Managing Symptoms Of The Perimenopause
Just because the perimenopause is a natural process, it doesnt mean that its always easy to cope with. If youre experiencing symptoms, there are some things that you can do that may help.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine if they seem to trigger your hot flushes, or if youre having trouble sleeping.
- Use moisturisers and lubricants to help with vaginal dryness.
- Do things that reduce your stress, such as practising yoga and mindfulness.
- Try to get enough sleep.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and take part in regular exercise to help manage your weight and give you more energy.
There are also treatments that your doctor can prescribe if you need some support to improve your quality of life. These include:
- hormones, also known as hormone replacement therapy
- medicines to ease specific symptoms
- help with your mental health, such as cognitive behavioural therapy
You dont need to wait for your periods to stop before speaking to your doctor.
Should I Be On Birth Control During Perimenopause
Yes. If you do not want to become pregnant, you should use birth control during perimenopause. Even if you are getting your period every few months, you are still ovulating those months. Since its not possible to predict when you are ovulating, you should use birth control until you havent gotten a period for at least 12 months.
Karens Heavy Bleeding And Clotting While On Hrt Was Totally Inconvenient And Interfered With
Was it heavy bleeding?Not all the time. It was clotted at points, which I think thats when it started really getting to my brain that this was totally inconvenient. If you went anywhere you had to go prepared so it was actually interfering with my general life. It affects almost everything you do, as I say, even going shopping, youve got to go prepared. I needed to know where the nearest loo was. Even going out for meals with friends, everything like that, it does affect you and it affects how you feel. And your moods, your tempers and not wanting to go out and holidays become even more difficult, youve got small children who want to go swimming.And then I think it must have been, Im trying to think when it was, must have been after about six years it became that my periods were going on and they were forced periods because of the HRT, but they were lasting longer than the days that I had off and I was feeling generally unwell and the doctor was still quite happy that I should stay on HRT. All that he really checked was my blood pressure and my weight and they seemed to be okay. Eventually he referred me to a gynaecologist at it was quite quick and they did a scan and said that Id got quite large polyps and fibroids. And they whipped me in the hospital quite quickly.
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Chemotherapy And Ovarian Function
Chemotherapy can damage the female reproductive system, including the reproductive organs and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, which is responsible for hormonal regulation.
The hormones that are needed to release eggs each month, such as estrogen, and prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy are made in the cells of the ovaries called oocytes.
Oocytes tend to divide quickly, so they are often affected by chemo, which kills fast-growing cells. This can lead to loss of those important hormones and can affect fertility. Sometimes a woman will go into premature or early menopause after chemo.
Higher doses of these drugs are more likely to cause permanent fertility changes, and combinations of drugs can have greater side effects. The risk of permanent infertility is even higher when you are treated with both chemo and radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis.
How Do Periods Change In Perimenopause
Due to changing hormone levels and unpredictable ovulation, you can expect to experience some period irregularity during perimenopause. These changes run the gamutyou might skip a few periods, see spotting between periods, experience heavier or lighter flows, or even those that last longer or shorter than usual. Most of the time, these changes are common even among women who have experienced extremely regular periods for their whole lives. If two months or more pass by and you havent had a period at all, youre probably in the later phases of perimenopause.
How menopause affects the menstrual cycle is rarely the same from woman to woman. Some women dont experience any intense symptoms, while others are greatly affected by things like heavy bleeding. Some women will experience inconsistent periods for months or years, whereas others see their menstruation end more suddenly.
During this time of irregularity, your fertility will likely decrease, but as long as youre still having your period, you can get pregnant. If youre using birth control, youll want to keep doing so until you havent had your period for 12 consecutive months. Once you hit this 12 month mark without a period, youve likely moved from perimenopause into menopause.
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Abnormal Bleeding After Menopause
In some cases, bleeding continues after menopause. It is easy to mistake this type of bleeding for symptoms of perimenopause, which may mislead someone to think they have not reached full-menopause when they actually have.
Any spotting or bleeding after menopause is abnormal and should be checked out by a healthcare provider . Spotting or bleeding after menopause can be caused by a medical condition, such as uterine polyps . Uterine polyps are growths on the inside lining of the uterus , and become more common with age .
Chemotherapy And Birth Defect Link
There is a substantial risk of children being born with birth defects because of chemotherapy.
Particularly during the first trimester, chemotherapy greatly increases the risk of malformations. Even in the second and third trimesters, chemotherapy increases the risk of pregnancy complications and the baby being born with a compromised immune system.
Its important to use birth control methods during treatment for chemotherapy, but avoid the pill. Chemotherapy can cause nausea, and vomiting may decrease the pill’s effectiveness.
Experts also recommend avoiding hormonal birth control containing estrogen. You may want to discuss progestin-only birth control with your healthcare provider.
The copper IUD is recommended for most women undergoing chemotherapy.
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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
- Exercise – Regular moderate exercise can help with many of the symptoms of menopause. It can help support your mood, sleep, body weight and often helps to keep pesky food cravings under control too!
Typical Symptoms Of Menopause
Gaining weight is only one possible symptom of menopause, and its a subjective one. No two people experience this phase of life in the same way. While some hardly notice these hormonal changes, others suffer to a varying degree from a range of menopause symptoms.
Here are some typical examples of these symptoms:
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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.
Weight Gain And Loss Of Bone Density
Slower metabolism is another symptom caused by hormonal changes in our body during perimenopause. Because of this, you may find that your pants are starting to feel a little too tight. But you may also be experiencing transient weight gain due to increased fluid retention that happens during erratic estrogen production.
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Perimenopause And Irregular Bleeding
During perimenopause a womans menstrual cycles may be shorter or longer, and the flow may vary from light to heavy. As ovarian function is declining, ovulation may not occur. The ongoing release of estrogen may cause the uterine lining to thicken while the production of progesterone slows down. As a result, the lining continues to build up and may cause irregular bleeding. The thickening of the endometrium may represent a benign change, such as a polyp, or hyperplasia. Most hyperplasia is not a problem but some forms can be precancerous. The bleeding can also represent endometrial . Fortunately, this is the least likely possibility.
Uterine polyps and uterine fibroids, both of which are benign, may also cause changes in bleeding pattern. Polyps are benign growths composed of the endometrial glands and contain no muscle tissue. A fibroid is a fibromuscular type of tumor that often grows within the muscular layer of the uterus. If the fibroid juts out into the endometrial cavity, abnormal bleeding can result. Both fibroids and polyps can cause extra bleeding due to their location within the interior of the uterus.
Maggies Periods Have Become Increasingly Irregular In The Past 16 Months
My periods were fairly regular up till September, not last year, the year before, 2007, so at that point I just stopped having periods for about a period of six months, and again I wasnt too concerned about it, I thought perhaps, I started to think then, I started to do a bit of reading about the menopause about the perimenopause, as I realised thats probably what was happening. And sorry Ive lost the train of thought now. So yes I didnt have periods for six months and then I started a relationship and I got one period in the same month that I started the relationship, and then again a gap of about eight months, and again some light bleeding for about two or three days, and that was a couple of months ago. So I think in the period of time of about sixteen months Ive had two lots of quite light bleeding.
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Menopause And Body Fat
With the onset of menopause, estrogen production decreases. Estrogen is not only an important hormone for the menstrual cycle and pregnancy it also plays a role in fat metabolism. The transition of menopause changes the concentration of the bodys sex hormones it can cause estrogen deficiency as well as an excess of testosterone.
As a result, fat distribution typically changes before menopause, anyone who has a period tends to store fat on their hips and butts. But they tend to gain weight around their abdomen with the onset of menopause.
Hormones arent the only culprit behind gaining weight during menopause, however. Fat metabolism has been shown to slow down with age, meaning stored fat is broken down more slowly.
On top of that, your basal metabolic rate drops and the body loses muscle mass. Thus, your bodys fat reserves increase by about two kilograms between ages 50 and 60, even if your weight remains the same.
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Dr Karen Morton: Many women will go onto a cyclical HRT regime as means of menstrual regulation and moderation. In same way as pill periods are light and predictable, a woman can use an HRT regime to achieve these. The HRT is probably a pill but there are many varieties. Some may take this for six months and wonder if theyve finished their periods and come off, others may choose to continue.
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Menstrual Blood Becomes Dark Or Brown In Color
When your periods begin, the color of the menstrual blood is typically bright red. Towards the end of your period, the blood turns to dark brown. Dark colored blood or brown blood is considered to be a sign of old blood leaving the body. When you experience perimenopause, you may see brown spotting or discharge throughout the month. Apart from the color of the blood, you may also notice a change in the texture of this discharge. The discharge may become watery and thin or it may be thick and clumpy.
What can you do about it: If you worried about the changes in your menstrual blood, then you should take an appointment with your doctor. It is important to consult your doctor because even the slightest change in the color of menstrual blood may sometimes also indicate another underlying health condition.
How Does Perimenopause Affect Your Periods & What You Can Do About It
A womans body undergoes several changes upon reaching menopause. Menopause is the term used to refer to the end of the menstrual cycle in women. If you do not have any menstrual bleeding for 12 months, then this is an indication that you have reached menopause. Typically women reach the stage of menopause between the ages of 45 to 55 years old. Perimenopause is known as the time period you go through before menopause. During perimenopause, you may start to experience many changes that affect your periods. There are conflicting studies about whether or not perimenopause is actually responsible for affecting your menstrual periods. Let us look at whether perimenopause can affect your periods and what you can do about it?
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