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HIV and Menstrual changes

It’s not unusual for women with HIV to experience changes in their periods (menstrual cycle), but we don’t know all the ways HIV may play a part. Any changes in your menstrual cycle indicate a shift in the balance of how your body works, and should be talked about with your doctor.

Things that can affect your menstrual cycle include:

Changes to your periods might be:

  • irregular, heavier or lighter periods
  • spotting
  • increased symptoms of PMS
  • darkening of menstrual blood
  • more frequent periods
  • skipped periods, or much longer cycle
  • no periods at all

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Perimenopause and menopause

Menopause is the natural end of menstruation. A woman’s final menstrual period usually occurs between the ages of 38 – 58. Hormonal changes leading to that final period happens over several years, and the process is called perimenopause. During perimenopause, the balance of hormones in your system changes, affecting your ovaries, uterus, and vagina. It can affect some women more dramatically than others.

Indicators of perimenopause include:

  • Changes in your periods: they become irregular, heavier, your cycles change in length
  • hot flashes
  • vaginal dryness
  • moodiness and mood swings, including anxiety, depression, forgetfulness and fatigue

If you are noticing differences in your periods, talk to your doctor. They could indicate a natural shift, or something that needs attention.

For more information: CATIE offers good information and follow up help on all treatment issues related to HIV.

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