You are forty five or six or seven years old and feel you’re about to get your period. On the other hand, it seems like you had it just two weeks ago, or you can’t remember when was the last time. If your period is irregular, you are probably reaching pre-menopause age.
Now you must be thinking: That’s not me. You’re thinking: This article is not for me. Like most women at that age, you think you are much too young to start talking or even thinking about menopause. And in certain aspects you are correct. You look good, dress well; you’re relevant, spontaneous and up to date. Besides, you still get your period, so what if it is irregular.
Most women stop menstruating between the ages of 45-55, but before it stops a process that might take anywhere between a year and a decade begins, accompanied by various symptoms. Some women report symptoms that resemble PMS, such as anxiety, irritation and sleep disorders. It begins when the period is still regular, so it is hard to pinpoint a specific point in time when the hormonal changes begin. It could happen at forty and go on until you are fifty. But it can also begin at thirty and continue until you are sixty. Every woman is different.
Why Does My Period Change and What Role Do Hormones Play
The monthly period cycle, which is the process of ovulation, endometrial regeneration and menstruation, is mainly affected by hormones. The female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone affect the regularity, duration and intensity of menstruation. During our fertile years the estrogen levels increase and decrease in a predictable pattern during the monthly period, which takes 28 days on average.
At the age of forty, estrogen secretions decrease as the body prepares to stop the monthly period process. The drop in hormone levels is not gradual and stable, but ever changing, resulting in an irregular period.
One of the most common early signs is a menstruation period which is two or three days shorter than usual. In some cases the time period between menstruation shortens to only two or three weeks. It sometimes feels like you’re already menstruating again, when you just finished the previous cycle. Another sign is that menstruation becomes easier and shorter than usual. That happens when the estrogen levels in your body drop, making the endometrium thinner, and the bleeding milder.
In later stages, as the period becomes even less regular, the body might skip the menstruation stage altogether. As the period of time between menstruation increases, the endometrium becomes thicker, thus making the bleeding, when it arrives, more intense and longer than usual, sometimes accompanied by painful contractions.
As the years go by, your period will become less and less regular. Several months can pass without menstruation before returning to your regular cycle. You might find blood stains between menstruation, this is a normal part of the process, caused by hormonal changes. It is important to know that although fertility levels decrease when the cycle is irregular, you could still conceive.
Some women are hardly affected by the hormonal changes during this period. But for many the hormonal instability and imbalance, meaning the increase and decrease of estrogen in the body, can be hard both mentally and physically. With symptoms such as headaches, weight gain, mood swings and sleep disorder.
What Can Be Done?
It is important to remember that an irregular period and the accompanying symptoms are a normal part of a process that leads to the complete stoppage of the monthly cycle. But some dietary and lifestyle changes can ease the symptoms.
A diet low in important vitamins might worsen the symptoms. It is always important, but specifically during this time, to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and caffeine.
Stress can also cause period irregularity. It is important to find ways to relax and make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night. We all know that sleep is important for recharging and regenerating cells, but it also helps reduce stress and its effect on period regularity. You can relieve stress, and thus your symptoms, with yoga, meditation and physical activities.
Reducing the amount of cigarettes you smoke per day, or stopping altogether, will lead to a significant decrease in symptoms and improve your overall health.
Period irregularities can last up to a decade. The symptoms stemming from hormonal changes might disrupt your everyday life, so it is important to learn about the ways to handle them. In addition to dietary changes, physical activity and lifestyle changes, you can also use dietary supplements that can ease the physical and mental hardships. Even though the process could be lengthy, it is possible to manage it and its associated symptoms.