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Period changes

Menopause symptoms and treatments.

Period changes

In the months and years leading up to menopause, it’s common to notice that your periods change (unless you use contraception that causes very light or no periods). This is due to hormonal fluctuations as your ovarian function changes.

Here are some of the ways your periods might change in perimenopause:

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Common period issues and changes:

Irregular periods

If you previously had regular periods, you may notice the timing and pattern of them change. Your cycle may shorten and you have periods closer together, or it can lengthen and your periods happen further apart. Some months you may miss a period altogether, or not have one for a few months and then you may get one again. 

This can be frustrating, especially if you’ve always had a regular cycle. It may help to log when your periods happen (perhaps with the help of an app) and this information will certainly help inform your healthcare professional if you seek support with this issue. The best thing is to be prepared with your period products on hand at any time of the month, so you don’t get caught short when out.

Changes to flow and duration

As well as periods being irregular, they can also change by how heavy or light they are. During perimenopause, your periods may be heavier than usual, and they might last longer too. Sometimes the opposite is true and periods become lighter and may reduce to just some spotting and only last a day or two. You may notice spotting in between periods, or sometimes not be sure whether you’re even having a period or not.

Having a range of period products to cope with different amounts of bleeding is a good idea, and you can always seek help if your periods start being a problem to you. 

Heavy or long-lasting periods

Some women get very heavy bleeding in perimenopause, sometimes referred to as ‘flooding’. They may also notice blood clots during this time as well. Keep a note of when heavy bleeding occurs and how long it lasts for.

If your periods are troubling you, see your doctor or make an appointment with Dr Natalie Summerhill to discuss how to manage your bleeding. If you regularly have very heavy periods, you may want to have a blood test to check your iron levels and make sure you’re not anaemic and sometimes, further investigations are necessary. There are several ways to minimise heavy bleeding in perimenopause so please don’t suffer in silence.

Absent periods

Your periods might disappear for a month or two or longer. This is not usually cause for concern but it’s worth thinking a bit more about this and considering other factors too, such as your diet and exercise levels, and whether you’re experiencing stress as these can also affect your periods.

It’s also important to be aware that it’s still possible to get pregnant during perimenopause, so if this is theoretically possible for you, no matter how small the chance, you may want to take a pregnancy test if you miss a period.

See your healthcare professional if you’re worried about your missing periods.