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Are Lighter Periods A Sign Of Menopause

It May Be Due To Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The first signs & symptoms of menopause

PCOS is a condition where the ovaries produce an abnormally large amount of androgens, which are male sex hormones. Some women with PCOS will have small fluid-filled sacs, or cysts, form in the ovaries. These hormonal changes can prevent a woman from ovulating normally, which can lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms, including acne or oily skin, weight gain, and excess body hair. Other symptom of PCOS are irregular and missed periods. When women do get their period, it may be heavier or lighter than average. Talk with your doctor if youre experiencing these symptoms.

On Average Menopause Begins Around Age 52

Kathi Valeii is a freelance writer covering the intersections of health, parenting, and social justice.

Menopause occurs after a person stops having their period for 12 consecutive months. It naturally happens for many people when they are between the ages of 40 and 58. In the United States, the average age for menopause to start is 52 years.

Certain factors, like never having children and smoking, can make it more likely that menopause will occur earlier.

Before menopause, declining estrogen levels can cause people who menstruate to experience premenopausal symptoms. Menstrual changes, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are the result of hormonal shifts that are taking place during this time, which is called perimenopause.

Perimenopause can last from two to eight years. On average, people experience perimenopause for four years before menopause begins.

While many people go through menopause in their early fifties, there are a number of unique factors that determine at what age a person will start menopause, as well as what their experience will be like.

My Periods Have Changed Is Menopause Around The Corner

An ob-gyn explains the course of perimenopause.;

    Its a common scene in any ob-gyn practice: A patient comes in, concerned that her periods have changed. Whats going on? she asks. Is this menopause?

    If youre a woman in your 40s, a change in your menstrual periods is the hallmark of perimenopause thats what we call the years leading up to your last menstrual period.;

    Heres a look at how we diagnose perimenopause and menopause, and what else to expect as you enter this phase of life.

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    Are You Headed For Menopause

    You may start to notice changes months or years before you are in menopause. You may have hot flashes and irregular periods. This time is called perimenopause.

    You won’t know exactly when your menopause will hit. All you can do is pay attention to how you’re feeling and notice changes. Keep in mind that symptoms vary greatly from woman to woman. Some women have no symptoms at all.

    Vicky Wondered What Was Wrong When She First Missed A Period She Thought There Was A Problem

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    People get scared when their periods stop, get worried, is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with my body that has caused my periods to stop? At first that is what I thought, I missed a period and then the next month too, is there a problem with my body? Because it had not happened before, I didnt know what it was, now I have been through it, I know that is a sign of the menopause, so I tell other people there is no need to worry.

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    What Do You Need To Know About The Menopause

    The menopause is the natural process women go through as they reach a certain age and signals the point when a womans monthly periods have come to an end.

    Although reaching the menopause technically means you have had your last ever period, we often use this phrase to describe the lead up to your periods stopping. Periods rarely just stop suddenly, many women experience irregular periods for some time. This might include heavier, more painful periods or lighter, less frequent ones these patterns can go on for a number of years. Every woman is different but you are generally considered to be fully through the menopause after not having a period for at least two years.

    Alongside the often irregular periods, many women often experience a whole number of symptoms in the lead up to the menopause as oestrogen begins to drop, this can be anything from hot flushes to joint pain.

    On this page I give a quick overview of what the menopause involves and specifically the effects it can have on the menstrual cycle. Visit A.Vogel Talks Menopause for more in-depth information and video blogs from our menopause expert Eileen.

    Youve Lost Or Gained A Ton Of Weight

    Fluctuating weight can mess with your menstrual cycle, making your periods a lot shorter or lighter. Thats because when you gain weight, storing more fat in your body can affect your hormone levels and throw them out of balance. In a similar way, losing weight from restricting calories can put your body into stress mode and create an imbalance of hormones. Dr. Akopians notes that your body needs a healthy balance between protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins, to keep operating normally.

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    Lifestyle Factors To Support You During The Menopause

    There are a number of easy self-help tips that you can try at home to help keep the symptoms of menopause under control:

    • Diet During the menopause even very small changes in lifestyle factors can make a big difference for better or for worse! Try to reduce refined carbohydrates and sugary sweet treats as you can risk throwing your hormones off further, exacerbating cravings and encouraging weight gain. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, opt for whole grain sources of carbohydrates, up your intake of omega-3 with lots of oily fish and include a source of protein in every meal
    • Think about drinks Its not just what you eat, but also what you drink that matters. Ensure you drink at least 1.5 litres of plain, still water a day to keep you hydrated and your bowels moving regularly. Also, try to avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and caffeine as much as possible as these can put a strain on the endocrine system and make you feel anxious or jittery
    • Stress Stress can be exacerbated during the menopause so its important to not let it get on top of you. Practice breathing exercises, or try taking part in a yoga class after work, above all else make sure you take time out to do things you enjoy and take your mind off the stresses of modern life

    Changes In Your Skin: Wrinkling And Loss Of Muscle Tone

    Irregular Periods During Perimenopause

    When your estrogen levels drop, your collagen production usually slows down as well. And, as youve probably heard, collagen has a role in keeping our skin toned, fresh-looking and resilient. So when you start running low on collagen, it shows in your skin. It gets thinner, drier, flakier and less youthful-looking.

    This is another of those symptoms of menopause that makes you feel older before your time and, in this case, its clear why. You may;look a little older than you used to.; Worst, this sign often shows up early in menopause. Like bone loss, which occurs rapidly in the first few years of menopause, collagen loss is most rapid at the beginning of menopause as well.

    According to studies, premature menopause leads to more rapid bone loss than menopause that occurs at the normal age so its possible that premature menopause also leads to more rapid collagen loss.; The bottom line is, well, more lines on your face and before you expected them.

    How To Cope

    Since this change in your skin occurs because of low estrogen levels, when you increase your estrogen levels , you are likely to see an improvement. Other than this though, there isnt a lot you can do.

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    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.

    What Happens At Menopause

    Women are born with about a million eggs in each ovary. By puberty about 300,000 eggs remain, and by menopause there are no active eggs left.

    On average, a woman in Australia will have 400-500 periods in her lifetime. From about 35-40 years of age, the number of eggs left in your ovaries decreases more quickly and you ovulate less regularly until your periods stop. Menopause means the end of ovulation.

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    Your Periods May Get Lighter

    About 60 percent of women older than age 40 begin to experience lighter and more manageable periods, explains Dr. Einhorn. Having very light periods or even skipping a period is normal and no reason for concern. Just enjoy having a cycle thats a little easier to handle. Even if your period is irregular or barely there, you can still get pregnant. You wont officially reach menopause until its been a year since your last period, which occurs on average around age 50.

    Heavy Bleeding Flooding And Perimenopause

    Signs of Perimenopause

    Very heavy bleeding occurs;when your oestrogen levels are high relative to progesterone causing the lining of your womb to;thicken more than usual. During perimenopause, your body’s main systems;are working hard to adjust to the changing hormone levels that are taking place in advance of full menopause. The;most difficult situation to handle is probably very heavy, extended bleeding, or flooding cycles. Some women find they are changing tampons every hour, sometimes having a very heavy bleed during inopportune times for example, at a formal dinner. This often happens at night as well as during the day. Make sure to wear liners and change tampons or pads very regularly.

    If you have recurrent heavy and prolonged;periods;you may become anaemic; as the body doesnt have time to make up for blood loss before the next period.;;You can end up feeling weak, exhausted, and maybe even depressed as a result of the anaemia, which then becomes associated with the menopause. Make sure to get help early on and don’t the situation develop.;

    Very heavy bleeding can also be caused by fibroids. If you experience;prolonged heavy bleeding, seek professional advice from your GP, homoeopath or another health expert.; Vaginal bleeding is not normal after the menopause so again get professional advice if this occurs.

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    The Course Of Perimenopause

    A change in your periods is often the first sign of perimenopause, but there are other signs to look out for. The most common are hot flashes, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and a decrease in sex drive. Not every woman will experience all of these symptoms. For those who have symptoms, they may come in any order.

    Once these symptoms arrive, most women can expect menopause itself to be a few years away.

    There are many treatments to help with bothersome symptoms like hot flashes and sleeplessness. Even a few years of hormone therapy can help you get through the worst of it.;;

    If you are prone to anxiety or depression, know that perimenopause can bring those conditions back to the surface. Finding a support network can make a big difference. Antidepressants also may be an option.

    Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All

  • Should I talk with my ob-gyn about my bleeding?

    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.

  • What are some of the common causes of abnormal bleeding?

    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

  • endometrial cancer

  • What are polyps?

    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.

  • What is endometrial atrophy?

    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.

  • What are risk factors for endometrial cancer?

    The risk factors for endometrial cancer include

  • getting older

  • early age when periods started

  • older age at menopause

  • long-term use of medications containing high doses of estrogen

  • obesity

  • treatment with a drug called tamoxifen

  • certain tumors of the ovaries

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    What Are Some Other Causes Of A Light Periods

    While perimenopause is the most likely reason in older women, it is possible for light menstruation to occur because of other factors. Some of the most common reasons for light, irregular periods include:

    • Pregnancy. It is widely known that periods tend to stop if you become pregnant; however, some women do experience some light bleeding – or spotting – particularly during the early months. This can sometimes occur at the time when a period was expected, causing alarm or confusion in some women.

    • Stress. When a woman becomes stressed, it can impact on the functionality of the hypothalamus – the portion of the brain that influences the behavior of reproductive hormones. In some women, it is possible to have lighter, or even no periods at all.

    • Birth control. There are a number of hormone-affecting contraception’s such as the pill, which can impact on flow. Women with a particularly heavy period are often prescribed such medication in order to lighten the bleed.

    • Weight loss or gain. Women who lose or gain a significant amount of weight can often find that their periods are affected. Those who suffer with eating disorders in particular can encounter light – or even vanished – periods, due to the changes of hormonal activity that occur when underweight.

    • Polycystic ovary syndrome . This condition is unfortunately relatively common, and involves the development of small cysts in the ovaries. One symptom of it can be light or fewer periods, because ovulation occurs less frequently.

    It Could Be A Sign Of Pregnancy

    Perimenopause: Symptoms and Signs, Dr. Meghan Lynch, Mercy Medical Center Baltimore

    While one of the clear signs of pregnancy is missing your period, it turns out that some women continue to experience bleeding or a light version of their period when theyre pregnant, says fertility expert Janet Choi, M.D., medical director at CCRM in New York. In fact, shes had patients whove been struggling to get pregnant go out drinking after a light version of their period shows uponly to later learn that they really are pregnant.

    Unusually light periods or spotting could also indicate an ectopic pregnancy , which can be very dangerous. When in doubt, take a pregnancy test.

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    Abnormal Bleeding Can Be Caused By Other Conditions Besides Perimenopause These Conditions Can Include:

    • Uterine polyps or fibroids

    If you are in the early phases of perimenopause, this is a great time to meet with your doctor to talk about how to best manage your symptoms. If your quality of life is severely affected by your period or any of the 34 symptoms of perimenopause, your doctor may recommend you try hormone replacement therapy. Together with your doctor, you can explore the best options for you.

    Perimenopause can feel like a very lonely time in a womans life. Indeed, most people do not talk about perimenopause as everything surrounding menopause is still taboo, even among women! Not at Perry, however. We at Perry are here to support you from your first sign of perimenopause and we are pretty big into community.

    ;

    Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.

    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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    You Might Start Skipping It Here And There

    Dont freak out if your period goes entirely MIA one month. A skipped period is the first sign of deteriorating egg quality, says Dr. Dunsmoor-Su. Some months, the eggs just don’t reach a point where they release, and so a period gets missed. Remember: Youre not in menopause until you go a full year without a period, so skipping a month doesnt necessarily mean you can toss all your pads and tampons.

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