When Is Your Period Officially Over?
There are a few signs to look out for that identifies when your period is coming to an end. WUKA experts discuss how to know when your period is over.
Menopause is occurs when your periods stop for good. The transition period leading up to this is called perimenopause, and there’s a wide range of symptoms that you can experience during this time.
During perimenopause, decreasing and erratic levels of oestrogen leads to a lack of ovulation, and a skipped period. These hormone imbalances can occur over a period of several months; menopause is finally reached when you haven’t had a period at all for 12 months.
Menopause can happen naturally, or it can occur due to other reasons- such as surgery to remove the ovaries, which leads to a sudden loss of oestrogen production. Some cancer treatments can also lead to menopause, and sometimes it can happen early for no apparent reason.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re approaching menopause, it’s a good idea to track your cycle and keep a log of symptoms, such as:
Aged Between Late 40s to early 50s
The transition towards menopause takes place for most women between the ages of around 45-55. Of course, we’re all different and some may experience menopause symptoms a little sooner than this too.
If you’re under the age of 40 and experiencing symptoms, speak to your GP to find out why.
One major symptom of perimenopause is irregular periods, particularly if your cycle is usually fairly predictable. If you track your cycle, you’ll have a pretty clear idea of what usually happens during your period. If not, start now- it will really help you to better understand your cycle and be more aware of the changes that could be taking place in this next stage of your life.
For many women, vaginal dryness is also a major symptom of menopause. Usually, the levels of oestrogen in our bodies helps to keep the vagina moist and lubricated throughout the menstrual cycle. But during perimenopause and after menopause, lack of oestrogen can have the opposite affect, causing the vagina to become dry and thin.
Vagina dryness can make sex painful, and can feel sore or itchy too. Some women also complain of needing to pee more often, and frequent UTIs can also be an issue.
Speak to your GP if you’re suffering with vaginal dryness, as there are treatments that can help. Lubricants before and during sex are a good idea, and some vaginal creams are available to help keep moisture levels up. Its also a good idea to steer clear of perfumed soaps down there too- water only!
Hot flushes are a common menopause symptom that many women suffer from during perimenopause. This 2014 study looked into why hot flushes occur, and concluded that small rises in body temperature were to blame. These rises in temperature are partly due to lack of oestrogen in the body, and this 1994 study actually found that women who reached menopause before the age of 52 were more likely to experience them.
A more recent study, done in 2005, reports that anxiety is also linked to hot flushes during menopause, while this 2010 study that found women were more likely to experience symptoms of depression and hot flushes early on in the transition towards menopause.
This study concludes that oestrogen replacement therapy can be effective in treating hot flushes. If you’re experiencing this symptom and It’s affecting your daily life (particularly at night, when lots of women say their sleep is disturbed), speak to your GP about potential treatments that can help.
As if hot flushes weren’t enough, some women also report cold flashes, or chills, during menopause too. These are usually temporary, and feel a little like tingles all over your body.
Again, hormone imbalances are to blame for cold flashes, and hormone replacement therapy could be an option to treat them.
Hot flushes and chills can also occur at night time, leading to night sweats, which can be massively disruptive to sleep. Night sweats are also very common for menopausal women, but if your sleep is suffering, you don’t have to just put up with it.
At night, try to wear loose, light clothing to minimise sweating. WUKA period pants are moisture-wicking, which means sweat is kept away form the vagina, reducing odour and cutting the risk of infection too.
Keep your bedroom as cool as possible, and try to reduce stress as much as you can too. Deep breathing and meditation before bed is a great idea.
Night sweats and other symptoms of menopause can cause problems with sleep, and its no fun dealing with mood swings and other changes when you’re tired either.
There are lifestyle changes that you can implement to help you sleep better. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid processed foods, alcohol and smoking. Take regular exercise, but also take time to do things that you enjoy, that relax the mind and that help you to feel at peace. Self care for women is vital, especially at this stage of your life.
Many women will already be familiar with the various mood changes that PMS brings each month, so it might come as no surprise to discover that the imbalance of hormones during menopause can cause your mood to drop too.
Lots of women describe menopausal mood changes as like a ‘roller coaster’, with sharp swings between feeling happy and sad. This is normal. But if you’re concerned about mood changes, again its important to discuss this with your doctor.
There are so many changes taking place that can really affect your mental wellbeing; mood changes can be worrying, so if you’re feeling low, don’t keep it to yourself.
Lots of women gain weight due to the menopause, mainly around the abdomen. This is not only due to hormonal changes, although they do play a huge role. As we age, our overall muscle mass starts to decline, and this can be a factor in weight gain.
Weight gain can also be down to genetics, plus lack of sleep can lead to us moving less and eating more too. Again, lifestyle changes can help to combat weight gain and the associated risks that come with it.
Dropping levels of oestrogen and progesterone are also to blame for thinning hair and hair loss as we go through menopause. The imbalance of these hormones also triggers an increase in androgens, which shrink hair follicles too. Speak to your GP if you’re concerned about hair loss.
Another side effect of reduced oestrogen- dry skin. Collagen production in the skin cells needs oestrogen, which helps to keep skin supple and hydrated. So, as we age, skin becomes more dry and susceptible to irritation.
Invest in a good body lotion or body butter and stick to gentle, unperformed soaps in the shower to help your skin stay hydrated.
Loss of Breast Fullness
Just as oestrogen keeps the skin hydrated and elastic, it helps to keep your breasts full and firm too. Lack of oestrogen is also responsible for causing the ducts and mammary glands to shrink, causing your breasts to become more fatty and less dense, so they appear less full and ‘sagging’.
There are a couple of things you can do here if changes in your breast size and shape leaves you feeling self conscious: invest in some good push up/ padded bras, or hit the gym, making chest exercises a priority. While the latter won’t bring your breasts back to their former shape, strengthening the muscles behind them will help to make them appear firmer-and lifting weights has been shown to help with longevity and bone heath too. Win win!
Shop Period Pants
If you’re experiencing irregular periods or your cycle is unpredictable, the last thing you want is for your period to catch you out. And if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding, you don’t want to be running to the loo every five minutes to grapple with a blood-soaked tampon or a fiddly pad either!
We recommend having a pair of period pants in your bag ready to go, or pop a pair on when you feel you you have some signs that you’re about to get your period.
Our Super Heavy Flow period pants are perfect for those really heavy days, and are great for overnight too. They have a thicker, super absorbent gusset that goes around and up to the back for guaranteed protection against leaks. And like our other designs, the gusset is made up of many, breathable layers, so you stay nice and dry and the blood stays locked away from your body.
We also have a Heavy Flow collection which are able to hold up to four tampons worth of blood- these are available in a range of styles- choose from Leopard Print High Waist to Ultimate Lace High Waist or super soft Stretch Seamless too.
Each style will keep you protected against leaks, and confident to go about your day, no matter how confused your cycle has you feeling right now!
Menstrual Cycle Fertility: Understanding Your Cycle
When is your period considered over?
The period leading up to menopause is called perimenopause, and this is when most women experience the majority of menopause symptoms. For a while, your periods might be very erratic and unpredictable, and you may miss a few periods in a row.
You have reached menopause when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months- this is when your period is considered as over.
Does spotting count as last day of period?
Day one of your cycle is the first day that you bleed. The last day of your period is the last day that you experience blood flow- spotting doesn’t count.
Does Brown blood mean your period is over?
There are a range of different colours when it comes to period blood. Brown blood usually occurs towards the end of your period, and some women also notice some during ovulation too. The blood is brown because it’s old, and this is completely normal.
When you’re nearing menopause, brown blood can appear in the middle of your cycle or during ovulation. This is usually blood mixing with vaginal discharge and is common for women going through menopause- it's due to lack of oestrogen causing the uterine lining to break down at unpredictable times during your cycle. Although this is a normal part of the transition to menopause, it alone doesn’t signal that your periods are over.
If you’re experiencing bleeding between periods, you should speak to your GP to find out why.