Strange Menstruation Patterns

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2005
Strange Menstruation Patterns
5
Thu, 08-19-2010 - 1:09am

I am 35, have 3 kids, and have been charting for 7 years. After stopping the BCP to conceive dd#1 (now 6 yrs old), my body took nearly a year (8 anovulatory cycles) to finally figure out how to function properly. Since then though, once I resumed ovulation and menstruation after each pregnancy, thigs were pretty predictable. I became so comfortable with knowing what was happening, I stopped temps and daily charting, just marking on my calendar day 1, O, etc, using only mucous and cervix exam. Mother nature recently threw me a curve ball. For the past 2 cycles, instead of the usual 5-day bleed, my bleed has followed this pattern: light for 3-4 days, stopping for 1-2 days, resuming more heavily for another 5-6 days, total bleed time 10-12 days. I am still ovulating. I am still breastfeeding (dd#3 is 14 months old, cycles have been regular since she was 7/8 months), no change in breastfeeding patterns over the last few months. Past few months have been a bit stressful, but I did ovulate as usual, bleeding started 11 days post o as usual. Absolutely no chance of PG (unless it was an immaculate conception ;). Rather confused about this strange new pattern. Could I possibly be starting menopause??? I thought 35 was too young. If it was that, my cycles would be anovulatory, no? What else could cause this extended start stop pattern?

TIA,
Jennifer

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 08-20-2010 - 3:00pm

Hi Jennifer! I would think that you are too young to be showing signs of perimenopause, but it's hard to say.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2005
Fri, 08-20-2010 - 3:56pm
Thanks Melissa. Right now, I am attributing it to stress. This month should be better, so we'll see how it goes. If it repeats a third time, with a less stressful month, I will see my doc and do some investigating. For now, I will boost my iron intake to prevent anemia, since I know that can be a problem with prolonged bleeding.
Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 08-20-2010 - 5:48pm
That's probably a good thing to take.

Avatar for cl_susanmercy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 08-23-2010 - 1:10pm

I'm sorry your cycles are doing odd things.

Fall,Snowman
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2005
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 12:14am

Sue,

my lutal phase is usually about 11 days. It has been that way for as long as I have been charting (going on 8 years now). I think it is just normal for me, not due to low progesterone or any abnormality. I say this becasue I had no trouble maintaining 3 healthy pregnancies with this pattern. If my progesterone was low, would I not have had more miscarriages? (I have had only 1, in between my 1st and 3rd of 4 prengnancies).

It was definately more than spotting. Not quite as heavy as my usual flow, but pretty close. I usually bleed for about 4-5 days. But the past few cycles have been different. Lighter bleeding for 3-4 days, then a pause for 2 days or so, then resumed bleeding at my normal flow rate for a week or more. I use the Diva cup, so I can gague flow fairly accurately.

I do realize that temps are the only way to comfirm O 100%. But since I co-sleep with my 15-month old who still sometimes nurses several times per night, and my waking schedule is erratic, temps are not really an option for me. I have been relying on mucous, cervical positioning, and cervical os changes for years with 100% accuracy for birthcontrol and pregnancy achievement. I also frequently feel the actual release of the ovum. I've gotten to the point that I don't really chart anymore. I don't need to mark things down to figure out what is happening. My body's signs have become very obvious, so I begin watching closely only when something starts happening, making notes on the regular calendar about important events like cycle day 1 & O. I only temp if I am trying to become PG so I can catch that 2nd rise that I get before I would get a pos on a test.

I understand that your body can "go through the motions" several times in a cycle building up to the final release of the ovum. But I understood that if you were closed and dry for at least a week ofer O signs then you can assume that you O'd. Is this not correct? I learned this a long time ago, maybe from TCOYF, billings or serena? Dont remember the source now. This has happened to me a few times, after I first stopped taking the pill (my 1st ovulatory cycle, in which I conceived dd#1, had 3 buid ups to O finally on day 57!) and as my body gradually returned to fertility after each of my 3 children were born. But usually once I start Oing regularly, there is no variation.

The past few months have been really stressful for me (studying for a major proffessional exam, battling depression and lots of conflict in my life...), so I think the stress has thrown me off. This month is proving to be better, so I will wait and see how that affects my cycle. For now, I am gaurding against anemia by boosting my natural iron intake and if the odd cycles continue, I will consider the B6, though I get good supply in my regular diet.

I am pretty reluctant to go see my doc, especially about this sort of thing. My doc does not believe that following your cycle can be reliable. He has always given me strange looks when I ever I discuss my awareness of what is happening. Funny, it has been 8 years since I took the BCP, and during that time, I have never been PG when I did not want to be, and each of my children were concieved on the very first cycle of "trying." I'd say it has been pretty reliable for me! But the choices for docs are pretty limited where I live, so I am stuck with him.

Thanks for the reminder that strange cycles is not a reason to wean. This I know! I have been a volunteer breastfeeding concillor for 5 years and I have decided to make a carreer out of this kind of work. I believe in letting my kids wean on their own timetable, so there was no danger of me weaning them due to a few quirks in my cycles! But I am glad you mentioned it for lurkers who may not be sure!

Jennifer