Ah, the joys of being a woman – you wouldn’t change it for quids but, sometimes, you gotta wonder, is this normal?
For all its amazing complexity, the female body sure has a few interesting, uh, quirks. Just when you think you know your body inside out, something happens to throw you for a loop. This can be especially true in your forties and fifties when the hormonal three-ring circus of menopause comes knocking.
On average, women reach menopause around age 51, but subtle changes can begin to occur years earlier. This is the time known as perimenopause. During this lead up to “the change”, you may begin to notice symptoms such as mood swings, decreased libido and abnormal uterine bleeding. Take heart though; there are lots you can do to ease or avoid the worst of it.
Abnormal uterine bleeding
Unfortunately, periods often get heavier, clottier and crampier as you get older. Gynaecologist Dr Rachel Green puts this down to two disease pathologies that are more common in older women: adenomyosis and fibroids. “Adenomyosis is where the lining grows into the muscle of the womb and tends to cause an enlargement of the uterus and is associated with heavier and crampier periods,” says Rachel. Fibroids are benign tumours growing in the uterine wall. “As women approach perimenopause,” says Rachel, “they may find that their periods become a little more irregular as well”.
Hormonal and non-hormonal treatments for abnormal uterine bleeding are available and should be considered if your period suddenly starts to impact your lifestyle or becomes painful and unmanageable. For more information on abnormal uterine bleeding and the treatment options, Wear White Again has everything you need!
Mood swings & irritability
Estrogen levels can become unpredictable in your forties and fifties, before falling to an all-time low during menopause. This rollercoaster of hormonal change during perimenopause can be attributed to mood swings and irritability as well as other physical symptoms. While you should expect some mood changes during this time, it is important to identify what is a side effect of “the change” and what is not. Your GP can help you to ascertain whether what you are experiencing is “normal” or whether further professional guidance is needed.
Hormonal flux, stress, lack of sleep, low self-esteem and certain medications, including many antidepressants and the contraceptive pill, can all impact your sex drive. Have your GP run a hormone level check to see if you’re low on testosterone. Make sure to mention your current meds as they could have a possible role in diminished libido. Also, address any lifestyle issues that might be making you feel less than sexy.
If you are in your forties or fifties and experiencing health changes always consult with a healthcare professional! It can be uncomfortable discussing intimate health concerns, but it’s vital to do so to nip potential problems in the bud. Don’t put off seeing your GP or gynaecologist if you’re worried. Remember, they’re unshockable professionals who’ve seen and heard it all!