Joining the dots …

Written by Fiona Catchpowle

Creator & Founder of The Menopause School. Passionate about educating the world on menstruation to menopause.

March 29, 2022

… from periods to perimenopause

Menstrual cycle hormone levels change every single day to form a repeat pattern. The hormones created by the ovaries & brain as part of the menstrual cycle are circulated throughout the entire body and do not circulate between the ovaries and uterus only.

  • A menstrual cycle may not be the same length every cycle.
  • Cycle length ranges from 21 to 35 days. Some people will have a longer or shorter cycle. This is also ‘typical’ for them.
  • 28 days represents a mean average and each menstruator is advised to record their pattern as a reference point for their cycle
  • Menstruation would typically consist of 2–3 days of heavy blood flow followed by another 2–4 days of lighter flow.
  • If the menstrual cycle is different to the typical one described, it does not mean that it is abnormal or not natural. Cycles are relative to the individual and therefore tracking is essential for purposes way beyond fertility awareness.

“Menstruation is the missing menopause memo”.

The 1st half of cycle is the part of the cycle that will most likely vary in length from month to month, and person to person. On average it is 14 days. From point of ovulation (egg release) the 2nd half of cycle) will be approximately 14 days and rarely changes.

Some cycles may result in an egg NOT being released. Each calendar year represents approximately 13 cycles, some of which will be anovulatory, when ovulation does not occur and an egg is not released.The different cycles could be due to a variety of reasons, such as the hormone collective, and the co-factors that influence them e.g. stress, food and drink, lifestyle, sleep, movement. This has an impact on the hormone collective, and disrupts the average balance between progesterone and oestrogen from a total cycle and circulation viewpoint.

During perimenopause periods are often irregular and potentially more likely to be anovulatory, which can trigger a faster decline in progesterone levels than oestrogen levels, and therefore a disrupted ratio between the two.

“Menstrual well-being markers offer a huge insight into overall health as the impact of menstruation goes way beyond the bleed. It would be more than reasonable to consider Menstruation as the 5th Vital sign.”

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