Irregular bleeding between periods and perimenopause is closely related. When a woman starts experiencing irregular bleeding between periods, she may be in her perimenopause phase. This irregular bleeding can occur up to menopause. In some cases, periods may be of a short duration, or last longer than usual. Your menstrual periods can suddenly vary between gradually getting lighter, then heavier, and then lighter again. The time between periods may also fluctuate and you might skip some periods.
During a normal menstrual cycle, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone increase and decrease in a regular pattern. Ovulation occurs in the middle of the cycle, and menstruation occurs about 2 weeks later. During perimenopause, hormone levels may not follow this regular pattern. As a result, you may have irregular bleeding or spotting. Some months, your period may be longer and heavier. Other months, it may be shorter and lighter. The number of days between periods may increase or decrease. You may begin to skip periods.
Although these changes are normal in perimenopause, abnormal bleeding sometimes can signal a problem not related to perimenopause. Contact our South Florida Perimenopausal Bleeding center if you notice any of the following changes in your monthly cycle:
• Very heavy bleeding
• Bleeding that lasts longer than normal
• Bleeding that occurs more often than every 3 weeks
• Bleeding that occurs after sex or between periods
Bleeding After Menopause
Any bleeding after menopause is abnormal and should be reviewed immediately by our South Florida Women’s Wellness Center. There are several reasons you may be bleeding during menopause. Decreased levels of estrogen mean the walls of the vaginal become thinner and generally more prone to bleeding, especially after sexual intercourse. You may also experience bleeding due to a vaginal infection, or growths in the uterus. An exam at our Ft. Lauderdale center can quickly rule out these common causes.
The most serious possible cause of vaginal bleeding after menopause is cancer of the uterus, known as endometrial cancer. There is a fairly high incidence of this cancer in the United States. Women are more at risk when they are undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) that only involves estrogen and not progesterone, as progesterone protects the lining of the uterus.
The sooner endometrial cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of an effective cure. Vaginal bleeding is a very early indicator of this disease, so you should always consult with us if you experience unexplained vaginal bleeding.