Irregular menstruation and spotting
During menopause, you say farewell to your period of fertility. Your store of egg cells gets depleted and your body produces less and less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This has consequences for your menstrual cycle.
Your menstrual cycle will become irregular and unpredictable in perimenopause. At the start of menopause, menstrual cycles can follow each other in quick succession. Later, the time period between your menstrual cycles may increase. Your menstruation may even stop for a period of longer than six months. The quantity of blood loss can also change each time and be less or more than you are used to.
If your menstrual cycle is clearly changing and you are experiencing hot flushes and night sweats, then you know that you are in the perimenopausal phase. Your ovaries start producing less estrogen. Ultimately, the production of hormones will stop altogether and you will no longer get your period. On average, women have their last menstruation around their 51st birthday.
During perimenopause, you may experience light blood loss between your periods or you may have a brownish discharge. This is called ‘spotting’. This is normal and usually nothing to worry about. Spotting or abnormal bleeding can also occur after menopause. It is not normal to bleed or spot 12 months or more after your last period. Postmenopausal bleeding is rarely a cause for concern. It is usually a sign of a minor health problem but occasionally it is an early indicator of more serious disease. It needs to be checked out by your physician, who will be able to investigate the problem and advise you.
Tips to help you with irregular menstruation
- Eat food containing iron to help maintain haemoglobin for healthy red blood cells: meat,eggs, red kidney beans, broccoli, lentils, cauliflower, beets, Chinese cabbage, sesame seeds, cashew nuts and dark chocolate, whole-grain products, dried fruits and green, leafy vegetables are good sources.
- Drink plenty of water. Water is essential for good health. Drink 1.5-2 liters of water throughout the day.
- If you are postmenopausal or concerned about spotting, seek your physician’s advice.
Want more tips for how to cope with other symptoms? Get expert advice for the most prevalent menopausal complaints.