Different types of bleeds during your perimenopausal years.
Ah the joys of our monthly cycle, although when going through menopause it’s anything but a monthly regular. For the past 12 months my periods have been different and not in any form of cycle. This is not something I have been immune to over the years having suffered with endometriosis, I've often had periods of issues. But when I had to take a pregnancy test just a year ago for fear and panic that I'd had a slip up and missed a period, it never occurred to me that it could have been the early sign of perimenopause. Thank goodness it was, the thought of bearing another child as mine was turning 18 and I was heading into my 40’s was scarier if I'm honest!
What I'm noticing is that no two months are the same, every single month brings a different response to my menstrual cycle as my hormones fluctuate, so do my periods and bleeding patterns. These are just some of the differing period changes I have noticed.
I find I suffer with this in the lead up to my period, small loss of blood but not enough to need sanitary products. It can catch me off guard and not prepared but it can also be annoying as by this point my hormones are raging and I know I will gain some relief if my period were just to start!
According to the big wide web this is a a normal issue that is a result of your changing hormones and the body preparing to line the uterus.
This has been a big one for me. Year on year my periods have been becoming heavier and more painful. I went back to my GP to discuss if my endometriosis symptoms were getting worse. It's like I'm a teenager again, having to change sanitary products every hour and needing to take spare clothes with me when out and about because it can just leak through. Some months I'm needing tampons and sanitary pads. What's that all about! It's incredibly embarrassing and I find myself getting out of a chair during a meeting and having to check the chair as I leave. I once got caught very short in the gym and a kind friend lent me a towel to complete the workout on, I was mortified.
Dr Paula Briggs recently wrote:
“It’s probably one of the commonest presenting symptoms in menopause transition and there’s a logical reason for it,” she says. As the body tries to prod faltering ovaries into releasing an egg, oestrogen levels rise, causing the womb lining to thicken; but women who are no longer ovulating regularly don’t always produce enough progesterone to balance out that oestrogen. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jul/22/there-will-be-blood-women-on-the-shocking-truth-about-periods-and-perimenopause
Shorter or Longer bleeds
Again, our periods become very unpredictable during our perimenopausal years and you don’t know if you're going to get a period that lasts more than a week or one that barely shows its face!
When oestrogen levels are low the lining of your womb is thinner and this can result in shorter periods. But due to the fluctuation in our hormones and oestrogen and progesterone going up and down this can result in shorter or longer periods.
Gradually your periods become less frequent and stop all together.
Missed bleeds or Irregular bleeds
Now this can cause you to go into blind panic that you're going to end up an older mother when completely unplanned. However irregular and missed periods all together are completely normal. Ovulation is decreasing during the perimenopausal years thus leading to irregular and even missed periods. I have found using an app to track my cycle or lack thereof to be quite helpful.
Will I still get bleeds if I take HRT?
This very much depends on the type of HRT you and your doctor agree is right for you.
If taking oestrogen every day and progesterone for some of the moth you will likely still get a bleed.
Taking a combined HRT or oestrogen and progesterone can result in no bleeds at all.
And these HRT combinations can be taken in a multitude of ways, through tablet, patches and for some women the coil and vaginal preparations. It’s best to chat through with your GP the best options for you.
For the time being I am sticking to a natural way to manage my irregular bleeds. The day I can no longer manage them myself is the day I will start HRT. I’m not superwoman!
The tea’s that really help me during my cycle are as follows.
The No 1 Energise blend helps to keep my energy levels up, the ashwagandha in the tea assists me with keeping my hormones in equilibrium and supports their fluctuation by bringing about balance. The ginger in this tea is an excellent way to combat inflammation and period pains.
The No 2 Hydrate blend supports my hydration levels following a night of hot sweats where I have lost a lot of fluids. I also find I require more fluids during my cycle, much the same as when you need more fluids as a result of being ill.
The No 3 Relax blend keeps my raging hormones and emotions in tact or at least keeps me calm to cope with PMS. It really helps me to unwind and switch off.