Do You Need Tests To Diagnose Menopause
You don’t need to be tested to see if you have started perimenopause or reached menopause. You and your doctor will most likely be able to tell based on irregular periods and other symptoms.
If you have heavy, irregular periods, your doctor may want to do tests to rule out a serious cause of the bleeding. Heavy bleeding may be a normal sign of perimenopause. But it can also be caused by infection, disease, or a pregnancy problem.
You may not need to see your doctor about menopause symptoms. But it is important to keep up your annual physical exams. Your risks for heart disease, cancer, and bone thinning increase after menopause. At your yearly visits, your doctor can check your overall health and recommend testing as needed.
Heavy Or Prolonged Bleeding In Menopause Dangerous Or Normal
Actually, it CAN be normal. Heavy and/or prolonged bleeding during perimenopause can be a normal variant. I had my period every other week for a little over a year. Because prolonged bleeding can be a symptom of more serious conditions, it is important to be checked out by a physician. A pelvic ultrasound and/or endometrial biopsy can rule out pathology. Even if no serious condition is found, you must be monitored for anemia. Regular red blood cell and hemoglobin counts are recommended. I simply increased my intake of red meat and took iron supplements and was never anemic.
Even in the absence of disease, if bleeding persists, your MD may recommend a simple D & C or even hysterectomy. Id get a second opinion or even a third. Remember that NO surgical procedure is simple each has risks, including that of general anesthesia. A good rule of thumb is to always try the least interventional remedy first.
It took me three tries to find an enlightened gynecologist who felt that heavy bleeding was a normal variant. After ultrasounds and an endometrial biopsy returned as normal with menopausal thickening of uterine lining), together we monitored me for anemia and eventually I began skipping periods as I continued on my menopause journey.
Hope this helps let me know if you have further questions. For more info check out our blogsite at www.menopausegoddessblog.org. Good luck. Lynette Sheppard RN.
This content was originally published here.
Irregular Periods In Your 40s Is It Perimenopause Or Something Else
If youre in your mid- to late 40s and your periods are becoming irregular, you may be in the menopausal transition, or perimenopause. This is the natural stage your body goes through as you approach menopause.
This stage lasts about four years on average, although some women may experience only a few months or many more years of symptoms. It is characterized by fluctuations in hormones as your ovaries are nearly out of eggs. Your estrogen levels drop and you may have markedly irregular menstrual cycles. On top of irregular periods, hormonal changes can lead to weight gain, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and depression.
Perimenopause ends with menopause, at which point you have not had a period for 12 months.
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What’s The First Sign Of Perimenopause
The first perimenopause sign is typically a disruption of your menstrual cycle. For many women, your period starts earlier or later than normal. For example, if your menstrual cycle has always been 28 days, during perimenopause, your period could come as early as 21 or as late as 35 days. Some women start skipping months entirely and then experience heavier-than-normal periods when they do have them.
How Can You Alleviate Perimenopausal Symptoms
Some women deal with the symptoms of perimenopause, and some women seek treatment for specific health concerns. Women with heavy bleeding, periods that last longer than seven days, spotting between periods or cycles that are less than 21 days should contact a doctor.
Typically, perimenopause is a gradual transition, and no particular test indicates what is happening to the body. Hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen treatments and antidepressants can help treat perimenopausal symptoms.
Start by identifying what’s bothering you most and then working with your doctor to address it. There are steps you can take to feel better. Lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in easing perimenopausal symptoms and improving your overall health include:
What Is Menorrhagia
Average blood loss during menstruation is around 30 to 40 milliliters, or 2 to 3 tablespoons, over a period of 4 to 5 days. Officially, menorrhagia is a loss of over 80 milliliters of blood in one cycle, or twice the normal amount.
In reality, when a woman approaches the doctor, it is normally the effect of the bleeding on daily life that is more significant.
An alternative definition that has been suggested is, Menstrual loss that is greater than the woman feels she can reasonably manage.
This type of flow lasts longer than 7 days , and it requires a woman to change her pad or tampon every 2 hours or more.
She may also pass blood clots larger in size than a quarter, and she may experience anemia due to the volume of blood loss.
Menorrhagia is one of the most commonly reported gynecologic complaints. In half of the women diagnosed, an underlying cause cannot be identified, but it can be a sign of a serious problem.
Menorrhagia may happen when a menstrual cycle does not produce an egg, leading to a hormone imbalance. Menstrual cycles without ovulation, known as anovulation, are most common in those who:
- Have recently started menstruating
Other health conditions that can trigger menorrhagia include thyroid disorders, endometriosis, and liver or kidney disease.
What You Can Do
Consider keeping a journal to track your periods. Include information such as:
- when they start
- whether you have any in-between spotting
You can also log this information in an app, like Eve.
Worried about leaks and stains? Consider wearing panty liners. Disposable panty liners are available at most drugstores. They come in a variety of lengths and materials.
You can even buy reusable liners that are made of fabric and can be washed over and over again.
A skipped period can also cause the lining to build up, leading to heavy bleeding.
Bleeding is considered heavy if it:
- soaks through one tampon or pad an hour for several hours
- requires double protection such as a tampon and pad to control menstrual flow
- causes you to interrupt your sleep to change your pad or tampon
- lasts longer than 7 days
When bleeding is heavy, it may last longer, disrupting your everyday life. You may find it uncomfortable to exercise or carry on with your normal tasks.
Heavy bleeding can also cause fatigue and increase your risk for other health concerns, such as anemia.
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Menopause Symptoms Can Feel Like Pms
Some women develop symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome for the first time or have more acute;levels of their normal;PMS. These symptoms can be physical, psychological, or emotional. Most of us will have had some level of PMS during the second half of the monthly cycle over the years. Symptoms may have been getting stronger during your 30s and 40s, approaching menopause. Most common symptoms are irritability, aggression, tearfulness, mood swings, breast pain;and fluid retention.
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Anemia Due To Heavy Or Prolonged Periods
Now, one of the other things that can happen very quickly, only after one or two heavy or prolonged periods is that you can get something called anemia. And anemia is low iron. You lose iron through bleeding, and if you’re having very prolonged periods or periods very close together, then your body can’t make up that shortfall, and low iron will cause a whole raft of symptoms that are very similar to menopause ones.;;
So low iron is going to cause fatigue, it’s going to cause joint pains, it can cause sleep problems, it can cause anxiety, it can cause stress, it can cause depression, and if you have anemia long enough, you may find that your hair starts to get very brittle, your nails will start to get very brittle and stop growing properly. So as you can see, the symptoms of anemia could very well be mistaken for menopause ones.;;
So if you’re in this situation, it’s really important to get a proper check from your doctor. They can check your iron levels and if necessary, they can recommend an iron supplement. If you want to go natural, I know some people don’t like the doctor’s iron tablets because they can cause constipation and black stools, which is not very pleasant, there are really nice forms of gentle iron that you can get, either in liquid forms or in tablets, and you will get those from your local health food shop.;;
And hopefully, I will see you next week for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.
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Perimenopause Bleeding: Symptoms And Treatment
Menopause occurs once youve not had a period for at least one full year. The stage prior to menopause is called perimenopause, a term meaning around menopause. So what is it that triggers perimenopausal bleeding?;Major hormonal changes are largely to blame for symptoms, such as night sweats, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and perimenopausal bleeding. This particular phase could last anywhere from a few months to 10 years.;
What Are The Symptoms
Common symptoms include:
- Irregular periods. Some women have light periods. Others have heavy bleeding. Your menstrual cycle may be longer or shorter, or you may skip periods.
- Vaginal dryness.
Some women have only a few mild symptoms. Others have severe symptoms that disrupt their sleep and daily lives.
Symptoms tend to last or get worse the first year or more after menopause. Over time, hormones even out at low levels, and many symptoms improve or go away.
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Abnormal Uterine Bleeding In Peri
When should you see a clinician about excessive or unexpected bleeding?
Abnormal uterine bleeding is a common problem for women of all ages, accounting for up to one-third of gynecologic office visits. The two main types are heavy bleeding that occurs at an appropriate or expected time, such as a heavy menstrual period , and any type of bleeding that occurs unexpectedly . The absence of regular menstrual periods for several months is also considered an abnormal bleeding pattern. AUB can be tricky to identify, because what’s normal depends on a woman’s reproductive age.
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- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
Yes. Although its normal for periods to change as you near menopause, you should still talk with your obstetriciangynecologist about bleeding changes. Abnormal bleeding sometimes can be a sign of health problems. Its especially important to tell your ob-gyn if you have bleeding after menopause.
If you have any bleeding after menopause, or if you have any of the abnormal changes in your monthly cycle listed above, its important to see your ob-gyn to find out the cause. Many things can cause abnormal bleeding, including
Polyps are noncancerous growths that attach to the wall of the uterus. They also may develop on the endometrium . These growths may cause irregular or heavy bleeding. Polyps also can grow on the cervix or inside the cervical canal. Polyps on the cervix may cause bleeding after sex.
After menopause, the uterine lining may become too thin. This can happen when a woman has low levels of estrogen. The condition is called endometrial atrophy. As the lining thins, a woman may have abnormal bleeding.
The risk factors for endometrial cancer include
early age when periods started
older age at menopause
long-term use of medications containing high doses of estrogen
treatment with a drug called tamoxifen
certain tumors of the ovaries
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How Long Should You Use Progesterone
If you are getting close to actual menopause, you might be concerned that if you used hormones such as progesterone that it will prolong perimenopause or interfere with actual menopause. However, this is not the case. Women can safely use low levels of progesterone to manage symptoms without promoting monthly cycles.
Seeing A Gp And Further Tests
A GP will start by asking you about your heavy bleeding, any changes to your periods and any other symptoms you have, like bleeding between your periods or period pain.
The GP may also suggest a physical examination or refer you for further tests to try to find out if there’s an underlying cause for your heavy periods.
Further tests may include:
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Is My Heavy Bleeding Just A Normal Part Of Menopause
The most common cause of heavy periods during menopause is hormonal imbalance. During the beginning of a normal menstrual cycle, a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone rises which stimulates follicles to mature in the ovaries. Many follicles are stimulated during a cycle and these follicles produce oestrogen which is required to thicken the lining of the womb . Only one follicle will be mature enough to be ovulated.
As there is a decline in the number of follicles at perimenopause, the body tries to recruit as many as possible at the beginning of the cycle. It does this by increasing FSH levels. This part of the cycle can take longer than usual as it becomes harder to recruit eggs. There is an increase in oestrogen from the many follicles stimulated. These higher levels of oestrogen act on the endometrium during the long stimulation period, making it thicker and resulting in heavy periods.2
Ovulation is required for a period to occur. The progesterone produced by the ovulated egg, and its subsequent withdrawal, is what causes a period. During the perimenopause, anovulation becomes more frequent. Thus there is still oestrogen production by the follicles causing the endometrium to thicken, but no progesterone. The endometrium only continues to thicken. Eventually the lining outgrows its blood supply and breaks down, resulting in shedding which women see as irregular and/or prolonged and/or heavy bleeding.
Why Its Important To Consult Your Doctor
Very often, it’s nothing to worry about. It’s just the way your own hormonals are behaving, but, and this is one of the big buts if you like, a lot of women can have fibroids, little fibroids, which are growths in the womb that they don’t realise they’ve had because they’ve never caused any problem at all.;;
But when the hormones start to change, this might end up disrupting them in some way, and they can contribute to the bleeding. Some women can end up with little cysts, or there’s also other growths called polyps as well. All of these could be contributory factors and it’s really important that you seek medical advice to make sure that there’s nothing else like these situations going on.;
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An Introduction To Heavy Periods And Menopause
In the lead up to the menopause, known as the peri-menopause, many women experience changes to their normal menstrual cycle, including unusually heavy bleeding. This symptom is usually accompanied by irregular periods. A woman may go for several months without a period and then experience particularly heavy bleeding, or may find her periods coming thick and fast.
Aside from the obvious inconvenience of this, heavy bleeding may also lead to further health problems, such as anaemia. This is when there is not a high enough level of iron in the body. This can lead to extreme exhaustion and weakness.
While many women suffer from heavy periods in the lead up to their menopause, it is important to remember that prolonged bleeding should be checked by your doctor. Bleeding for longer than 1 week per month is not healthy.
Fifth: Increase Intake Of Key Nutrients
A combination of nutrient deficiencies can really keep you trapped in the cycle of heavy bleeding. Even if you try to get all your nutrients through food alone, you WILL come up short.Here are the top 3 supplements I recommend for women in perimenopause who are consistently experiencing heavy bleeding:
- Magnesium Magnesium is the PERFECT tool to give you quick wins during your period and throughout the month. It acts as a gentle muscle relaxant to reduce pain during your period and it may even help lighten your flow! Plus it helps you sleep, handle stress better, and keep your hormones in an ideal balance. Not all magnesium supplements are effective, so !
- IronIf you bleed heavily for more than a couple of cycles in a row, adding iron supplements can help ward off anemia due to blood loss. If you feel especially tired and lethargic, or if you have symptoms like thinning hair, reduced thyroid function, or cold hands and feet, you should definitely consider adding iron to your daily regimen!
- Vitamin DIf you are a typical woman in the US, you arent getting enough vitamin D. And if you are dealing with heavy or painful periods, adding vitamin D is an easy fix to get you feeling better, faster! Studies show that vitamin D deficiency and menstrual problems go hand-in-hand, and especially during perimenopause, this vitamin becomes essential to help govern your energy, mood, sleep, immunity, hormones, and more. Get my recommended vitamin D supplement here .
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