Every period is different, and every woman experiences her menstrual cycle differently.
Regular periods can vary in flow and length, as well as regularity. If you have a very light flow, you might be considering yourself lucky, and while that is true, light periods can also be a cause for concern in certain instances.
Having light periods, also called hypomenorrhea, means skipping on all of the painful and uncomfortable parts of having a period, such as bloating, cramping, and exhaustion.
A heavy period is usually a sign that something is not right, but so are light cycles too.
Reasons Why Menstrual Cycle Could Be Light
Several factors can affect the length and flow of one’s period, and some of them can cause a light period, while others can make it long, heavy, and very painful.
While different, both of these changes are usually a sign that something is going on, and it is always worth looking into, especially if you have irregular periods as well.
Some of the main reasons why your period could be having light periods include:
You are probably familiar with the fact that the first sign of pregnancy is missing the due period.
Well, while this is absolutely true, but it is not valid for everyone. Some women continue to have lighter periods even while they are pregnant, especially in the first trimester.
If you think that this might be your issue (if you have had unprotected sex since your last menstrual cycle), make sure to take a home pregnancy test and take the necessary steps towards the desired outcome in case the test is positive.
When ectopic pregnancy happens, the egg implants itself somewhere other than the uterus, where is its desired implantation place. Ectopic pregnancy is very dangerous, and light period-like bleeding is one of its symptoms.
Make sure to take a pregnancy test and visit your health care provider if you think that your light period is caused by an ectopic pregnancy.
Sudden weight gain
Weight fluctuation can mess with a woman’s menstrual cycle, stopping normal periods and causing lighter periods and shorter periods.
In the case of sudden weight gain, the body is storing more fat all of a sudden, which affects your hormone levels and throws them out of balance, causing a light period and other menstrual irregularities.
Sudden weight loss
Sudden weight loss, low body weight, and body fat percentage, caused by strict restrictions, can put the body in stress mode, which creates an imbalance of hormones and causes a light period.
To function correctly, your body requires a perfect balance of nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals), as well as enough calories during the day.
It is a well-known fact that stress can mess with the body in many different ways, which is why it is so important to learn how to manage stress.
The daily annoyances will not mess up your hormones or affect your period in any way, but major life stressors do hold the power to cause hormonal imbalances and affect your period seriously, making it lighter than usual, resulting in a lighter flow and less bleeding overall.
Some of the major events that could be causing your menstrual flow to be light include grieving over a loss of a loved one, pressure at work, suffering from depression.
Another form of stress, which often gets overlooked and even praised, is excessive exercise. Overexercising is a form of physical stress, and it can also mess up your hormones and make your menstrual flow very light or even non-existent.
An overactive thyroid
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that happens when an overactive thyroid starts to produce too many thyroid hormones. In the long term, hyperthyroidism can cause serious issues for your muscles, blood pressure, heart, and more.
Extremely light periods, as well as missing periods, are one of the first signs of hyperthyroidism, and they are the first thing your healthcare provider is likely to ask you about if hyperthyroidism is your concern.
However, if you are experiencing some of the other symptoms of an overactive thyroid paired with light or non-existent periods, make sure to make an appointment with your doctor, as this condition should not be ignored.
Hormonal birth control
Doctors prescribe hormonal birth control and birth control pills to women in order to help with their very heavy and painful periods.
In fact, using hormonal birth control is one of the most common reasons for having a lighter period or even having no period at all.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that causes the ovaries to produce too many male sex hormones, also called androgens. Polycystic ovary syndrome can also cause small fluid-filled sacs or cysts in the ovaries.
One of PCOS symptoms is light or completely missed periods, as well as acne or oily skin, sudden weight gain, and excess body hair.
Should You Be Worried About Having Lighter Periods?
Light and short periods do not always have to be a sign that you have something to worry about and that there is an underlying condition that you have to take care of.
In fact, a period as short as two days is considered normal. If you have missed a period or if your period is much lighter than normal, take a pregnancy test if you think that there is a chance of you being pregnant.
If you happen to experience light periods regularly, especially when they are accompanied by other symptoms, make sure to visit your doctor.
When To See a Doctor About Your Light Period?
There is a chance of your period being lighter than usual with no underlying cause. Bodies are very complex, and some changes do not have to mean anything is wrong.
However, there are some signs that could be a bit worrisome and that require medical attention and professional medical advice.
Make sure to contact your healthcare provider if you:
- Skip three or more periods straight, and you get a negative pregnancy test
- Have irregular periods without any pattern for more than a few months
- Experience regular bleeding between periods
- Feel pain during your light period
Your period can sometimes be lighter than normal due to natural reasons.
If your period seems lighter than usual and you are not sure why this is happening, make sure to let your doctor know.
Even if your periods seem consistent most of the time, it is very beneficial to track them every month. Make sure to note what period symptoms you are having, how heavy your period is, and how many days it lasts.
You should also consider downloading a period tracker app on your phone to make tracking more convenient.