You're writing in the menopause community so I suspect you're wondering whether you're in menopause or not. Strictly speaking, menopause is defined as the absence of periods for at least 12 months. All the time before, where your hormone system goes haywire and your periods become irregular and then infrequent is known as the peri-menopause ("around menopause"). We associate vasomotor instability, eg hot flashes and/or night sweats with menopause, along with mood changes, weight change, cognitive issues, etc. This is the time when you lose bone the quickest so it's important to take enough calcium & vitamin D and to measure & monitor your bone strength (density).
Up until about 9 years ago, we prescribed hormone (replacement) therapy or H(R)T to every woman going thru this phase of life. With the publication of the Womens' Health Initiative or WHI, there was a tremendous backlash as the study demonstrated harm rather than benefit from giving conjugated equine estradiol & medroxyprogesterone acetate to post-menopausal women in their 60s (average 10 years after their last period) who'd had nothing in between and were not suffering from menopausal symptoms.
Since then, we've moved more towards the middle swing phase of the pendulum. We now prescribe the lowest dose for the shortest period of time for women whose vasomotor instability is intolerable. That's the official stance from the traditional guys. However, there's a vocal minority that have pointed out some issues with WHI and the medication used. They claim that bio-identical hormone therapy is safe and should be used regardless. There's some intriguing literature on this which is beyond the scope of this post but something you might want to research.
I wasn't too sure what your question was so I just rambled off on my own but I hope this helps. Good luck!
If you are not having symptoms other than irregular periods, there is likely no need for any intervention. Hopefully, you will be one of the women who sails through menopause. If you really feel that you need to know if this is perimenopause (the beginning of the menopause change), you can have your hormones tested. Given your age, it is certainly likely that this is the start of the Big M. If you continue to have extra periods or experience heavy bleeding, you may want to be checked by your MD with ultrasound or endometrial biopsy to rule out other causes. Heavy bleeding and extra periods during menopause may simply be a normal variant and do not require hormone therapy, D&C, or hysterectomy. Let me know if you need more info or search "heavy bleeding" on to learn more.
Good luck - keep us posted.
Lynette Sheppard RN Health Maven Menopause Community
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