Most women might have had regular menstrual cycles for a long time since Menarche. A normal and healthy menstrual cycle does not exceed 38 days. And, when you hit your 40’s you may miss a cycle or two, which might come as a surprise, but you may suddenly get your periods two months later when you are off-guard and taking a stroll in the mall on a fine Sunday. Would that be unexpected now?
When you enter your 40’s, your body gears up for changes and transitions in life. If you have not experienced it yet, you might want to brace yourselves for the perimenopausal indicators that may be just around the mid-life corner.
That’s right. Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, PCOS, Thyroid, Cancer, Fibroids, Weight issues, Stress are among the many reasons that might cause irregular menses. But irregular periods in your 40’s are popularly considered as a sign that marks the natural onset of perimenopause and is caused by fluctuating hormone levels. And it may not require much of a treatment, but a holistic and natural approach to treat the disparities may be recommended.
What do the hormones have to do with it?
Estrogen promotes the growth of the ovaries and progesterone standardizes the growth. Both these hormones that play a vital role in a woman’s reproductive cycle and balance the menstrual cycle happens due to ovulation. When women move towards ageing naturally, ovulation slows down causing a hormonal imbalance and changes in a woman’s physiology.
What starts as a fluctuation and drop in the levels of Estrogen and Progesterone at the start of perimenopause may gradually lead to a major depletion in the production of those hormones at menopause and completely cease post-menopause. This may cause a noticeable variation in the duration and intensity of the menstrual cycles.
What happens when periods become irregular in your 40’s?
If one month’s period cycle was a long one with excessive bleeding the next one may be a short one with minimal bleeding or you may even end up skipping that cycle or two. The bleeding depends on the hormone levels that go up and down sporadically. They may not get back into the regular pattern that you may be used to during the menarche. After one year of no periods, it may be safe to say that you are in menopause. Until then, the irregular periods may do quite a number on your physical and mental health, and may seem upsetting when it is followed by other symptoms like hot flashes, lower back cramps, etc.
Spotting is also common between period cycles and not being able to control the unpredictability of the period timings and occurrences may be wearisome. But there are things one can do to be sort of prepared for irregular periods during your 40’s like:
- Period calendar for the smart generation: Get a menstrual calendar application on your smart device to track your menstrual cycles.
- Calendar Get a little black book to note your flow: Make notes of the bleeding patterns of your period cycle including the number of days, colour, frequency, changes in the amount of blood, etc. for better understanding.
- Lingerie revisited: Wearing black panties or keeping a period panty handy always may help you to handle a stained clothing situation, especially for working women who tend to be out and about.
- What goes into a woman’s purse stays there: Carrying panty liners, tampon, sanitary napkins or whatever is necessary for your handbag helps you be ready when there is unexpected bleeding.
Exercise and nutrition are vital during irregular menstrual cycles.
Yoga and breathing exercise are highly recommended for women having irregular periods in their 40’s. It may be essential as it might ease the sudden cramps, heavy bleeding and other symptoms that may have been caused by our stressful lives. Balancing your nutrition intake by taking supplements is as important as exercising and staying fit through the rough times. They prevent excessive loss of vital nutrients during irregular menstrual cycles. Low doses of nutritional supplements may be suggested by your local practitioners as well.
The supplements you may require are:
Multivitamin and Mineral: Good quality and small amounts of minerals may be needed to balance the nutritional intake and ease through the irregular period cycle.
B Vitamins: They help in coping with the stress and pressures in life that may cause irregular periods. They are also necessary for thyroid hormone production and are essential for optimum adrenal function.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants present in the vitamins A, C, E are vital for conditions like endometrial hyperplasia where the womb lining continues to thicken.
Magnesium: To take away the stress from your life that may bear adverse effects during irregular period cycles.
Natural plant-based supplements like Femarelle Rejuvenate capsules may be advised to relieve the cramps, supply the essential B vitamins, prevent bone loss by providing good amounts of calcium and may help with the energy levels with protein and so on.
Mere spotting, heavy bleeding for more than 5 days or even skipping a cycle or two is common during these times. Consulting your medical practitioner for a check-up may be advised if it gets complicated.
It is a good idea to go and see the doctor if:
- You skip periods for more than three cycles at a time.
- You bleed for more than 7 days at a time.
- You bleed excessively between periods.
- You have bleeding after 1 year of not getting periods.
Irregular periods in your 40’s is natural if it’s due to perimenopause and may need no treatment at large. However, as you progress into the phase, it may lead to a lot of an imbalance in the nutrition levels of women’s bodies, which may require some treatment to avoid deadly conditions like cardiovascular issues, osteoporosis, cancer, and more post menopause and in your older years of life after 60.