Throughout reproductive years, a woman’s body increases and decreases production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in a regular pattern, causing monthly menstrual cycles. The regular pattern of hormone production is what gives your monthly bleeding its predictable quality.
During perimenopause – the period preceding menopause – your body begins to slow its production of these hormones, and the pattern becomes irregular. As a result, you can experience some irregular periods and bleeding. Some months, your period may seem lighter, heavier, shorter, or longer. Your period may come sooner or later than expected, or you may skip a period altogether.
Irregular bleeding during this time is normal and is no cause for alarm. However, you should always let your gynecologist know when you start to experience changes in your bleeding. Abnormal bleeding can also be a symptom of several other gynecological conditions.
When Should I See a Doctor about Irregular Periods and Bleeding?
You will want to make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience:
- Very heavy bleeding
- Severe cramping with bleeding
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days or occurs more frequently than every 3 weeks
Causes of Abnormal Bleeding During Perimenopause and Menopause Include:
Uterine or cervical polyps
These are benign (noncancerous) growths that are attached to the endometrial or cervical tissue.
This condition leads to thickening in the endometrial lining. In some cases, this condition can lead to pre-cancerous growth. With early diagnosis and treatment, endometrial cancer can usually be prevented.
A type of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus.