From the time you get your periods to the day your menstrual cycle comes to an end, there are multiple subtle changes that your body experiences. For the most part, you won’t even notice a change–and that’s completely normal. However from varying degrees of stomach cramps to the flow of blood to the number of days that you get your periods–your menstrual cycle changes as you age.
The changes occur due to a variety of reasons, right from pregnancy to switching your birth control pills. Experts agree that while your 20s and 30s will feature a fairly predictable cycle, it is in your 40s that you will truly notice a change. This is when your body produces less oestrogen, and you become less fertile. Known as perimenopause, you will experience shorter and irregular periods.
However, subtle changes are also noticeable in your 30s and it is best to be mindful of your cycle so that you can spot any irregularities and immediately consult a doctor.
From hormonal changes to pregnancy and health issues, here are some of the common changes in your cycle in your 30s:
1. A heavier flow than usual
If in your 30s you decide to stop taking birth control pills, either for personal reasons or to conceive, you will notice a change in your blood flow. Birth control pills tend to make your cycle lighter and shorter, which is why once you stop and your periods go back to normal, it may seem heavier and longer.
2. A lighter flow than usual
Similarly, switching to a different birth control pill can also impact your period cycle. Each pill and method is different–some result in lighter or non-existent periods, while others make your flow heavier. If you notice sudden changes you shouldn’t worry too much. However, it is a good idea to have a conversation with your gynaecologist about this on one of your regular visits.
3. Irregular periods
Most often than not, women notice irregularities in their menstrual cycle right after giving birth. Experts say that you need to give your body some time to get back on track, especially if you are breastfeeding. However, this is a completely normal change, and you needn’t worry.
Women also report less painful periods after pregnancy. This usually occurs because post-delivery, your cervix expands which allows blood to flow easily with a reduced need for uterine contractions.
4. Painful periods
Many women tend to develop either endometriosis, where the lining of your uterus grows outside the uterus walls during this time. Moreover, many women in their late 20s or early 30s also develop uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths within the uterus). Both these conditions lead to changes in your menstrual cycle. Women with fibroids often complain of heavy and painful periods, whereas, endometriosis is characterised by pelvic pain.
If your periods have suddenly started getting painful, you need to speak to your gynaecologist immediately and understand the root cause.
5. A shorter menstrual cycle
Just as your cycle can get longer, up to 40 days, it can also get shorter to just 25 days. Doctors suggest that this is one of the first indications of perimenopause. Mostly occurring in your late 30s, this suggests that your hormone levels have started to decrease which in turn is affecting your cycle.
While this is normal, you should speak to your doctor about it to get more clarity.
6. A longer menstrual cycle
In your 30s, both age and hormonal fluctuations lead to a longer cycle. Experts advise that you get this checked because this can sometimes be an indication of PCOS.
Stress is another big contributor. Your 30s often see a lot of career changes–a higher designation, starting your own business, managing work and your family. All of this means longer working hours and more responsibilities. This can also lead to some major lifestyle changes which can lead to irregularities in your cycle.
Again, consult your gynaecologist to discuss the best ways to deal with the changes.
If you notice any of these changes, rest assured that this is simply your body’s way of dealing with ageing and hormonal changes. However, it is best to talk to your gynaecologist about it to get more clarity, and also address certain symptoms as early as possible to avoid developing any complications in the future.
Track your Menstrual health using
Healthshots Period tracker