Perimenopause is the stage in a woman's life leading up to menopause, and it can last for up to 10 years. It is said to begin when a woman experiences her first menopause symptom and ends after she has not menstruated for a full 12 consecutive months. Each woman will experience perimenopause differently with regards to frequency and intensity of symptoms, so “normal” is often a relative word. Read on to discover more about spotting between periods during perimenopause and whether or not you should be concerned.
Changes in Menstrual Cycle during Perimenopause
Women do still menstruate during perimenopause. In fact, only when she has stopped for a complete year is a woman no longer in the perimenopause stage. However, periods during perimenopause are a little less predictable than those experienced during premenopause, and this is mainly due to the levels of estrogen. Some women might find that their periods are shorter or longer than normal, and they might arrive at unpredictable times. In some cases, a woman might not have a period for a few months and then one could come. In short, “normal” will usually be a thing of the past when it comes to periods.
What Effect Does Estrogen Have?
During a woman's life, her levels of estrogen are generally stable, and this is what regulates her menstrual cycle. However, as she approaches menopause, her estrogen begins to decline and fluctuate more drastically, and this results in erratic production until it reaches a consistently low level. This can often result in light spotting between periods. It is normally nothing to worry about, although if it does become extreme, then talking to a doctor is advised, as it could be indicative of a serious medical condition that requires medical treatment.
How Can I Tell If Bleeding Is Abnormal?
If spotting lasts longer than a couple of days, occurs every time after sex, or becomes very heavy, then it is best to get a health check. However, in most cases, it will be no cause for concern. A little bit of spotting every now and then between periods is perfectly normal and should not alarm you.
What Could Abnormal Bleeding Mean?
Extreme spotting could mean that there are growths on the inside of the uterus, and these could require urgent medical treatment or be quite harmless. However, this cannot be known until they have been checked by a doctor. There could also be growths on the cervix or cervical canal. Growths are the most common reason, but there could be other causes of abnormal bleeding during perimenopause.
In general, this perimenopause symptom is nothing to worry about, and it could even be said to be normal. However, it is important to keep an eye on it and seek medical help if you feel unsure, especially if the spotting is accompanied by any other symptoms.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2011). Perimenopausal Bleeding and Bleeding After Menopause. Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq162.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20141216T1207214385
- National Institutes of Health. (2011). Menopause: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.
- Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000894.htm