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Women Should Still Expect Heavy Blood Flow During Menopause

Most women assume that there are two times in their lives after puberty hits when dealing with menstrual cramping and bleeding will finally be a nonissue. One of these situations is pregnancy, during which the body stops ovulating, and no longer sheds the inner lining of the uterus. The other is menopause, during which the ovaries cease to function and eggs are no longer created to be released. Unfortunately, when it comes to the female body, there’s almost never a one hundred percent guarantee that bleeding will stop, even during pregnancy, which can be disconcerting but isn’t uncommon for some women, while recent studies have also shown that menopause bleeding is also quite normal.

News From The University of Michigan

A long term study called Menstruation and Menopausal Transition, conducted by the University of Michigan focused on the bleeding habits of women going through menopause. The women within the study spanned a wide range of races and religions, and focused primarily on what can be expected within the first 2-10 years following onset of menopause. Sioban Harlow, the professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan is quoted by is saying: “With the onset of the menopausal transition in their 40s, women's menstrual periods can change dramatically. These dramatic changes can be disconcerting and often provoke questions about whether something is wrong.”

The study was published in An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and explained that during these bleeding episodes women could have symptoms lasting up to ten days, six of which might only involve light spotting, while three or more may include heavy bleeding. There were 1300 subjects participating between 42 and 52 years of age, and of those 1300, more than 91% confirmed up to 3 instances within a 3 year period where 10 or more days of bleeding took place. This data was collected between 1996 and 2006, and while in the past studies of this nature have been performed using American Caucasian women, this study used statistics gathered from women identifying as Japanese, Chinese, African American, and Caucasian who hailed from Michigan, Los Angeles, as well as Northern California.

What This Means For Women During Menopause

These findings mean ultimately bittersweet news for women who are experiencing abnormal bleeding during menopause, as it explains away any fears that they might have about the symptoms, but it also extends a natural and rather unpleasant experience during a transition which can already be quite difficult at the best of times. The results of this study and others like it conclude that physicians need not panic when a patient comes in to express worry over a uterine bleeding episode, and it can help give patients some peace of mind knowing that many women are experiencing this exact same issue. NEJM Journal Watch concludes: “Persistent bleeding abnormalities continue to demand diagnostic evaluation, especially because incidence of endometrial hyperplasia peaks during the perimenopausal years. These data suggest, however, that an endometrial biopsy may not be necessary for a single episode of abnormal bleeding during this time.’

As mentioned above, the findings don’t necessarily mean that every case should be treated equally, and for this reason doctors should be wary of excessive continuous bleeding for longer than a 10 day stretch, or if other symptoms are involved. There is a higher risk for certain types of cancers and other health issues as women age, and some of these problems present themselves with bleeding as a symptom.

Other Common Symptoms

The average age for menopause to begin in a woman’s life is 52, but women can find themselves entering this stage anytime between their 30’s and 60’s as their ovaries stop producing eggs, and cease to work. This is usually followed by a 12 month period during which menstruation stops, but as has been discussed throughout this article, just because menstruation has ended does not mean that there will be no bleeding. Dr. Robert Preidt of Web MD says: “When a woman's ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, she enters menopause. This life stage can last anywhere from two to 10 years, the researchers said. Menopause usually occurs after age 45.”

One of the most common symptoms of menopause is hot flashes, which can occur during any time of day and any season. This usually brings on extreme feelings of heat, and can actually cause women to begin sweating profusely, which can lead to other issues such as an inability to sleep or focus. Similar to menstruation, menopause can cause extreme irritability and mood changes, which can create emotional disruptions that lead from one extreme emotion to another in a short span of time. Vaginal lubrication may also decrease during menopause, which can cause problems during sexual intercourse; the urge to partake in sexual activities may also be much lower than in previous years of your life.

Some of the reasons for these changes are hormonal, in many cases the lack of estrogen and progesterone can lead to an increase in testosterone, which can have other side effects such as hair growth in strange areas, among other things. Fortunately, there are treatments available to treat current symptoms, and prevent or slow others. Each treatment is based on a woman’s specific lifestyle and symptoms, and can include everything from hair loss prevention to mood stabilizers and hormone replacement therapy. Many women also claim that eating a clean diet and exercising regularly can help decrease many of the negative symptoms that come during this stage of their life.

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