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 is seen as irregular and/or prolonged and/or heavy bleeding.
Prolonged And Heavy Bleeding During Menopause Is Common
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ANN ARBORWomen going through menopause most likely think of it as the time for an end to predictable monthly periods. Researchers at the University of Michigan say its normal, however, for the majority of them to experience an increase in the amount and duration of bleeding episodes, which may occur at various times throughout the menopausal transition.
The researchers from the U-M School of Public Health and U-M Health System offer the first long-term study of bleeding patterns in women of multiple race/ethnicities who were going through menopause. They say the results could impact patient care and alleviate undue concern about what to expect during this life stage that can last anywhere from 2-to-10 years.
For most women in their 30s, menstrual periods are highly predictable. With the onset of the menopausal transition in their 40s, womens menstrual periods can change dramatically. These dramatic changes can be disconcerting and often provoke questions about whether something is wrong, said Sioban Harlow, U-M professor of epidemiology.
Women need more descriptive information about the bleeding changes they can expect. We need clear guidance to help women understand what changes in bleeding patterns do and do not require medical attention.
The study, Menstruation and the Menopausal Transition, is reported in the current issue of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
What Is Menopause What Is Perimenopause
Menopause is the point in a woman’s life when she has not had her period for 1 year.
For most women, menopause happens around age 50. But every woman’s body has its own time line. Some women stop having periods in their mid-40s. Others continue well into their 50s.
Perimenopause is the process of change that leads up to menopause. It can start as early as your late 30s or as late as your early 50s. How long perimenopause lasts varies, but it usually lasts from 2 to 8 years. You may have irregular periods or other symptoms during this time.
Menopause is a natural part of growing older. You don’t need treatment for it unless your symptoms bother you. But it’s a good idea to learn all you can about menopause. Knowing what to expect can help you stay as healthy as possible during this new phase of your life.
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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.
Bleeding After Menopause: Get It Checked Out
Bleeding after menopause can be disconcerting, but the good news is, more than 90% of the time its not caused by a serious condition, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. That said, the study also reinforces the idea that postmenopausal bleeding should always be checked out by your doctor to rule out endometrial cancer, a cancer of the uterine lining, says Dr. Ross Berkowitz, William H. Baker Professor of Gynecology at Harvard Medical School. This is because the study also found more than 90% of women who did have endometrial cancer had experienced postmenopausal bleeding. And screening all women who experience bleeding after menopause for endometrial cancer could potentially find as many as 90% of these cancers, which are highly curable if found early.
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Could I Have A Polyp
Polyps are soft outgrowths which can arise from the uterus and can cause heavy periods. They are usually benign with prevalence between 6% and 32%.3 Different research shows different prevalences and as polyps dont cause any symptoms apart from bleeding they are often under-diagnosed.
The prevalence usually increases with age which is why complaints of heavy periods/irregular bleeding may occur during menopause.4 It is still not known why polyps cause menorrhagia. A different blood supply to the polyp and impeded blood drainage may contribute to heavy bleeding.5
Polyps can be detected on ultrasound and removed using hysteroscopy . Very rarely can a polyp be cancerous .6 This risk increases with age, with post-menopausal people being most at risk, but there is no way of checking if polyps are cancerous until they are removed and sent to the lab.
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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What Changes In Menstruation Can You Expect
During perimenopause, your body undergoes a shift in progesterone and estrogen levels. Estrogen, specifically, rises and falls in an arbitrary manner, which in turn affects ovulation and menstrual cycles. Expect to see irregular periods, spotting, missed periods, and certain perimenopausal bleeding patterns.
Major hormonal changes are largely to blame for symptoms, such as night sweats, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and perimenopausal bleeding.
Occasionally, youll notice heavier and longer periods , while at other times, youll notice lighter and shorter periods . Early perimenopause tends to produce shortened menstrual cycles as well as periods lasting 2 to 3 days less. In contrast, late perimenopause creates longer cycles , often associated with anovulatory menstruation .
Furthermore, missed periods might sometimes be followed by normal periods as perimenopausal bleeding patterns and cycles are highly irregular. In this phase, menstrual blood ranges in color from dark brown to bright red. You might notice brown discharge or perimenopause brown spotting throughout the month. The texture of your discharge will also vary from thin and watery to thick and clumpy.
The Reassuring News On Postmenopausal Bleeding
The analysis found that most post-menopausal bleeding is caused by a noncancerous condition, such as vaginal atrophy, uterine fibroids, or polyps. That information doesnt really differ from what doctors have historically thought about the incidence of endometrial cancer and bleeding, says Dr. Berkowitz. But it does finally put solid data behind those figures, which was missing in the past, he says. The researchers who conducted this study were looking for clues about postmenopausal bleeding and how it relates to endometrial cancer.
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Diet Lifestyle And Home Remedies For Heavy Periods
It is important to remember, that while heavy periods are unpleasant, they are often a normal part of and one of the symptoms of the menopause, which will eventually cease. However, to make this symptom more bearable, there are some home remedies which may help.
Controlling stress could go a long way towards easing your symptom. This is because stress causes changes in your hormone production. During the menopause, further hormone changes are the last thing that you need, as this may trigger heavier periods than normal.
Improving your diet may help as well. Having a diet full of the correct nutrients and vitamins will help your general health and wellbeing, while a diet full of caffeine and refined sugar makes you more susceptible to symptoms such as heavy periods.
It is important to keep your iron levels high if you are experiencing heavy periods, otherwise you could develop anaemia. Iron is found in foods such as dark leafy vegetables and meat. Many women find it necessary to take an iron tonic at this stage of their life.
Your Age Affects Your Risk
The longer youve been in menopause, the less likely you are to experience postmenopausal bleeding. Women are significantly more likely to have bleeding in the first year of menopause compared to later on, research shows.
But women whove been postmenopausal for a while still need to pay attention to any bleedingendometrial cancer most commonly affects women in their mid-60s.
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Postmenopausal Bleeding Is Never Normal
Whether its light spotting or a heavier flow, vaginal bleeding after menopause can signal potential health problems.
It should always be brought up with your provider, said Gina M. Mantia-Smaldone, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center. And the sooner, the better. Rather than waiting for your next planned checkup, give your gynecologist a call quickly to schedule an evaluation.
Top 5 Ways To Address Heavy Bleeding In Perimenopause
In case you needed one more example of how conventional medicine fails women in perimenopause, lets take a moment to consider heavy bleedingVirtually every woman is going to experience at least occasional heavy bleeding during the perimenopause years .Yet most conventional doctors will say something along the lines of:Just buy heavier pads/tampons.Its not hurting your body to bleed so much its normal after all. So you can keep living your life.Well, you can look forward to menopause and you wont have to deal with it anymore!Can you see the thread running through these suggestions?Deal with it.Itll end, so why should we try to fix it?Youre a woman so youre used to bleeding its not that bad, right?Im here today to tell you that you do NOT just have to suffer from heavy, painful periods in perimenopause. Theres a reason its happening, and there are natural, safe ways to get relief quickly!If you have a broken arm, do you wait until it heals to do something to fix it?Of course not.You get an x-ray, find the root cause of your pain, and make adjustments immediately.In the same way, you shouldnt just think, this will end in a few years when Im in menopause so Ill just deal with the pain.This article is going to be your heavy bleeding x-raylets dive into whats causing this painful disruptive symptom and how you can get relief!
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S To Ease Perimenopausal Symptoms
Relieve unwanted symptoms of perimenopause by trying one of the following:
Hormone therapy helps relieve both hot flashes and vaginal discomfort. Estrogen therapy, when administered orally or transdermally, is shown to reduce bone loss.
When applied vaginally at very low doses , estrogen alleviates certain symptoms of perimenopause, including vaginal dryness, itching, and painful intercourse. However, it will not prevent osteoporosis or hot flashes.
Antidepressants, primarily those referred to as SSRIs, can help lessen mood swings and hot flashes in some patients. This treatment is recommended for those with perimenopausal symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Normally an anti-seizure drug, it can also effectively relieve hot flashes. Gabapentin is especially helpful for women who cannot use hormone therapy due to specific medical conditions.
Regular physical activity is known to help relieve numerous perimenopausal symptoms, including stress, sleeplessness, and weight problems.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is very important during perimenopause. Caffeine and alcohol disrupt sleep, so its better to cut back or avoid them entirely. Engaging in a stress-free, pre-bedtime activity, such as gentle yoga or a warm bath may help you have better sleep.
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.
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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.
What To Limit In Your Diet
No one wants to be given a long list of foods they cant have, but lets face it: Not all foods do your body good. In general, saturated fats from meat and dairy products increase your risk for heart disease. Choose plant-based fats when you can.
Also limit highly refined carbs, such as white breads, pasta, and baked goods, to avoid blood sugar spikes and constant cravings. Substitution is an important factor here. For example, you can make it a habit to substitute whole grain brown rice for white rice.
Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can exaggerate hormone symptoms, Angelone says, so limit these whenever possible.
As you enter perimenopause, there are a few things you can do to stay healthy and relieve symptoms:
- Quit smoking if you smoke cigarettes.
- Exercise regularly.
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My Experience Of Periods Changing Prior To Menopause By Aisling Grimley Founder My Second Spring
“At 47 I missed my period one month and thought I might be pregnant as I also experienced some hormone surges that reminded me of pregnancy. I had some red rage moments and very tender breasts.
During the following 5/6 years of perimenopause, I went through times of having regular monthly periods in my classic pattern for a few months. Then I might skip up to 6 months only to have periods return to normal again. During the gaps with no period, I sometimes had PMS like symptoms and mild cramps when I reckon I should have had a period. Sometimes my cramps were very painful, at other times I had no pain at all. My last periods were quite light and I never experienced flooding but I know it is very usual to have one or two very heavy periods before they stop altogether.
At 53 I had my last period and I am now period-free for 15 months so I declare myself to be in The Menopause!” Aisling