Will I have a Menstrual Cycle During Menopause?
Menopause is defined as women going 12 months without having a period. However, during the months and years leading up to this final time women will have a menstrual cycle although it may be irregular. It is even possible to stop menstruating for several months and then have it start back for several months. Menopause ranges from the late 30s to early 50s and is different for every woman. Generally, if your mother went through menopause early you may as well. The same goes for women who go through menopause late. The time before menopause, known as the perimenopausal time, may actually be more symptomatic than actual menopause. It truly is different for every woman and there is no way to know exactly how your menopause will play out until you go through it.
The endocrine system governs a woman’s menstrual cycle. Various hormones are released during the month to cause a woman to ovulate and then menstruate. During the perimenopausal years women may begin to notice some changes. For example, women have a certain number of eggs and as they begin to run out the body will start producing more FSH and LH to mature the eggs that are left. During this time the levels of estrogen may vary significantly and the level of FSH may affect whether a woman is entering menopause or not.
During perimenopause ovulation will occur occasionally but not monthly. When ovulation does not occur then estrogen will continue to be produced. Then, the lining in the uterus will build up and cause a heavy cycle. Cycles may be intermittent and extremely heavy at times. Other cycles may be very light and almost nonexistent. As menopause progresses menses will cease altogether.
The process of perimenopause may take several years and during this time women will experience cycles that are unpredictable. Women should prepare themselves for cycles that are quite light and quite heavy and even months without a cycle at all. When 12 months have passed with no cycle women can safely assume they have entered menopause.