“Light period” is a relative notion, because when it comes to menstruation, the norm and deviation are very individual and may range from a woman to a woman. Any menstrual disorder, accompanied by weakening of menstrual function, is referred to as hypomenorrhea. If your periods, all of a sudden are turning very scanty and you are a woman of 20-40 y.o., you need to find out the cause of your condition. Here are some ideas which may help you, but be aware that diagnostics can be done only with your gynecologist.
The Amount Of Blood Loss & Period Duration: What’s Normal & What’s Not?
During period female organism tries to separate a part of unnecessary uterine mucous membrane and withdraw it. Prostaglandins (substances similar to hormones) trigger uterine contractions. These contractions cause spasms of blood vessels, so all unnecessary uterine lining separates. Blood vessels in womb constrict and dilate, while prostaglandins are produced. As a result, the contracting vessels begin to bleed and the top layer of uterine lining is being shed. Thanks to uterine contractions blood and mucous tissues are withdrawn outside through vagina. Here are some numbers.
- Normal duration of a period is 2-8 days. In most women periods last 4-5 days.
- Normal amount of menstrual discharge is 30-80 ml, 40-60 on average. However, a woman loses not only blood during menstruation, but also endometrial tissues. So it may make in total 50-150 ml of menstrual discharge. Logically, we can assume that a scanty period is the one when you lose less than 30 ml of menstrual discharge. On the other hand, if you have usually had blood loss of approximately 40 ml, its decrease to 30 ml and more can be considered a scanty period. However, if your normal blood loss is 70 ml, and then you get 40 ml, you’ll suspect there’s something wrong, although that doesn’t necessarily mean you have some health issues. Besides, who knows how much menstrual blood exactly you lose during a period? It’s truly hard to evaluate.
Therefore, it’s more convenient to judge from such factors as period duration and an amount of sanitary pads or tampons you use. If you notice that this time you need to change sanitary pads not so often as before, you need to think why your period has become uncommonly scanty. If the situation repeats the next cycle, consult your gynecologist.
Hypomenorrhea & Other Conditions, Characterized By Weakening Of Menstrual Function
- Hypomenorrhea, as it has been already mentioned, is scanty, short or light period. The amount of blood loss, typical for hypomenorrhea is less than 25 ml.
- Oligomenorrhea is a short period, shorter than 3 days.
- Opsomenorrhea is an extremely long interval between periods – 5-8 weeks.
- Spaniomenorrhea are very rare periods, like only 4 times a year, for instance.
When period is scanty, menstrual blood is often too light or, on the contrary, too dark. The menstrual cycle is usually normal but duration of a period is less than 3 days, though in previous cycles it was about 6 days. That is a weighty reason to consult a gynecologist.
Light period shouldn’t be a reason for concern in young girls, whose cycle hasn’t established yet. Women, aged 40-50 y.o. who have scanty periods can take this phenomenon as the first symptom of menopause. While 20-40 y.o. women are in a risk group.
Often women of reproductive age, who have scanty periods, have to deal with infertility issues. Frequently such women have disorders of lipid balance in organism, acne on face, chest and back, low libido and red spots spreading all over the body.
If your periods have become scanty, it’s crucial to determine the cause of your condition, otherwise it’s not possible to start effective treatment.
Light Period: Causes
- Puberty. Teenage girls may have very scanty or extremely profuse periods, which can reoccur during a few years until menstrual cycle establishes.
- Premenopause. When menopause is approaching women normally have scanty periods.
- Contraception. Birth control pills very frequently reduce the amount of menstrual discharge considerably.
- Policystic ovarian syndrome. This is a disorder that affects ovaries by formation of numerous tiny cysts. Such a condition may lead not only to scanty menstruation, but also acne, excessive hair growth on face and body, extra weight and other problems.
- Digestive disorders and sharp weight loss. Anorexia and bulimia may lead to very scanty bleeding during menstruation or complete absence of periods during a few cycles. Extremely fast weight loss and lack of nutrition may cause a significant decrease in amount of menstrual discharge.
- Hormonal imbalance. This is one of the most frequent causes of light period. It may result from significant weight loss or weight gain, certain diseases and usage of some medications.
- Emotional stress. Stress in some situations may also lead to scanty menstrual discharge, however, it’s difficult to predict the results of strong emotional stresses. Your period may, on the contrary, intensify and become too abundant.
- Too intense physical activity. Menstrual disorders are not rare in women who train in sports too actively, for example, when preparing for competitions. It may be light period, irregular periods or amenorrhea.
- Fritsch syndrome. This is a rather rare disorder, characterized by formation of adhesions, in uterine endometrium, which can trigger not only scanty periods, but also such issues as amenorrhea, inability to bear a baby and infertility. Fritsch syndrome may develop in women, who do abortions, especially not once, or have infections of pelvic organs.
- Thyroid dysfunction. Light menstruation may be caused by issues other than those, related to female reproductive health. Problems with thyroid function, such as hypothyreosis, may also lead to scanty menstruation.
- Pelvic inflammations. Inflammatory diseases of pelvic organs, which can be triggered by sexually transmitted diseases, may lead to many problems with reproductive health, including scanty periods.
How To Treat Light Period?
The treatment depends on the underlying cause. If your scanty menstruation is associated with puberty or premenopause, no treatment is needed. Women, who are too active in sports, can normalize their cycle if they decrease the level of their physical activity. Other cases suggest therapies, depending on the trigger of hypomenorrhea. If a female patient has digestive disorders, leading to excessive weight loss or weight gain, she may need a course of psychotherapy. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is treated by prescription hormonal medications, thyroid dysfunctions may need both surgical and medicinal treatments.
Scanty menstruation occurs due to decrease of estrogen production which leads to lowering of libido and reproductive function. Leaving everything as it is won’t do you any good. You need to make an appointment with a gynecologist in order to determine the cause of your hypomenorrhea and start treatment.