Long cycle or missed period...

Posted , 4 users are following.

Is there a difference?

My cycle is very irregular - the longest it has been is 40 days (which was really 2 days of very light bleeding before being heavy for 4 days then light again for 2), but it's been 35 or 36 days several times. The shortest has been 14 days once, but several times it's been 18 or 19 days.

So if I have a long gap, is it because I've missed a period or because my cycle is irregular? And does it matter?

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  • Posted

    I'd like to know the answer to this too!  I am 54, and over 2 years since the last 'proper' period (a very heavy horrible period!) but I, like you, had an irregular cycle for several years and never knew if it was a long cycle or a missed period. 

    Now I'm in the situation that I don't know if I'm really post menopausal or not, I'm still spotting just occasionally like a very light period (not blood, more like pale brownish spotting).

    Currently going through tests to find out what's going on, the whole thing is a pain!

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  • Posted

    There are many solid reasons for this irregular pattern we all experience as we get closer to menopause.  The NORMAL cycle that we all enjoyed (for years of our life) was a low of estrogen and progesterone when we had our period.  Then our FSH from our brains tells our ovaries to produce estrogen by rippening an egg.  This is why we normally feel fat, sluggish and down when we have a period (our horomes are pretty low)  Then things start to up tick, as our eggs come alive and produce more estrogen.  Around day 14 this folicule with the help of another brain chemical LH, errupts from our ovary.  This is then what produces our progesterone.  (the sit of erruption is called the cortus litium).  Our progesterone hits it's high around day 21 and then slowly goes down.  It is the progesterone that takes over in the second half of the cycle.  It fluffs up the lining and allow it to shed (our period) if we don't conceive.  

    So as we get closer to menopause, our eggs have aged and don't function in the patterned manner that we are used to.  It can cause wide swings in our hormones, often high estrogen and lower progesterone.  Eggs are slower to respond to the FSH signal, sometimes they aren't  good enough to produce  normal levels of progesterone.  Often they produce very wild swings in our levels. All of this explains why we have shorter and longer cycles that are unpatterned as menopause approaches.  

    I did use some progesterone suppositories during this time.  It does have a calming effect.  Sometimes I felt that it helped make my cycles a bit better.  Your long cycles are saying that the eggs are sluggish to the FSH, your short cycles are saying that the egg isn't doing it's job of 14 days of progesterone.  

    So does it matter?  Not really.  Your furtile days are just winding down and the follicules you have left are being a little off from center.  As I got closer, I had periods that would be 160 -185 days apart.        

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    • Posted

      Were you having proper periods, albeit so far apart?  Just wondering because I've had several episodes of brown spotting in the last 2 years (since very heavy propeer period October 2014), each lasting from 1-4 days.  I don't know if these could be considered as periods or not, but doc thought it should be investigated.  Endometrium was found to be 6mm so I've now had a biopsy and will have a hysteroscopy next month.  I wasn't actually at all concerned as I thought it was just the hormones winding down, but I've now had blood tests to check hormone levels so it will be interesting to see what the results are.  What a faff, imagine if men went through this!biggrin

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    • Posted

      In my final year (2009) I only had two periods.  The first was 166 days after the one before it.  It started with 11 days of spotting (like you, couldnt really count it as a "period"wink  but then had five days needing a full pad.  Heavy bleeding with clots.  

      My final period came 145 days after this one, for a full 7 days.  Then it was over, and I never bled again.  

      Good luck on your blood work, the problem is it often doesn't show what's really happening until it get to a very low point.  A 6mm lining is showing that your uterus isn't getting a lot of stimulation with estrogen.  5mm and below is considered "good" for menopausal status.  

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