Thank You Second Springers For Commenting
Have a read of the very useful comments and discussions below to gain an understanding of the variety of women’s’ experiences of periods around the time of perimenopause. Many thanks to these fabulous Second Spring women for taking the time to comment and share their experiences. We all learn so much from each other. This menopause conversation needs to be louder and clearer to stop women from suffering in silence and feeling very isolated.
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Regular Periods But Perimenopause
I am so glad that I found this forum! I read through many postings today and cried with relief. I feel so bad inside. I miss myself–the me I used to be.
I have a question–I am 49 years old and my period still comes regularly every 27 days. It is a little lighter and slightly less painful, but still as regular and as disruptive to my life as when I was a teen.
At the same time, I have many of the symptoms of perimenopause–sweats, anxiety, constant feeling of dread, racing heart, brain fog, drop in sexual desire. I can’t deal with my jobs, my dog, my house, my exercise routine…all of the thing the old me loved.
My period is here now so I am having trouble formulating my question….am I in for another 10 years of living in this liminal state where I suffer with regular periods like I am 20 and suffer with perimenopause symptoms like I am 50?
I feel like I am dying inside….
0 likes, 7 replies
If Its Not Menopause What Is It
Its hard to believe, but the first landmark study of womens perceptions of menopause found that, Not knowing what to expect was midlife womens greatest concern. Since that time there has been an explosion in scientific, and popular, publications pertaining to menopause. Women now are well acquainted with menopausal signs and symptoms. They know what to expect. So the question has shifted to If its not menopause, then what is the cause of my menopause-like symptoms? Lets examine some of the more common symptoms and see what else might be at fault.
Irregular or absent menstrual periods
While a few women will suddenly reach menopause, or the last natural period, most will have sign posts for the upcoming change. The most common sign is marked menstrual changes. The official definition of perimenopause is the four to five years before last menstrual period. Perimenopause also includes the first year of no periods following the last menstrual flow. Marked menstrual changes are considered to be: cycle length between flows more than seven days different from normal, and/or more than 60 days of no periods.
Flashes are the second most often reported symptom by perimenopausal women. Hot flashes and night sweats can onset during perimenopause, and generally peak during the first two years after the last menstrual period.
Is There a False Negative on a Test for Menopause?
Hot Flashes During Perimenopause
Most women don’t expect to have hot flashes until , so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes sometimes called hot flushes and given the scientific name of vasomotor symptoms are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. They’re also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire “from the inside out.” A major hot flash can induce facial and upper-body flushing, sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion. Having one of these at an inconvenient time can be quite disconcerting. Hot flash frequency varies widely. Some women have a few over the course of a week others may experience 10 or more in the daytime, plus some at night.
Most American women have hot flashes around the time of menopause, but studies of other cultures suggest this experience is not universal. Far fewer Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian women report having hot flashes. In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, women appear not to have any at all. These differences may reflect cultural variations in perceptions, semantics, and lifestyle factors, such as diet.
What Are The Stages
The process happens slowly over three stages:
Perimenopause. Your cycles will become irregular, but they havenât stopped. Most women hit this stage around age 47. Even though you might notice symptoms like hot flashes, you can still get pregnant.
Menopause. This is when youâll have your final menstrual period. You wonât know for sure itâs happened until youâve gone a year without one. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are common in this stage.
Postmenopause. This begins when you hit the year mark from your final period. Once that happens, youâll be referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that after more than 1 year of no menstrual periods due to menopause, vaginal bleeding isn’t normal, so tell your doctor if you have any ASAP.
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Why Haven’t I Started Menopause
Asked by Cheri, California
I have just turned 55 and am still having a regular, clockwork period every single 28 days. It lasts only three to four days, but it is still there! Is there any danger in having this go on so long? I was approximately 13 years old when I started, and here I still am! I have no symptoms of menopause at all.
Living Well ExpertDr. Jennifer ShuPediatrician,Children’s Medical Group
Myth #: The Older You Are When You Get Your Period The Older Youll Be When You Start Menopause
In reality, the exact opposite is true. If you started menstruating later than average, you may begin menopause earlier. While predicting the age youll begin menopause is tricky, there are clues to help you predict when youll start:
- When your mother started menopause is the best indicator of when youll start too.
- Smoking may mean earlier menopause.
- Drinking alcohol may mean later menopause.
- More pregnancies suggest later menopause.
At some point, all women will go through menopause and there isnt anything you can, or should, do to delay it.
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Myth #: Menopause Wrecks Your Sex Life
Women can have a great sex life at any age, from their 20s to their 90s! This is a huge relief to the women who have been told even by their doctors that decreases in sex drive and enjoyment are a normal part of growing older. As women, that doesnt sound normal to us!
But decreased sex drive is one of the signs of hormonal imbalance. Other physical and emotional symptoms that factor into libido are vaginal dryness, irritability and fatigue. For example, approximately 50% of women in menopause will experience vaginal dryness which can make sex uncomfortable. And if sex hurts, you will probably see a drop in your libido too.
It is possible to address physical symptoms with herbs such as passionflower, chasteberry and ashwaghanda. When it comes to menopause and sex, herbs and other tips can make a difference in boosting your libido.
What Happens After Menopause
After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.
You may experience any of the following after menopause:
- Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop , including osteoporosis, .
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from or menopause . However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.,
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about for vaginal dryness.
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Of The Reproductive Journey
We usually diagnose menopause in hindsight, after that full year of absent periods. Ive found that most women know theyve reached menopause when they get there.
Even if your irregular periods turn out to be something else, youll face menopause eventually. Talk with your ob-gyn about what youre experiencing. Together we can work through this part of your health journey.
The views expressed in this article are those of Dr. Eisenberg and do not reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.
Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.
This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOGs complete disclaimer.
Dr. Esther Eisenberg
Your Libido Might Dip Thanks To Menopause
Its not universal, but some people with menopause report decreased libido, says Dr. Pizarro. Issue is, it’s tough for doctors to figure out how to combat a lowered sex drivethe cause isnt exactly easy to pinpoint. For decades, weve blamed loss of libido on a womans ovaries or hormones, says Libido is such a complicated thing that goes way beyond issues of the ovaries, uterus, and hormones, says Dr. Pizarro.
Beyond whatever mysterious physiological changes might affect someones libido at this life stage, adjusting to menopause’s physical changes might play a role. Adequate exercise helps make sure your blood is flowing properly, which is an essential part of getting wet during sex.
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Menopause Can Have Mental And Emotional Effects Too
Most people dont like their period, but when it goes away you feel your age, Dr. Rowen tells SELF. For some people, the idea of losing their period can be psychologically distressing.And as we mentioned, your hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone, change during menopause. And this change may cause feelings of anxiety and depression. Lower estrogen can also trigger hot flashes that make it difficult to sleep, leading to mood swings and anxiety. Coupled with any emotional distress from losing your period, and you understandably may not be in the mood to have sex. If you feel down for more than two weeks, you may be depressed and want to speak with a therapist, the Cleveland Clinic recommends. However, finding a therapist can be a long, and often stressful, process. . Generally, you will want to start by asking your insurance company for a list of providers. If you dont have insurance, websites like Open Path include therapists who offer reduced-fee sessions.
How Does Menopause Affect My Bladder Control
Unfortunately, bladder control issues are common for women going through menopause. There are several reasons why this happens, including:
- Estrogen. This hormone plays several roles in your body. It not only controls your period and promotes changes in your body during pregnancy, estrogen also keeps the lining of your bladder and urethra healthy.
- Pelvic floor muscles. Supporting the organs in your pelvis your bladder and uterus are called the pelvic floor muscles. Throughout your life, these muscles can weaken. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth and from weight gain. When the muscles weaken, you can experience urinary incontinence .
Specific bladder control problems that you might have can include:
- Stress incontinence .
- Urge incontinence .
- Painful urination .
- Nocturia .
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When Do Periods Stop At Menopause
There can be gaps of up to 12 months between periods. You could go for 3-4 months without a period and the have a regular period for a few months
When having sex it is well advised to use contraception for up to 24 months after our last period. If you are having intermittent periods then you are most likely still ovulating and could become pregnant.
Changes in the monthly cycle are an indication that you are in perimenopause. There is no typical pattern of change – each woman can experience a combination of different symptoms.
Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms
Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used “off-label” and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .
Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed “off-label” for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:
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How Long Are Normal Perimenopause Periods
Ordinarily, your menstrual cycle occurs every 21 to 35 days and lasts from 2 to 7 days. However, perimenopause periods can last much longer. Some months, the ovaries might not produce sufficient levels of estrogen and progesterone, preventing menstruation altogether. Other months, the imbalance might cause the uterine lining to become overly thick, which means it will take longer to be shed by your body to shed.
Excessive bleeding and long periods are fairly common during perimenopause. Many women experience an increased flow and extended perimenopause periods before entering menopause.
If youve had periods that are several days longer or more frequent or heavier than usual, its a good idea to see your doctor.
How Do I Decrease My Cancer Risk After Menopause
Late-onset menopause usually occurs because of a genetic predisposition. If your mother went through menopause late, chances are you may also. A study found that late menopause is not uncommon among obese women because fat tissue produces estrogen. If you are worried about your age and menopause exercise, eat a healthy diet, dont smoke, and maintain a healthy body weight which can have a plethora of health benefits. Regular mammograms and Pap smears are also important for women experiencing late-onset menopause. Remember, pap smears have changed to the HPV test in December 2017.
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Should I Be Worried About Late
Posted4 years agobyAndreas Obermair
At what age do you expect menopause to occur? How does it affect your health and cancer risk?
Menopause occurs when a womans ovaries stop releasing hormones. Naturally, a womans production of estrogen and progesterone hormones decrease in her late forties, which may cause menstrual periods eventually stopping. The age where most women become menopausal is between 50 and 54 years. In this context menopause is defined as not having a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. As the hormone levels decrease, this may come with symptoms such as hot flushes, headaches, insomnia, mood swings and depression. Some women dont have symptoms at all. Others may have symptoms at varying severity for 5 to 10 years.
General Recommendations For Ht
Current guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of severe hot flashes that do not respond to non-hormonal therapies. General recommendations include:
- HT may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
- HT should not be used in women who have started menopause many years ago.
- Women should not take HT if they have risks for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
- Currently, there is no consensus on how long HT should be used or at what age it should be discontinued. Treatment should be individualized for a woman’s specific health profile.
- HT should be used only for menopause symptom management, not for chronic disease prevention.
Before starting HT, your doctor should give you a comprehensive physical exam and take your medical history to evaluate your risks for:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
While taking HT, you should have regular mammograms and pelvic exams and Pap smears. Current guidelines recommend that if HT is needed, it should be initiated around the time of menopause. Studies indicate that the risk of serious side effects is lower for women who use HT while in their 50s. Women who start HT past the age of 60 appear to have a higher risk for side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or breast cancer. HT should be used with care in this age group.
Women who should not take hormone therapy include those with the following conditions:
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How Long From My First Skipped Cycle Until My Final Period
Again there are no answers based on studies of womens experiences. Although previously, gynecological physicians considered
can become longer if we get another period, as 10-20% of us normally do10. The younger we are, the more likely it is that we will experience a further flow. Then, the last year clock starts again!