A recent episode of ‘And Just Like That…‘ — a reboot of Sex and the City — dealt with a very important feminine issue. The episode highlighted a symptom of perimenopause called ‘flash period’, the period of transition that ultimately ends in menopause. Read on to find out more.

In the episode, Charlotte York Goldenblatt (played by Kristin Davis) was seen helping her daughter Lily as she struggled with tampon strings for the first time. An exasperated Charlotte said, “Just when I’m finally done with my period and I thought I would not have to deal with this s**t anymore.”

But just then, her own white pants turned red around the groin area, indicating blood, with Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw saying that her period “may not be as done as you think”. Earlier in the episode, Charlotte had revealed she hadn’t had her period in four months. And Miranda Hobbes (played by Cynthia Nixon) pointed out that it may be a case of “flash period”.

So, why did it happen suddenly after months? Why the irregularity and what does it mean to be ‘perimenopausal’?

Dr Niti Kautish, consultant obs and gyne, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad explained that perimenopause is also known as menopausal transition, meaning ‘around menopause’. “It refers to the time during which the body makes natural transition to menopause, maturing end of reproductive years. Flash period is a period that comes suddenly due to irregular periods. It has symptoms like hot flashes, dryness of vagina, etc.”

According to the doctor, perimenopause symptoms include:

1. Irregular periods: Can be either too early (polymenorrhea) or too late (oligomenorrhea)
2. Heavy flow: Menorrhagia, bleeding clots for more than a week, with 3-4 full pads per day.
3. Hot flashes: Hot flashes and sleep problems are more common during this period.
4. Mood changes: A lot of mood changes around periods or even without that.
5. Vaginal dryness: Due to estrogen levels decreasing, women can experience vaginal dryness.
6. Other symptoms: Due to decrease in estrogen levels, there can be loss of bone density, changing cholesterol levels, loss of libido, decrease in fertility.

“When a woman experiences these symptoms, she should connect with her gynaecologist and get all tests done, because symptoms can overlap with other diseases, too. Secondly, they can maintain a menstrual calendar and can keep sanitary napkins handy in case of emergency,” Dr Kautish said.

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