Women entering their 40s often begin experiencing signs of perimenopause, which is the period leading into menopause. The most common sign of perimenopause involves irregularities with periods. If you are currently experiencing irregular periods and are in your 40s, you might be entering this stage of menopause, and here are several things you should know about this.
What Is Perimenopause?
Menopause is not something that occurs all in one day. Instead, it is a process your body goes through, and the end result is no more periods and the inability to produce children. Prior to menopause, your body will actually start changing to prepare for menopause, and this is what perimenopause is. It is the time before menopause, and many women begin seeing signs and symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s.
You will probably not go through menopause until you reach your 50s, but you may still experience the common changes of perimenopause many years before this.
What Irregularities Are Common With Periods During This Time?
During perimenopause, changes in your periods are very common. For some women, the only changes they experience might be lighter or shorter blood flows. Other women might start seeing a change in the number of days between periods.
A lot of women will also begin experiencing very irregular cycles. For example, you might have your period 27 days apart right now, but suddenly your period starts after only 15 days. The next month, it might not start until day 35. Every month might be different, and you might not know when to expect it to happen.
Additionally, you might have very light blood flows some months and heavy flows the next. You might also bleed for only two days during one period and six days the next. If you are going through this right now, you probably never know when your periods will occur or how long they will last. This can be frustrating and annoying, but there is not a lot you can do about it.
Why Do Periods Become Irregular?
During this time period in your life, your periods can become irregular simply because your body is changing. While your body changes, there will be major changes in hormones, and this is why you may experience irregularities with your periods. The main changes occur with estrogen and progesterone, which are both hormones needed for reproduction. As you age and begin going through the change of life, your body will stop producing these hormones. This does not happen overnight, though. Instead, it happens gradually.
In addition to causing irregular periods, the changes that occur with these hormones can also lead to other types of signs and symptoms. One common symptom is hot flashes. If you suddenly break out in a sweat for no reason, you might be having a hot flash.
You might also have problems sleeping or suffer from irritability and major mood swings. Many women also begin noticing a decrease in their sex drives during this time. Other women experience a lot of problems with vaginal dryness.
These are all normal symptoms of perimenopause, but irregular periods can also be the result of lifestyle choices too. For example, if you exercise too much, drink a lot of alcohol, or smoke, you are more likely to suffer from irregular periods. Certain diseases and illnesses also cause irregularities with periods, and this includes cancer, thyroid problems, and diabetes.
If you are not sure why you are suffering from irregular periods, you should visit a gynecologist. Your gynecologist can examine you and run tests if necessary to help you determine what is causing the irregularities you are struggling with. Check out sites like http://www.centraliowaobgyn.com for more information.