Perimenopause signifies the transition to menopause and the conclusion of a woman's reproductive years. One of the earliest signs of this phase is irregular menstruation, often beginning as early as the mid-30s.
This article aims to shed light on this significant symptom, which can impact women's professional lives and personal well-being during their middle years.
Background on Hormonal Changes
Estrogen is crucial in regulating the uterine lining. During perimenopause, fluctuating estrogen levels lead to irregular shedding of this lining, causing significant changes in menstrual cycles.
The ovaries' erratic functioning during this time results in irregular periods, varying in length and intensity. Some months may bring heavier flows, while others are marked by lighter bleeding.
Rekha's Personal Experiences with Peri-Menopause
Rekha, a 50-year-old Singaporean, shares her personal experience with untimely menstrual flow.
"I used to have a regular week-long menstrual cycle. However, five years ago, my periods became extremely erratic. I would menstruate for one week, have a one-week gap, and then experience another week-long period.
This cycle continued for three months until I sought medical help from my GP, who prescribed birth control pills to regulate my menstruation. This phase repeated four times over three years, and it was both bewildering and frightening. At the time, I had no knowledge of perimenopause."
Specialized tests like the FSH follicle test and ovarian test can provide clarity during these challenging times, offering confirmation regarding the body's responses.
During perimenopause, estrogen levels become imbalanced, leading to irregular rises and falls. Consequently, the uterine lining discharges unevenly at different times.
Ovulation becomes less frequent, but the body compensates by releasing higher levels of FSH in an attempt to maintain normal ovulation. This increase in estrogen results in a thickened uterine lining, causing heavier and more prolonged periods.
Perimenopausal discharge often comprises clumpy red blood, black blood, clots, mucus, and brown blood. This outpouring gradually transitions to lighter spotting with a brownish hue. Normal period products may prove insufficient during this phase, necessitating the use of extra-absorbent maxi towels.
Rekha further recounts her experiences:
"I was losing a significant amount of blood, growing extremely weak, and depleting my finances. Sometimes, the only item in my shopping cart was sanitary pads to stock up for the coming weeks.
I would soil two sanitary pads within half an hour and finish an entire packet in a day. It was an incredibly challenging time, and my husband even had to purchase sanitary pads on my behalf because I felt too weak and uncomfortable to go to the store."
Irregular menstruation is an unfortunate and challenging period in life when women must set aside other concerns to confront the challenges posed by their own biological clock.
Menstruation exposes the difficulties faced by disadvantaged women and lower income groups who may struggle to cope with a sudden increase in expenses for essentials, highlighting the issue of gender inequality.
This phase is also physically draining and significantly increases stress due to the constant worry about staining clothes, bedding, and furnishings. Rekha shared how she would wake up several times during the night to check for excess blood flow, despite using the longest 42-inch night pad available in Singapore.
However, this affected her sleep and heightened stress. According to industry experts, tight underwear can help secure sanitary napkins in place without causing shifting or leaks.
Rekha received advice from friends suggesting that she was nearing the end of her menstrual journey, with months of no activity eventually leading to the cessation of periods. However, this proved to be inaccurate in her case, as she continues to menstruate regularly in monthly cycles. It's important to recognize that every woman's menopause journey is UNIQUE.
Spotting and Perimenopause
As perimenopause advances, the phase of heavy flow gives way to spotting. Various products, including menstrual cups, panty liners, and period panties, cater to the diverse needs of women during this time.
Homegrown brand such as Blood offer a range of panty liners in various thicknesses, sizes, and lengths, catering to the diverse needs of women undergoing this phase.
Another noteworthy product is reusable 'period panties.' These highly absorbent, leakproof, and sustainable panties are specially designed to replace tampons and pads on lighter flow days. In addition to well-known brands like Kotex and Whisper, lesser companies that provide sustainable options HERE!
Excessive menstruation can lead to various symptoms, including dizziness, irritability, hot flashes, memory loss, and brain fog.
Medical consultations become imperative when menstruation disrupts daily life. Over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol can help alleviate the discomfort of painful cramps.
Staying hydrated is crucial, and electrolyte solutions and drinks like Gatorade can help maintain electrolyte balance. Iron and vitamin C supplements are also beneficial in managing menopausal symptoms. Women aged 50 and above often opt for iron and magnesium supplements to relieve painful menstrual cramps.
Perimenopause marks a significant and often challenging phase in a woman's life, introducing symptoms such as irregular menstruation that can be unpredictable and sometimes excessive. However, it's important to remember that this natural transition does not signify the end of womanhood.
During this time, support and guidance are crucial. Surety can play a pivotal role in providing this support. As a company that values the well-being of every ladies, Surety offers resources and assistance to women navigating perimenopause.
Whether it's through access to medical professionals, or providing educational resources about perimenopause, Surety is committed to helping women manage this transition with ease and dignity.
By fostering an environment of understanding and support, Surety ensures that its community ladies feel valued and cared for during every stage of their lives!
Resources https://shop.bodyform.co.uk/blogs/how-it-works/using-period-pants-for-postpartum-and-perimenopause https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666#:~:text=Irregular%20periods%20are%20a%20hallmark,for%20two%20or%20more%20hours Important Notes:
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations. We are not sponsored for any product and service recommendations, and all product suggestions are based on general availability and suitability for the Singapore context.