It is normal for women to have different menstrual flows. While some women have heavy periods that last for a week, other women only have a couple of days of light bleeding. Normally, your period may vary in intensity slightly and it is nothing to worry about. If your flow is normally heavy and is suddenly lighter, you will want to look for other symptoms. When you experience symptoms like pelvic pain, lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting, you need to visit your doctor right away.
Why Is My Period So Light?
While a light period is generally not a reason to worry, there may be an underlying cause in play. If so, the common reasons are the most likely causes of an unusually light period.
Contrary to popular belief, you can still have a period—or at least something that seems like it—if you are pregnant. Implantation bleeding happens when the egg implants itself on the wall of your uterus. This would cause light bleeding that ends in a very short period of time. Since this typically occurs within two weeks after conception, your hCG levels would still be too low to read on a pregnancy test. If you experience sore breasts, frequent urination, morning sickness (which can actually happen at any time of day) or stomach cramping, take a pregnancy test. If the results are negative, wait a few days before taking another test. You can also go to the doctor for a laboratory test of your blood.
Light periods may be caused by a condition known as hypomenorrhea. Basically, this word is a fancy medical term that means you have a light period. Often, hypomenorrhea is caused by working out extra, too much stress or overworking yourself at the office. Genetics, hormonal disorders and inflammatory diseases can also cause this condition.
When you are experiencing extreme emotional or physical stress, it is natural for your body to react. If you are under stress, your body produces a stress hormone known as cortisol. The influx of cortisol in your body causes changes in your body’s production of the luteinizing hormone. Since the luteinizing hormone is responsible for a stable, normal menstrual cycle, this can cause your period to stop temporarily or be lighter than normal. Other than removing the source of your stress, taking a vacation, meditating, listening to music or learning to handle your stress can make your period go back to normal.
4. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
An estimated 10 percent of women are affected by PCOS at some point in their lives. This condition is caused by small cysts forming within your ovaries. Normally, these cysts are fairly harmless and just filled with fluid. The location of the cysts does cause changes in the hormones produced by your body, which can cause additional levels of testosterone to flood the system. Due to this, you may not ovulate, which means that you may have a lighter period or no period at all. Other symptoms of the syndrome include facial hair growth, acne, weight gain and excess body hair.
5. Eating Disorders
Your body is made to function a certain way. To function properly, it needs a healthy balance of nutrients from your diet. If you have an eating disorder, your body is not able to get the nutrients that it needs. It reduces your blood flow and struggles to conserve energy to make up for the lack of food. Other than the lack of food, the resulting decline in body fat could be making your period lighter. Female hormones are made from sterols in your body fat. If you do not have enough body fat, your body is unable to make the hormones that it needs to actually have a period. Athletes, women with eating disorders and people on anabolic steroids may develop this condition.
Often, women have periods that are about as heavy as their female relatives. If your mother, aunt, sisters or cousins have a light period, it may mean that genetics are the reason why you have a lighter period. Normally, this does not mean anything about your fertility or infertility, and it should not effect your ability to have a normal delivery. Just in case, talk to your doctor before you decide to get pregnant.
7. Chronic Endometritis
If you have chronic endometritis, you probably know it already. This condition is extremely painful, and it can cause symptoms like a high fever and abnormal vaginal discharge. It is possible to develop this condition when the endometrium tissue in your body is infected by bacteria. Since uterine surgeries, intrauterine devices and abortions may affect this tissue, any of these factors make chronic endometritis more likely. If you leave this condition untreated, it can become permanent and lead to infertility issues. Women with this condition may also experience spotting or brown-colored discharge between their periods. Endometritis can be extremely serious, so make sure to go to a doctor if you think that you may have this infection.
8. Other Possibilities
Some of the following conditions could also be the reason for your period being lighter than normal:
- Hormonal changes
- Thyroid disorders
- Switching birth control
- Autoimmune diseases
- Asherman’s syndrome