Menopause can be a long, complex transition for a woman's body. For that reason, irregular periods are one of the most common menopause symptoms, with a woman's periods happening too early, too late, or not at all.
Understandably, this may be cause for concern. Luckily, because this is such a common symptom, there are many different answers for the myriad of questions women have during this transition. Keep reading to learn more about irregular periods, their causes, and potential treatments for finding relief.
Are Irregular Periods Normal?
Nearly every menopausal woman will face irregular periods at some point. Because ovulation is winding down during menopause, periods become increasingly erratic. At the beginning of menopause, you'll find that they may actually occur more frequently. As menopause progresses, they will subside before ending altogether.
How Do I Know My Irregular Periods Are Caused by Menopause?
A question many women face is whether their irregular periods are caused by menopause or something else, like pregnancy. If your periods have become irregular, look for other menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. These could be a good indicator of whether you are experiencing menopause or not. Of course, if you're concerned about your health, see a doctor.
Can Irregular Periods Be Stopped?
The short answer: no. Due to nature of menopause, irregular periods are inevitable. As stated above, your menstrual cycle is winding down during menopause. That means your periods will be erratic for a while before ending completely. There are steps you can take to relieve this condition, however. Keep reading to find out how.
How Can I Relieve My Irregular Periods?
While irregular periods cannot be stopped, lessening their severity is well within your grasp. Most experts recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and alternative medicines for fighting menopause symptoms, including irregular periods. Diet, exercise, and stress relief are all good ways to curb the hormonal imbalance that drives the vast majority of menopause symptoms. What's more, these changes will improve your overall health.
Alternative medicines have shown effectiveness in the past. Herbs like black cohosh, ginseng, and red clover are often used by menopausal women for their reported ability to replace declining estrogen with similar plant compounds called phytoestrogens, though these herbs come with side effects. Non-estrogenic herbs are thought to boost hormonal production naturally, without the unpleasant side effects.
Want to know more? Click on the following link for more information about ways to deal with irregular periods.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause." November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.