One of the early signs of perimenopause is in menstrual cycle changes. The changes often include heavy bleeding and irregular bleeding between periods in perimenopause. Let’s see why irregular bleeding between periods occurs in perimenopause stage and how to handle heavy bleeding during perimenopause.
Irregularly heavy bleeding is also one of the symptoms experienced by women with hypothyroidism. Read more about this at What are the Symptoms for Low Thyroid?
When the ovaries start producing less estrogen and progesterone, and periods stop for one year; this is the time of life called menopause. It is a natural process, however complex. The period before menopause is called perimenopause. While the period after menopause is often referred as post menopause.
During both perimenopause and post menopause phases, many physical and emotional symptoms of menopause start to occur because of the low estrogen levels. Both the physical and emotional symptoms you felt during your perimenopause may carry on or disappear after you’re menopause.
Although menopause is a natural and inevitable stage in every woman’s life, its physical, mental, and emotional manifestations can vary greatly from one person to the next1. Some women may experience none; while others may face many symptoms from mood swings to heart palpitations to hot flashes and night sweats.
It’s also common to develop the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause during perimenopause phase such as hot flashes and night sweats, heart palpitations, mood swings, etc. The most prominent symptom of perimenopause would be heavy bleeding and irregular periods. Let’s take a look at menopause, perimenopause and irregular bleeding and how to handle heavy bleeding during perimenopause.
In a healthy menstruating woman, estrogen is the main hormone released for the first 10-12 days after earlier menstrual cycle. Ovulation then signals the body to secrete progesterone, which happens for the next 12 or so days. When there’s no pregnancy, the levels of progesterone and estrogen will drop at around day 28 and menstruation starts.
However, if there is no ovulation, progesterone won’t be produced during the month. This is called an ‘annovulatory cycle’ and is a typical occurrence for women in their perimenopause or pre menopause phase. Without ovulation and progesterone production, she then has an excess amount of estrogen, insufficient progesterone and certainly many symptoms of perimenopause and menopause start to occur. In addition, when a woman has had a hysterectomy or other typical surgeries, she would experience surgical or premature menopause which means she no longer produces progesterone.
And finally when the ovulation stops to occur at menopause and post menopause stage, progesterone levels go down to almost zero. While, estrogen is still being produced, causing hormone imbalance thus inducing many perimenopause and menopause symptoms. Apart from the difficulties caused by missed ovulations or hysterectomy, excess estrogen is also gained from other sources like contraception drugs, household chemicals and pesticides, foods that have been sprayed and construction fabrics used in homes.
The hormone imbalance condition of excess estrogen in the body is often referred as “estrogen dominance”. Symptoms of estrogen dominance include low sex drive, bloating and weight gain, headaches, mood swings, irregular periods and heavy bleeding. Also, hormone imbalance is often linked to hair loss after menopause. If unopposed estrogen in the female adult rises outside the scope of what is healthy and worth having, you will surely suffer some symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. On the other hand, when your estrogen and progesterone hormones are well-balanced, you won’t experience too much of menopause and perimenopause symptoms as you feel alert, energetic and ready to take on the challenges of daily life.
Beside the hormone imbalance, certain medical conditions such as fibroids, polyps, infection of the uterus, certain types of cancer can cause heavy bleeding. You will need to take a pelvic exam to determine if this is the case.
Irregular bleeding between periods in perimenopause
Irregular bleeding between periods and perimenopause is closely related. When a woman starts experiencing irregular bleeding between periods, she may be in her perimenopause phase. This irregular bleeding can occur up to menopause. In some cases, periods may be of a short duration, or last longer than usual. Besides, your menses may vary from light to heavy bleeding. Your menstrual periods can suddenly vary between gradually getting lighter, then heavier, and then lighter again. The time between periods may also fluctuate and you might skip some periods.
How to handle heavy bleeding during perimenaupause?
Black cohosh is a very popular herb women use to help alleviate many symptoms of menopause. Black cohosh can help with hot flashes and cramps. It’s also found effective to handle heavy menstrual bleeding during perimenopause. Research studies have also shown that black cohosh may even help prevent osteoporosis. Most research studies recommend you take black cohosh extract, and it may take two to four weeks before noticed results occur.
You can also try to drink green smoothies consisted of green vegetables such as kale, dandelion, spinach, parsley, celery, etc and fresh fruits like apples, mangoes, bananas, peaches, pears, etc. daily to stop heavy bleeding.
Read also: Best Diet for Menopause.
Heavy bleeding and irregular bleeding between periods in perimenopause are some of the early signs of perimenopause. If you’re experiencing some degree of these symptoms, you’re probably going through your pre menopause stage. There’re some herbs and medications that may help to handle heavy bleeding during perimenopause. But do a lot of researches before you go for one. If possible, go to your doctor for further medical advice.
1. Marcia L., Ph.D. Jones, Theresa, M.D. Eichenwald and Nancy W. Hall, Menopause for Dummies