Posted on: 12 September 2017Share
Women all go through a change of life called menopause, but changes with menstrual cycles begin occurring years before this change fully takes place. If you are in your 40s or 50s, you can expect changes to start happening, and this is completely normal as your body begins to prepare for menopause. Here are some of the changes you should expect as well as signs that you should visit an OBGYN for advice or help.
Normal Changes That Occur
When women hit their 40s, they will often begin to experience changes in their periods. For some women, these changes may occur a little sooner or later. Every woman is different, and everyone's body is different. When these changes begin, doctors often call this perimenopause, which simply refers to the time before menopause.
By the time you reach the age of 40, your body will start to produce less estrogen and progesterone. Both of these hormones control your periods, and the changes in levels will result in changes in your periods. During this time, your periods may be irregular. In other words, they may come and go at times when you do not expect them. If you were on a 28-day cycle, this may change to 24 days; however, some months it may be more like 35 days.
Not knowing when to expect your period is a common complaint of women going through perimenopause, and not being able to find any patterns in periods can be common and frustrating.
Some women experience a decrease in blood flow during their periods at this age, while other women suffer from heavier blood flow. In addition, you might feel moodier and have more feelings of depression or anxiety, or you might notice you are gaining unexplained weight. All of these things are a direct result from the changes in your hormones, and they are completely normal.
Signs You May Experience That Should Alert You To Seek Help
While you should expect a lot of changes in your periods and body during this time, there are certain things that should alert you to seek help from your doctor. For example, if you start bleeding and do not stop for weeks or months, you should seek help. It is never normal to bleed for weeks or months at a time. A period should always start and stop within a normal amount of time, usually three to seven days.
If you are experiencing extreme abdominal pain during your periods or between them, this should also be a sign to seek help. While many women do experience abdominal pain from their periods or during ovulation, extreme pain could indicate a bigger problem. You should also consider seeing a doctor if you are suffering from major hot flashes or any other symptoms that do not seem normal.
Your gynecologist can examine you and may order some tests if he or she suspects that there might be a problem. In addition, your doctor might recommend taking birth control pills to help regulate your periods during this time, and he or she might be able to offer some help for your depression and hot flashes.
Going through the change of life is new to every woman that experiences it, and it can be hard to know what is normal and what is not. Visiting your doctor each year is a great way to make sure everything is normal, and it also offers you a chance to ask questions.
If you are starting to see these changes, don't be alarmed; however, if you have any problems that do not seem normal, contact an OBGYN like George L Stankevych, MD today.