Very late period, negative home pregnancy test - Signs of menopause?

Dear Ask The Doctor:  I am 44 years old and have not had my period (which was regular and heavy, typically) for 45 days. I have taken two home pregnancy tests with negative results both times. Should I be concerned? Could it be stress or pre-menopause? Something else? I plan to make an appointment with my doctor, but just looking for information in the meantime. Thank you.
 

Dear Patient:  I do understand your concern. The phase before you actually have menopause (no period for 1 year) is known as peri-menopause, which may last on an average of 4 years, may be less in some women. It is very likely that your increased bleeding during periods could be due to the approaching menopause that usually occurs during this age period. You may notice certain irregularities in your periods during this time including change in timing, duration and heaviness of periods. As you progress into perimenopause, you will notice that your periods will become lighter and will be more spaced out. It is important at this time to maintain a good health. A balanced diet and light physical activity will help to relieve some of your symptoms. I do hope this helps, take care.

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