Menopause and perimenopause can bring a lot of changes to your period.

Menopause is something that every woman both fears and dreads a little bit. Stopping your period might sound great after so many decades of dealing with it, but all of the other symptoms of menopause make you pay for it! 


There’s a slight misconception when it comes to menopause. Most people know that it has to do with your period stopping, but you aren’t actually considered in menopause until you’ve gone a full year without having a period. The time before that happens, where you’re experiencing the classic symptoms like hot flashes and trouble sleeping, is actually called perimenopause, the transitional period where your hormones start changing in preparation for your period to stop completely. As you enter this portion of your life, you can experience a lot of changes to your periods themselves, leaving you dealing with a cycle that you might feel you had just figured out! Knowing what to expect can be helpful in dealing with these changes, so here are some of the ways that perimenopause affects your menstrual cycle. 

Changing Cycle

Most women, once their bodies have reached full maturity, enter some state of regularity with their periods, even though “regular” can look incredibly different from person to person. Some people may get their period every twenty-eight days like clockwork, while others get it every three months. What matters is that everyone has the frequency that’s normal for them. 


Perimenopause is likely to come in and completely disrupt that cycle that you’ve gotten used to. You may find that your periods are noticeably longer or shorter than they used to be, or that they’re heavier or lighter than before. (If they become significantly heavier to the point where you’re bleeding through pads and tampons in under a few hours, it’s time to see your doctor. The same goes for if you’re bleeding longer than seven days.) You might have your cycle shift a few days or even weeks earlier or later than normal, and you may even see a change in your menstrual blood– it may be a different color or consistency than before.

Irregular Periods

As if your periods suddenly changing their schedule wasn’t bad enough, sometimes in perimenopause, you can just skip a period or several for no apparent reason. This can be alarming for most adult women, as it’s typically a sign of either pregnancy or a serious health problem, like malnourishment. When menopause is approaching, however, it’s not usually a sign that anything is wrong. Your body is simply changing and experiencing extreme hormonal changes, and it’s no different to young girls missing periods when their cycle is first starting up. 


If you’re sexually active during perimenopause, just remember that ovulation does still occur at this point in your life, and you can still get pregnant! Be sure to use a reliable method of birth control if that’s not what you want right now, and keep an eye on your cycle as usual, skipped periods and all. 


Spotting is a very annoying symptom of perimenopause, but a common one nevertheless. Spotting is light bleeding, usually not enough to require a pad or tampon. It’s common to experience spotting right before or after your period, or right around the middle of your cycle when ovulation occurs. If your spotting is becoming very bothersome, it’s a good idea to start keeping track of it in an app or journal so that you can relay that information to your doctor. They’ll help you determine if it’s normal or not, and if there’s anything you should do about it.

Increased PMS Symptoms

Headaches, cramps, backaches, mood swings, bloating– the list of unpleasant PMS symptoms goes on and on, and unfortunately, some women get far more acquainted with this list during perimenopause than any other time in their lives. The shifting hormone levels of this change can sometimes translate into an increase in the severity of your PMS symptoms, and your period can become more difficult to deal with than ever.


To deal with these symptoms, all the usual suspects are a good place to start– prioritize a regular sleep schedule, healthy eating, and moderate exercise, reduce your stress levels, increase your water intake and lower your caffeine and alcohol intake, and so on. However, if you still find that an encroaching period is taking you out of commission these days, it might be time to speak to a professional about other ways to start feeling better. Going on a birth control pill can sometimes help, and hormone replacement therapy can often be transformative for women approaching menopause. If you’re interested in learning more, let Renewed Vitality bring you into the loop

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