Menopause night flooding can have a huge impact on your sleep. Find out about heavy bleeding during perimenopause and what you can do to sleep better.
Menopause refers to stage in a person’s life where periods have ended; the ovaries no longer produce oestrogen, and other changes have taken place to signal the end of reproductive processes. The period of time leading up to menopause is called perimenopause, and during this time there can be many symptoms experienced, such as:
- Irregular periods
- Heavy periods
- Lighter periods
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Brain fog
- Low mood
- Difficulty sleeping
Lots of women report struggling to sleep during perimenopause, and there can be many reasons why- including night flooding, or heavy bleeding.
Perimenopause heavy bleeding
According to this 2007 study, as the body begins to produce less oestrogen and ovulation becomes erratic, abnormal bleeding can occur. This abnormal bleeding can be accompanied by bloating, cramps and other symptoms- all of which can impact on quality of sleep.
The study also suggests that 18% of women experience Menorrhagia, where the blood flow is very heavy- and its thought that hormonal changes during the follicular phase is the reason why.
The follicular phase of your cycle starts on day one, and this is where follicles grow on the ovaries, which then produce and develop eggs. During a normal cycle, one egg will develop fully enough to be released for ovulation. During perimenopause, lots of women experience a shorter follicular phase, cutting the length of their cycle down by a few days, as the period arrives a little early.
Studies such as this one suggest that menorrhagia during perimenopause could be down to a longer follicular phase, during which ovulation occurs and oestrogen rises very slowly. This can cause the lining of the uterus to break down ‘excessively’, therefore leading to a longer and much heavier period.
What causes menopause night flooding?
There are many changes taking place during perimenopause, and heavy bleeding is just one of them. But there can be various reasons why its happening, and treatments you can try to make this stage of your life a little more comfortable.
As already discussed, a longer follicular phase can cause menopause night flooding, as the slow rise of oestrogen encourages the uterine lining to build up more, before being released as part of your period.
Oestrogen is essential for helping to prepare the uterus for a pregnancy, but during perimenopause its production can be erratic. Missed periods at this time occur if ovulation doesn’t take place, and this can happen for more than one cycle at a time. Then, when ovulation does occur again, the resulting period can be very heavy, and much longer than normal due to the build up of uterine tissue.
Uterine fibroids can also be a cause for heavy periods during perimenopause. These are non-cancerous growths which appear on and around the uterus, usually causing no symptoms at all. Lots of women are diagnosed with fibroids during a routine examination such as a smear test.
Uterine fibroids can become more common during perimenopause- according to this study, they can reach their peak during this time. Doctors aren’t sure why, but its thought that hormonal changes are to blame.
Symptoms of uterine fibroids include heavy bleeding, but treatments are available, so discuss this with your doctor if you’ve been diagnosed. Most women experience a decrease in both size and occurrence of fibroids once menopause has taken place.
How do I know if bleeding is heavy?
Heavy bleeding is classed as such if the following criteria is met:
- You need to change period protection (pads or tampons) every one to two hours
- You have to double up on period protection- eg, a pad and a tampon
- Your period is longer than normal, lasting more than 7 days
- You leak through clothes or bedding
- You notice blood clots larger than a 10p piece
- You’re tired and short of breath
You can check whether you’re experiencing perimenopause heavy bleeding by tracking your cycle and knowing what is normal for you.
Treating menopause night flooding
Menopause night flooding can disrupt your sleep, and its not something that you need to just ‘put up with’. There are changes you can make and treatments that can be discussed with your doctor to help you manage perimenopause symptoms such as this.
Various lifestyle changes can make a huge difference to heavy blood loss, and most of them are easy to implement:
- Stay hydrated. Heavy periods can cause dehydration, so look out for signs such as feeling dizzy or lightheaded, feeling sort of breath or palpitations.
- Eat foods that are rich in iron. Heavy bleeding can lead to anaemia, so its always a good idea to include lots of foods such as spinach, fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, and red meat.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Studies such as this one has linked fat cells to oestrogen production; doctors believe losing weight could help to regulate the hormones that could be causing heavy periods.
- Ibuprofen can be taken to help reduce inflammation and blood loss.
When to see a doctor
If you’re concerned about heavy menopause night flooding, make an appointment to see your doctor so that you can discuss other potential treatments.
- Medicines to reduce bleeding
- Oral contraceptive pill
- IUS- intrauterine system
- Surgical treatment
- Endometrial ablation
Which period products are best for menopause night flooding?
The last thing you want is to wake during the night because you're worried you're going to soak through your pad onto the bedsheets. We created our Overnight Collection with sweet dreams in mind, because we know how important it is to sleep well, no matter where you are in your cycle.
The collection includes various styles to keep you comfy and protected- such as WUKA Ultimate High Waist, WUKA Ultimate Boxer Short, WUKA Ultimate Lace Hipster Brief and WUKA Leopard Print High Waist. All designed to protect you from the nightmare of leaks and broken sleep.
We also recommend WUKA Super heavy period pants, designed with an extra long, highly absorbent gusset that reaches all the way round to the back. This means that you’re protected from leaks, even when lying down. And because the gusset is extra thick, its up to the job too, able to absorb up to 12 tampons or 8 pads worth of blood.
Why are menopause symptoms worse at night?
Everything seems worse at night, especially when you’re trying to sleep! But when it comes to menopause symptoms, they can actually worsen during the night for some women. Oestrogen plays a role in the function of neurotransmitters that affect our sleep-wake cycle, and it also helps to keep body temperature down too. When oestrogen levels are erratic, sleep can become erratic too. And when it comes to heavy bleeding during perimenopause, lots of us sleep fitfully because we’re worried about leaking too.
How can I stop waking at night during menopause?
One way to improve sleep is by treating menopause symptoms. Speak to your doctor about the best course of action for you. If you’re waking because you’re worried about leaking, browse our overnight period pants collection for peace of mind.
When should I be concerned about bleeding during menopause?
If you regularly soak through period protection and your heavy bleeding is impacting on your daily life, make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss treatments. You should also look out for signs of anaemia too.
What causes a woman to bleed after menopause?
Bleeding after the menopause (when periods have been absent for over 12 months) should never be ignored as it could be a sign that something potentially serious is happening. Make an appointment with your GP to discuss this.