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.
Who Can I Talk To
Though theres still stigma and embarrassment around the menopause, its important to know that youre not alone and theres support out there.
Try to be open about your symptoms with your partner, family and friends it can help them to understand what youre going through and could reduce any embarrassment about symptoms.
Sharing experiences with other women going through the same thing could be reassuring. There are many websites, blogs and videos online where women have shared their stories of the menopause.
Should I Continue Using Birth Control During The Transition To Menopause
Yes. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, the transition to menopause, even if you miss your period for a month or a few months. During perimenopause you may still ovulate, or release an egg, on some months.
But it is impossible to know for sure when you will ovulate. If you dont want to get pregnant, you should continue to use birth control until one full year after your last period. Talk to your doctor about your birth control needs. Learn more about different birth control methods.
You cant get pregnant after menopause, but anyone who has sex can get sexually transmitted infections . If you are not in a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner have sex with each other and no one else, protect yourself by using a male condom or dental dam correctly every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. After menopause you may be more likely to get an STI from sex without a condom. Vaginal dryness or irritation is more common after menopause and can cause small cuts or tears during sex, exposing you to STIs.
Are There Treatments That Can Ease The Symptoms Of Perimenopause
Many women get relief from hot flashes after taking low-dose birth control pills for a short time. Other options that may control hot flashes include the birth control skin patch, vaginal ring, and progesterone injections. Certain women should not use birth control hormones, so talk to your doctor to see if they are right for you.
You may also feel better if you do things that enhance your general well-being, such as:
- Stop smoking.
- Get more sleep and try going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Get to a healthy weight and stay there.
- Get enough calcium in your diet.
- Ask your doctor if you should take a multivitamin.
Talk to your doctor if you are having problems with your sex drive. They may be able to recommend a counselor or therapist to help you and your partner work through this problem. Vaginal lubricants may also be recommended, if vaginal dryness is a problem.
Talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms and goals of treatment. This will help them make a plan that is right for you.
Hrt After Surgical Menopause: Pros And Cons
To give you a better sense of what to consider in your decision, heres a list of reasons you might lean toward getting HRT, along with a list of reasons against. Keep in mind that few if any of these pros or cons are definitive. Instead, you and your doctor have to consider them all and decide which apply.
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The Answer To The Question Of How Long Do Menopause Symptoms Last Varies
Some women will experience an abrupt cessation of their monthly cycle, which does not recur. In these cases, there are often very few symptoms during perimenopause. Following that, however, the onset of symptoms once menopause does begin can be rapid and intense in these cases. Many other women will experience a gradual shift from irregular cycles to no cycles, which will last for several years.
This is the most common pattern, and it tends to be associated with a gradual onset of symptoms. Often, the severity of symptoms tends to fluctuate prior to and after menopause for a period of around 10 years. These fluctuations can be quite significant, and its common for women to feel fine on some days and experience intense hot flashes accompanied by sweating, mood changes, and other symptoms that are associated with menopause for others.
In general, late-onset menopause is associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis and a longer life expectancy than women who go through it at a typical age. However, this depends on the individual and the medical conditions that theyre dealing with.
However, early-onset menopause can be associated with health problems. Fortunately, it can be possible to delay early menopause if perimenopause has begun, but this depends on the cause of the condition. If youre wondering how long does menopause last on average, if you go through it early, the answer is usually that it lasts the same amount of time that it would otherwise.
What Are Menopause Symptoms And Signs
It is important to remember that each woman’s experience is highly individual. Some women may experience few or no symptoms of menopause, while others experience multiple physical and psychological symptoms. The extent and severity of symptoms varies significantly among women. It is also important to remember that symptoms may come and go over an extended period for some women. This, too, is highly individual. These symptoms of menopause and perimenopause are discussed in detail below.
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Remedies For Vaginal Dryness
- Topical HRT – there are several creams and pessaries containing oestrogen that you can apply from once a day to once a week to relieve symptoms. Doctors recommend you tail them off every few months to check if you still need them. There is also a vaginal ‘ring’ which your doctor can fit, which releases small amounts of oestrogen.
- Replens® – this is a non-hormonal vaginal moisturising cream which you apply every three days. It works much better than water-based gels like K-YJelly® and is available from your pharmacist as well as on prescription.
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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Reasons For A Hysterectomy
Conditions that may be treated by hysterectomy include:
- fibroids non-cancerous growths that form within the muscular walls of the uterus, outside the uterus or within the uterine cavity
- heavy or irregular menstrual periods however, new techniques now used to treat this include endometrial ablation or use of a levonorgestrel-releasing inter-uterine device
- severe period pain due to adenomyosis or severe recurrent endometriosis
- cancer of the cervix, uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes
- endometriosis a condition in which cells similar to those in the lining of the uterus grow in other areas of the body, especially around the ovaries and peritoneum in the pelvis
- adenomyosis a condition where endometrial-like cells grow in the muscle of the uterus
- prolapse the uterus falls into the vagina because of loose ligaments or damage to the pelvic floor muscles, usually from childbirth
- pelvic inflammatory disease , caused by bacterial infection, often from sexually transmitted infections .
What Is Perimenopause Or The Transition To Menopause
Perimenopause , or the menopausal transition, is the time leading up to your last period. Perimenopause means around menopause.
Perimenopause is a long transition to menopause, or the time when your periods stop permanently and you can no longer get pregnant. As your body transitions to menopause, your hormone levels may change randomly, causing menopause symptoms unexpectedly. During this transition, your ovaries make different amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone than usual.
Irregular periods happen during this time because you may not ovulate every month. Your periods may be longer or shorter than usual. You might skip a few months or have unusually long or short menstrual cycles. Your period may be heavier or lighter than before. Many women also have hot flashes and other menopause symptoms during this transition.
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What Can I Do To Help Myself
To help you manage hot flushes, simple things like wearing light clothing, using a fan and keeping your bedroom cool could help.
If youre struggling with your mood, consider trying self-help measures like relaxation, getting enough sleep and staying active. Regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet can also help to improve menopausal symptoms.
How Do I Know If Changes In My Periods Are Normal Perimenopausal Symptoms Or Something To Be Concerned About
Irregular periods are common and normal during perimenopause, but other conditions can cause abnormalities in menstrual bleeding. If any of the following situations apply to you, see a healthcare provider to rule out other causes.
- Your periods are changing to become very heavy or accompanied by blood clots.
- Your periods last several days longer than usual.
- You spot or bleed after your period.
- You experience spotting after sex.
- Your periods occur closer together.
Potential causes of abnormal bleeding include perimenopausal hormonal imbalances, infection, pregnancy-related bleeding, fibroids, blood-clotting problems, endometrial polyps, miscarriage, taking blood thinners or cancer.
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Changes In Mood Including Irritability Anxiety Or Depression
“Lately I have been so irritable and a mood swing can happen out of nowhere. I can be so content and then something happens and I find I am getting into exhausting rows with my partner.”
While mood swings might be fairly mild for some women and dissipate over time, they could be life-changing and last much longer for others. The key is to recognise the signs, especially if you think you might be suffering from anxiety or depression, and approach your GP for diagnosis and treatment.
When Does Menopause Start
Though menopause is defined as starting one year after the end of a person last period, they may begin experiencing symptoms earlier.
According to the North American Menopause Society, the average age for a woman to reach menopause in the United States is 51 years. However, this age range varies. Menopause may happen early when a woman is in her forties or later when she is in her late 50s.
The onset of menopause can also follow surgery that reduces ovarian function or hormones, such as a hysterectomy, where a surgeon removes the uterus, or surgery or other treatments for cancer. In these circumstances, symptoms may begin rapidly as an adverse effect of these procedures.
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Sleep Problems And Mood Swings
Try these options to avoid sleep problems:
- Avoid large meals, smoking, coffee, or caffeine after noon.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Avoid exercise or alcohol close to bedtime.
- Drink warm milk or warm caffeine-free tea before bed.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet, and cool room.
- Treat hot flashes to improve sleep.
Easing stress, eating right, and staying physically active can help with mood swings and sleeping problems. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help with mood swings.
You should talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms and to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms, like depression or asthma. Its also helpful to join a support group for women in menopause so you have a safe place to share your concerns and issues.
Your doctor may also prescribe menopausal hormone therapy to help treat your symptoms. MHT can ease:
- hot flashes
Studies show that women who take MHT are at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. The risks are similar for women using contraceptive pills, patches, and rings. However, women taking MHT are older, and the risks increase with age.
Many women cant take MHT because of a previous illness such as cancer or because they take other medications.
Additional research found that the risk of getting breast cancer can increase with five or more years of continuous MHT use .
Women who have had their uterus removed will use estrogen-only therapy.
Potential Negative Effects Of Surgical Menopause
- Sudden and more severe onset of menopausal symptoms: in particular hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness
- Loss of bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis and fracture
- Impaired sexual function due to reduced desire and to discomfort from vaginal dryness
- Reduced sex drive associated with loss of ovarian testosterone production
- Loss of fertility
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
Surgical menopause may have other adverse effects on health including affecting mood , cognition , dementia and potential increased risk of
Parkinsons disease but the evidence for these is not well established. Large population based studies have reached different conclusions about whether surgical menopause impacts on cardiovascular, cancer or all cause mortality.
Use of Menopausal Hormone Therapy , also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy may reduce these risks, but again there is insufficient evidence. The proven value of MHT after surgical menopause is in managing vasomotor symptoms and maintaining bone density.
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When To Seek Help
Its common and normal to experience irregular periods when youre perimenopausal.
- suddenly experience very heavy periods or periods with blood clots
- have periods lasting longer than usual
- spot or bleed after sex
- spot or bleed after your period
- have periods close together
Osteoporosis and heart disease are long-term health risks associated with menopause. Thats because estrogen plays a significant role in protecting your bones and your heart. Without estrogen, youre at an increased risk for both diseases.
Youre also at an increased risk of urinary tract infections because menopause can cause your urethra to become dry, irritated, or inflamed. Vaginal infections can also occur more frequently because your vagina has become dryer and thinner.
Report menopausal symptoms when visiting the doctor. Get assessed by your physician if you continue to have menopausal symptoms that are unbearable or last more than five years after your last menstrual period.
Although menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms for some women, this natural process has possible upsides, too. There are several potential benefits of menopause to consider:
You will still need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.
Will My Hot Flashes Stop After Menopause
Some people still experience hot flashes after menopause. Postmenopausal hot flashes are caused by decreased estrogen levels. It is not uncommon to experience a random hot flash for years after menopause. If your hot flashes are bothersome or intensify, speak with your healthcare provider to rule out other causes.
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How Long Do Hot Flashes Last
Menopause is the phase in which the body does not menstruate for 12 months or more. It is a gradual phase in which every woman faces different symptoms and bodily changes. The premenopausal experience of every woman is different.
A woman is no longer fertile once she reaches her menopause. Every woman faces different symptoms in her pre-menopausal phase. For some, menopause comes and goes easily while some suffer from a lot of bodily discomfort. The severity and extent of the symptoms differ in every woman. One such bodily change is the hot flashes.
Hysterectomy For Women Of Childbearing Age
Once a woman has had a hysterectomy of any kind, she cannot become pregnant. If the ovaries of a premenopausal woman are removed, she has had a surgical menopause. This means she will have a drop in production of the sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Vaginal dryness, hot flushes, sweating and other symptoms of natural menopause may occur.
Women who undergo bilateral oophorectomy usually take hormone replacement therapy ,This is also known as oestrogen replacement therapy, as usually only oestrogens are required to maintain their hormone levels and prevent the long-term risks of premature menopause.
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Ht Forms And Regimens
HT comes in several forms:
- Oral tablets or pills
- Vaginal ring
- Topical gel or spray
HT pills and skin patches are considered “systemic” therapy because the medication delivered affects the entire body. The risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers is higher with hormone pills than with skin patches or other transdermal forms.
Vaginal forms of HT are called “local” therapy. Doctors generally prescribe vaginal applications of low-dose estrogen therapy to specifically treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex. This type of ET is available in a cream, tablet, or ring that is inserted into the vagina.
“Bioidentical” hormone therapy is promoted as a supposedly more natural and safer alternative to commercial prescription hormones. Bioidentical hormones are typically compounded in a pharmacy. Some compounding pharmacies claim that they can customize these formulations based on saliva tests that show a woman’s individual hormone levels.
The FDA and many professional medical associations warn patients that “bioidentical” is a marketing term that has no scientific validity. Formulations sold in these pharmacies have not undergone FDA regulatory scrutiny. Some of these compounds contain estriol, a weak form of estrogen, which has not been approved by the FDA for use in any drug. In addition, saliva tests do not give accurate or realistic results, as a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day.