How Your Period Changes Over Your Lifetime
Due to the fact that your period is regulated by your hormones, your age can impact what a “normal” periods’ length, heaviness, or regularity looks like. These factors rely heavily on lifestyle aspects such as, stress levels, health conditions, pregnancy, body weight, etc. That’s why defining what is considered “irregular” or “abnormal” can be difficult when you don’t know what to compare it to. In addition, if you’ve had “abnormal” periods all your life, you may even get use to these constant fluctuations.
Learning about what your average cycle looks like will help you identify the variations in menstruation cycles. Your periods can change due to a variety of reasons such as:
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding
- Changing or stopping hormonal birth control
- Sleep changes and shift work
- Eating disorders or extreme weight loss
- Substance use
- Pre-menopause or menopause
Variations in your periods are usually normal and healthy but, in some cases, they could be an indicator of something more serious that may require the attention of a medical professional. If you want to learn more about your period, take our quiz to find out.
Your Period Through the Decades
Even though your period may not be your favorite time of the month, we’ve put together an easy guide in understanding what to expect from aunt flo over your lifetime.
12-19 Years Old
The average for girls to start menstruating is 12 years old, and it’s quite normal for the periods to be irregular. It may take up to three years for the periods to become regular as hormones balance out. In addition, period pain such as abdominal cramps or lower back aching maybe be the most severe during this time of your life.
20-29 Years Old
Young women often do not ovulate regularly, causing their periods to become erratic. As a women’s body begins to age, their cycle will slowly even out and the flow will likely become consistent. Some women may experience missed periods due to pregnancy, extreme stress, birth control, consistent over-exercise, or an eating disorder. It’s important to track your period during this time in case there is an underlying reason why your periods are irregular or severe. If your period is impeding on your daily life, it’s important to contact your doctor immediately.
30-39 Years Old
By the time a woman is in her 30s, the menstruation cycle should be more predictable and consistent. However, if one experiences unusual cramps or intense pain, it could be a sign of a more serious issue. If you have delivered a baby naturally, your cramps may get better as the cervical opening becomes bigger from birth. Unfortunately, some women experience heavier, longer or more painful periods after giving birth. For women that are breastfeeding, their periods will not return until nursing is stopped or reduced significantly. It’s important to listen to your body in your 30s because conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids are most prominent during this stage of life.
40-49 Years Old
This decade of life for women marks the beginning of pre-menopausal hormonal fluctuations which are the precursors to menopause. You may have missed periods due to fluctuations in estrogen levels and there could be spotting between the periods. Other symptoms of pre-menopause include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, fatigue and change in sexual desire. Menstrual irregularities are normal for the women undergoing pre-menopause. Some women may experience heavy bleeding during menopause to the extent that they become anemic due to heavy blood loss. If that happens with you, you may feel faint while sitting or standing. Try drinking salty liquids such as tomato soup to aid lightheadedness.
50-59 Years Old
This is the decade when most women experience menopause or the end of menstruation. Your periods may become irregular, heavier, lighter, or last longer or shorter than before. As you age it is more difficult to predict when your next period will occur, what the duration of your period will be, or the type of flow. A woman is considered to have undergone menopause when she doesn’t have any period for 12 consecutive months. Menopause that occurs in the late 40s is considered early-onset, whereas if it occurs in the late 50s it is late-onset. Thyroid disorders can also cause an early or late menopause.
60 Years Old +, Post-Menopausal Period
The period of life after menopause is known as post-menopause. Levels of estrogen are decreased and you may experience postmenopausal symptoms such as osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones) or heart diseases. It’s important to schedule regular checkups, in order to prevent these issues from becoming more serious.
Periods Provide Insight About Your Health
No matter which age bracket you fall in, your periods offers valuable insight about your health. Unusual symptoms could be due to thyroid, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, adenomyosis, or another issue. If you think you are suffering from uterine fibroids, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of our fibroid specialists today. They can answer your questions about irregular or abnormal periods, provide an accurate diagnosis, and create a treatment plan that fits your individual needs. Call us at 855.615.2555 or click the button below to schedule your appointment online.