Irregular, Erratic or Heavy Periods
During perimenopause, ‘What’s going on?’, is a constant question as periods become frustratingly unpredictable or unusually heavy, bringing another meaning to text talk slang FOMO - ‘fear of menstrual overflow’ rather than missing out!
Oestrogen and progesterone, the hormones responsible for triggering ovulation and periods surge and dip in perimenopause ensuring that periods are all over the place. Timing can be an issue for many women but heavy bleeding can be more disturbing. Failure to ovulate causes changes in hormone levels and thickening of the uterine wall which can lead to heavy bleeding. Heavy blood loss is identified as more than 80ml during a menstrual period i.e. soaking a tampon or pad each hour (the usual amount in a typical period is between 10 to 35ml).
Things to be aware of as periods change:
Changes to periods in perimenopause can start up to 4 years before menopause.
Menstrual cycles can get shorter; periods can come very close together or be constant, becoming heavier and prolonged.
Periods may stop for 2-3 months or longer before starting again.
Spotting may take place between periods.
PMS type symptoms may be experienced for the first time.
Contraception is still important for 2 years after your last period(under 50) and one year (over 50) according to NHS Choices.
12 months after your last period you are in menopause.
And the good news is….
Periods will eventually stop. Period!
The best ways to help with irregular periods
Exercise, diet and lifestyle changes may help you to deal with this unpredictable stage of perimenopause, but there are medical options, too.