If you are in your 40s, you might start to see changes in your menstrual cycle. Changes during this time in your life are normal, but they can make some women worry. If you are worried because of the changes you are experiencing, you should see a gynecologist. Here are three things you should know about your menstrual cycle at this age in your life.
Periods tend to lighten over time
When girls first get their periods, they tend to be heavy and last for many days. As you get older, your body changes and begins to produce less estrogen. Because of this, a woman's periods tend to get shorter in length and more regular over time. By the time you reach your 40s, your periods might become more irregular. This is normal, and it might be a sign that you are in perimenopause.
Perimenopause occurs in this decade
Perimenopause is a term that refers to the time period before you actually reach menopause. This tends to happen to women in their 40s; however, it can begin before this. In most cases, this period of time occurs for around four years, and women can experience a number of different symptoms from this, including:
- Hot flashes
- Drop in sex drive
- Pain during sex
Having irregular periods is another common symptom of perimenopause. If you are experiencing changes in your periods or are starting to notice irregularities with them, you should see a gynecologist, such as South Ave Women's Services.
Your gynecologist can run tests to determine if you are in the first stages of menopause.
Perimenopause is hard to diagnose
While your doctor might be able to assume you are going through perimenopause, it is quite hard for doctors to be completely sure. Your gynecologist is likely to use several tests to determine if you are actually going through perimenopause, and these include:
- Questions – The first thing the doctor will do is ask questions. He or she will want to know more about the changes you are experiencing with your periods and the symptoms you are noticing.
- Hormone tests – Hormone tests are often used to test your hormone levels, but your hormone levels might be changing daily, which makes it hard to determine if you are actually in perimenopause.
Your gynecologist may recommend running blood work several times to compare the levels at different times. This will help him or her find out what is causing your irregular periods. If you would like to learn more about this subject, make an appointment with a gynecologist today.