As you transition through menopause, your body undergoes many transformative changes – including changes to your period.
Your menstrual cycle can become unpredictable as you approach menopause and you may experience abnormally light or heavy periods. Your cycle can also become irregular – ranging from every two to three weeks, to not occurring for months.
If you’re jetting off on holiday, you may be feeling a little worried about dealing with erratic periods, but, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your summer break.
To help you prepare, let’s take a deeper look at menopause and periods, and how your cycle changes.
1. What happens to your periods as you approach menopause?
Changes to your period are orchestrated by differences in your hormones, primarily your levels of oestrogen and progesterone.
During perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause), hormonal fluctuations can cause irregular periods – you may start to experience changes in the flow, duration and length of your cycle. According to the NHS, your periods will usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop altogether.
It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and for some women, they might be more irregular and become heavier or lighter. For some, they can stop suddenly.
2. How long does the perimenopause last?
Symptoms of perimenopause can last around four years before your period comes to an end – and unfortunately, they likely won’t stop overnight.
The NHS also advises that most women will continue to have menopause symptoms for around four years after their period stops. So, it’s not unusual to have menopause symptoms for eight to ten years.
3. Coping with cycle changes during menopause
There are a few ways to make changes in your menstrual cycle a smoother shift, check out these top tips for navigating sudden variations in your cycle during menopause:
- Track your cycle: Using apps or a calendar to monitor your periods. This can help you to anticipate when you might experience menstrual symptoms and plan accordingly – especially helpful if you’re planning a trip.
- Stay healthy: Maintaining a healthy diet can help to manage hormones and even reduce symptoms like bloating and mood swings – Check out nutritionist Charlotte Hunter’s diet tips. When it comes to exercise, consider swapping high-intensity workouts with more resistance training.
- Dealing with emotional changes: Emotional changes are one of the most common – but least talked about – parts of the menopause. Share your experiences with friends, family, or even your community. Hearing from others who are going through similar changes can provide comfort and relief. The Issviva Facebook community is a great place to start.
- Talk to your Doctor: If your periods are becoming unusually heavy or painful, make sure to check in with your doctor – as there are many other things that can affect your menstrual cycle.
4. Travelling with menopause cycle changes
Dealing with perimenopause symptoms alongside unpredictable periods can be stressful at any time, even more so if you’re planning a trip away.
Even if you haven’t had your period for a few months, it’s good to be prepared just in case it starts unexpectedly. If you’re planning a trip, remember to pack some extra tampons or pads (and even some painkillers, as you may be thankful for any extras if the time comes).
If you’re feeling anxious about any accidental leaks whilst you’re out and about on holiday, Modibodi has a stylish range of leak-proof underwear and swimwear that can help put your mind at ease when travelling. Plus, they’re reusable so will last you your entire trip.
Remind yourselves of the positives to taking a holiday too! Taking a break can work wonders for your wellbeing, whether you’re lazing on the beach, taking long walks or spending some quality time with loved ones, its important to take the time to switch off and relax.
5. Embracing the change in your menstrual cycle
It’s easy to understand why most women don’t look forward to menopause. From unwelcoming symptoms and low self-esteem, we often only hear about the negatives of mental and physical changes during menopause.
However, hormonal fluctuations can be a positive for some and no more periods can be a welcome relief, especially after experiencing symptoms of perimenopause.
With PMS symptoms eventually coming to an end, and therefore no need to worry about tampons, leaking and cramps, this phase of your life can be something to look forward to.