Read the full video transcript below
Now, I have talked about this before in a number of other blogs when I've been talking about lots of different things that can happen with your periods, but I have noticed just recently that an awful lot of women have been contacting me because they've been not quite sure what's going on.
They thought that their periods had stopped for good and suddenly they get them back or they get the odd one back, and they're wondering if this is perfectly normal, whether it's something they should be worried about, whether they should just sit tight, or whether they need to go and see their doctor. So I thought I'd go into it in a little bit more detail today.
Missing periods - the first sign of the menopause
Now missing periods are usually one of the first signs that you are approaching the menopause. The problem is, though, that every single one of us will have a completely different combination. And this particular phase, it can be a very short one, it can be a long one, or it can be a really, really long one. And we don't know. And none of us are going to know how long this is actually going to last. So let's look into some of the different combinations that you can get.
Periods just stop
For some very lucky women, their periods will literally just stop, and that's it, gone for good. They really are lucky ones.
Periods come and go
For the majority of us, there will be some missing ones and some coming back. So some of you might find that you miss one period, then you get some back again, and then a few months down the line, you miss another one and then they come back for a little while.
For some of you, you might find that you might miss one, get one, miss one, get one, and that can go on for quite a while, too. For some of you, you might miss two or three periods and then get one back. And the problem with this situation is that very often when you've missed two or three periods and you get one back, that one can be quite a heavy one.
It's almost as if the body's been saving up for it for some reason. For some women, they will miss three or four periods and then maybe get one back. And each time that you miss, the number of missed periods will get bigger and bigger until you suddenly realize, "Oh, I've not had a period for a year or more."
So as you can see, there's all sorts of different combinations. And they're all quite normal. It just depends on how your own hormones are falling or going up and down at that particular time.
Even if you start to miss periods it is a good idea to still keep a note in your diary as to when the next one would be due. Your hormones will still have a monthly cycle just, sometimes, not high enough to trigger a bleed. Some women find that they still get the usual PMS symptoms too but without a period a diary can be a good indication when to expect this.
No period for over a year
Now, for some women, they might find that they have got to a year or even a year and a bit without a period, and suddenly they get one back again. And this is very often the time when they can get a little bit worried. Some schools of thought say that you are through the menopause once you have not had a period for a year. In our experience, we find that a number of women will get periods back, or they'll get the odd one back after a year or more.
Start counting all over again!!
Sorry ladies but if you get a proper period back then you have to start counting all over again!! This is usually an indication that your hormones are still fluctuating.
Why does this happen?
Now, this can be caused by a variety of factors. Very often it's just your hormones having one last fling. They go, "I don't want to stop yet. I want to have one more go at having periods before I calm down for good." So this is usually the most common reason.
But another interesting fact is if you decide to overhaul your diet, and a lot of women going through the menopause get to the point where they say, "I need to do something about my diet. I need to eat healthy, or I need to exercise a bit more." If you are giving your body a lot more extra nutrition, that can very often feed your hormones as well. And that can be one of the primary reasons for getting a period back, if you have decided just to sort everything out.
Now, there can be other reasons as well. There's something called a prolapse, where the pelvic floor muscles tend to get a little bit weak. And that allows either the womb, or the bladder, or the bowel to slightly shift position. And this could maybe irritate the womb and trigger a bleed as well.
There can be other issues as well such as fibroids, which you might not even been aware that you had. And suddenly because your hormone levels are changing or maybe sometimes the womb starts to get a little bit thinner as you go through the menopause, this could irritate the fibroid. So when you get to this stage, it is really important that you just get things checked out by your doctor as well.
Two years or more without a period
There are also a few women that will go for two years or more and find that they get a period back. This is not really very common. And as far as we're concerned, once you have not had a period for two years, then that's...you're well and truly through the menopause.
So if you get any kind of bleeding, either a proper period, or you just get a little bit of smearing, or you get a little bit of spotting, then it really is important that you just get this checked out by your doctor just to make sure that there isn't anything else going on.
So I hope this has given you a little bit of a better picture of one of the more puzzling aspects of what can happen to your periods as you approach the menopause.
If any of you have any other questions on this or you've had a slightly different combination, then please do get in touch, and I'll be happy to answer your questions. And I will see you next week for another A.Vogel Talks Menopause.