be triggered by a myriad of other factors, such as stress, birth control usage, certain health conditions, diet, and exercise. Although rare for perimenopausal women, they may also be a sign of pregnancy. Click on the link below to know more about irregular periods and how to cope with it.
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Tips for Dealing with Irregular Periods During Perimenopause
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How to Interpret Your Irregular Periods