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Periods Getting Worse? It Could Be Menopause

Posted in Personal Health 17 Nov, 2015

Menopause - that's miles off. I'm only in my thirties. BUT WAIT! If your periods are heavier than ever before it could mean the menopause is lurking. You may be in 'perimenopause' as we speak.

What Is Menopause?

It's when menstruation comes to an end and fertility starts to shut down. As women age their oestrogen levels drop, ready for the time that we can't have kids any more. For some this is a blessing, for others it's a nightmare.

Menopause comes to us all, but before medically defined menopause (the cessation of periods), comes the perimenopause. The average age of menopause for women in the UK is 51, but it can happen as young as 40 or as old as 60. HRT can help some women with menopause symptoms, and it's worth investigating this if you need some support.

What Are The Symptoms?

They vary of course but here are a few.

  • Sweating
  • Dry vagina
  • Thinning hair
  • Moods swings
  • Sleeplessness
  • Lighter periods
  • Missed periods
  • Heavier periods

Why Do Periods Get Heavier During Menopause?

Like some cosmic joke, menopause can interfere with your cycle however it pleases. You'd think those periods would be drying up, but no. Research from the International Journal Of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that heavy bleeding was frequently observed in 91% of women approaching the menopause. Experts say this can last up to eight years. Please don't cry. There is a reason for it.

Brace Yourselves For Some Blinding Science

During perimenopause your hormones go on a wild rampage, just like a group of five-year-olds racing space hoppers. Many women find that, as they've aged, their cycles have settled, so it's infuriating and upsetting to find them causing teenage havoc once again.

Researchers think that sometimes progesterone levels drop low whereas oestrogen levels can go high, and this leads to a build up of uterine lining. When that sheds you're in for the mother of all periods - what goes in must come out.

This heavy flow can include large blood clots, and some women find themselves changing tampons and pads every hour, even waking during the night to change sanitary protection. This is called menorrhagia or 'flooding', but short of building an ark what can you do?

What To Do

  • Some women use progesterone supplements to reduce oestrogen dominance
  • Contraception such as the pill or the coil can regulate periods
  • There are other forms of medication a GP can prescribe
  • Regular exercise and a good diet can work wonders
  • Be wary of anaemia. Symptoms are breathlessness, pallor and a rapid heartbeat
  • Get a GP check up because heavy bleeding can be caused by fibroids or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

It's so unfair that our hormones decide to play merry hell with us just at a time we're feeling a bit rubbish about growing older. If you are suffering with heavy periods it's worth talking to your doctor about dealing with perimenopause.

Please don't suffer in silence, the menopause is a difficult time for some women and there is help out there.

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