Irregular periods, like many menopausal symptoms, can be quite difficult to handle. Not only are they inconvenient, they can be embarrassing, or even anxiety-inducing. It is completely normal to experience irregular periods during menopause and they should not hinder you from enjoying everyday activities and life. There are ways that you can fight back against your irregular periods and stay positive.
Irregular periods are a common symptom of menopause. Like other menopausal symptoms, this is due to the fluctuation of hormones that occur as a woman stops ovulating. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone help regulate the menstrual cycle. When hormonal production changes, so will the frequency and timing of your periods.
It might not be anything to worry about. Often times, it's quite normal for there to be some deviation in the menstrual cycle. For example, the time between menstrual cycles can fluctuate by a few days in any given month. Some women may develop painful cramps as their cycles fluctuate.
Irregular periods refer to the absence of a period for several consecutive months. Irregular periods are a symptom commonly associated with menopause and perimenopause (the bodily transition that occurs before menopause). However, those who experience slight changes or irregularities may see a change in flow or the number of days between each cycle.
Don't let it bother you. Irregular periods don't have to mean unhappy periods. There are methods you can use to manage them. Although they may seem embarrassing, they are actually very common. In fact, only 10% of women reach menopause without experiencing irregular periods.
You always have your doctor. If your irregular periods are a concern, consult your doctor. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your irregular periods and help you find the best treatment.
Click on the following link to learn more about other treatments for 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.