Heavy, Flooding Periods in Perimenopause
When you blog about perimenopause and menopause, sooner or later it’s going to get personal. I mean, when you’re discussing your menstrual cycles with total strangers for crying out loud, that’s pretty personal. But it’s also helpful. We are by nature social creatures, always on the lookout for someone to bond with and validate our humanity.
When it comes to the craziness of perimenopause, this is especially true. Women need someone to step up and wave the flag of common experience when it comes to hormone imbalance. Otherwise we get these absurd ideas that we are the only one who might be having a hard time with perimenopause, when that is just not the case. So why don’t we cut to the chase then, and talk (out loud) about those heavy, flooding periods in perimenopause – and the blood clots too?
For me, the heavy, flooding periods were the last symptom of perimenopause I experienced before I finally reached actual menopause. I had stopped having hot flashes, night sweats, and the other typical symptoms associated with perimenopause. In fact, outside of the heavy cycles, I had actually begun to “feel normal” again. But, those periods just kept hanging on. Month after month they came with a vengeance.
The flow was so heavy that I would wear three over-night pads during the daytime, and would have to change them every couple of hours. At night I would sleep with two thick towels under my body to protect my bed sheets and mattress from the inevitable leakage that would occur.
This would go on for days. I was miserable, not to mention drained and anemic from the blood loss. There were months when I could not leave my house for fear I wouldn’t be able to find a bathroom in the event I had an “over-flow.” The blood clots were so large, I felt like I was expelling a softball when they passed from my body. Are we getting personal enough yet?
Heavy, Flooding Periods and Estrogen Dominance
A lot of women do not know (and you can count me among them at one time) that it is estrogen which builds up the endometrial lining in the uterus in preparation for pregnancy. If fertilization occurs, rising progesterone levels will maintain the pregnancy.
If fertilization does not occur, then progesterone levels will drop, signaling to the body to shed the endometrial lining, and viola’ you have a monthly period. That is the cliff-notes version of your menstrual cycle.
During perimenopause when estrogen and progesterone are fluctuating wildly, but you are still getting a monthly period, progesterone levels drop much lower than they would during a normal fertility cycle. Unfortunately, this allows for estrogen levels to remain considerably higher as well, which in turn, leads to a heavy build up of the endometrial lining, and also accounts for why the subsequent periods are unusually heavy, and often contain large blood clots.
Bioidentical Progesterone Helps with Heavy, Flooding Periods
Within the first month of using it, I noticed an immediate change in my periods. They became drastically lighter and no longer contained blood clots. Within three months of using it, I had my last menstrual cycle and transitioned smoothly into menopause.
If you are in perimenopause and are experiencing heavy, flooding periods, with blood clots, estrogen dominance could be the problem. However, it is very important that you seek the care of a physician to rule out any other potential causes such as uterine fibroid tumors or endometriosis, both of which can also cause heavy bleeding.
If you choose to use bioidentical progesterone to treat estrogen dominance, it is also very important that you use a high quality product, preferably one that is compounded specifically for you.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women’s health and a women’s freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.