Irregular Periods

In No Mood for a Period during Vacation

Dear Crabby,

My husband and I are going on a cruise in about 3 weeks. I thought I would have my next period by now but haven’t. Actually I had one in June on the regular date and skipped July and had another in August but about 2 weeks before the normal date.

This all does not bother me because I do know these are all symptoms of menopause starting. But my question is, about anything I can do to control my period not starting on the trip.

I can’t get into my regular doc before we go.


In No Mood for a Period during Vacation


Dear In No Mood for a Period,

The most common symptom women notice during perimenopause is both menstrual flow and frequency changes. Per the North American Menopause Society, approximately 90% of women experience 4 to 8 years of menstrual changes before natural menopause. Some women experience lighter bleeding while others have heavier bleeding. The cycle length may also change, or you may completely skip a period. Every woman will experience a pattern that is irregular for her. We are all different.

Changes in your menstrual patterns and flow are considered normal during perimenopause, and are attributed to decreased frequency of ovulation and changing levels of ovarian secreted hormones.

Whether a woman is menopausal or not, wishing to manipulate your period start date, so it does not occur on a special occasion, is an age-old desire!

Many women who have irregular periods find success using a low-dose combination estrogen-progestin oral contraceptive. Clinical trails have demonstrated that oral contraceptives have normalized irregular bleeding and decreased menstrual flow.

Seasonale and Seasonique are oral contraceptive products that are formulated so you get your period about once every three months. Lybrel is another low-dose extended-use combined oral contraceptive that is formulated to be taken for one year with no breaks, no periods. These products also provide birth control, something perimenopausal women must consider until they have reached menopause (12 months without a period). Oral contraceptives may also provide relief for hot flashes, night sweats and menopausal crankiness.

Discuss these options and your risk factors (are you a smoker, high blood pressure, personal history of stroke, heart attack, blood clot or liver disease, breast or uterus cancer, or history of thrombosis) with your doctor.

You mentioned that you cannot get in to see your doctor, try a phone call – a brief conversation may answer your questions and/or requests.

If you are not a good candidate for oral contraceptives or prefer not to take them, consider embracing Mother Nature.

Have a wonderful cruise!

Dear Crabby

Write to Dear Crabby and get advice about your menopausal symptoms.
If you have:
• Hot flashes
• Itchy skin
• Breast tenderness
• Mood swings
• Memory lapses
• Fuzzy thinking
• Night sweats
• Sleep problems
• Loss of libido
• Dry vagina
• Irregular periods
• Headaches

Dear Crabby has tips to make your life easier.
She wants to hear from YOU.
Send your questions to:

The North American Menopause Society, “Menopause Practice a Clinician’s Guide”
Mayo Clinic

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