A healthy period lasts 3-7 days, so if you are only having a day or two of bleeding or even just light spotting, this is a sign that something is up.
For those who suffer with very heavy periods every month they may think, “Why are you complaining? I’d loooove a shorter or lighter period!” Well, both short/light and long/heavy periods aren’t great and can be a sign that there is an underlying issue which needs looking into. For those of you with long/heavy periods, check out this article to learn what may causing them .
So what are the main causes of shorter and light periods?
- You may not be ovulating – yes we can still have a period every month, even when we don’t ovulate. Crazy but true.
- You are ovulating but for some reason not producing enough oestrogen to build up your uterine lining to create a proper, healthy period.
This is where we need to become a detective and firstly figure out, did I actually ovulate?? You will only know for sure if you take your basal body temperature (BBT) every morning when you wake up before you roll out of bed. Any thermometer with 2 decimal places will do, so we can see the temperature change after you ovulate. Your temperature should go up 0.2*C about a day of so after ovulation and stay higher until your period, thanks to the progesterone our body produces when you ovulate.
Other symptoms, along with short/light periods, which suggest low oestrogen:
- Feeling lethargic
- Decreased ability to deal with stress
- Low libido
- Hot flashes
- Anxiety / depression
- Painful sex
- Vaginal dryness
- Poor memory / brain fog
So if you suspect you may not be ovulating regularly or you’re not producing enough oestrogen, here are some possible reasons:
- High stress levels (errr, hello the last 2 years!)
- Extreme dieting or eating disorders.
- Moving to a veggie, vegan or keto diet
- Caffeinated drinks and smoking
- Medications and even painkillers
- Post-pill amenorrhoea
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Excess production of prolactin
I always say with clients with short/light periods, track to see if you’re ovulating and consider how you can change your diet and stress levels to support your oestrogen levels. With all things reproductive health related, acupuncture can be a godsend. It is also worth checking your bloods to see how your thyroid, androgen hormones and prolactin levels are to rule out the last three on this list.
That all said, if you are definitely ovulating, have no annoying symptoms of low oestrogen, and you feel life could not be better, then your short/light periods may be just A-OK and there’s no need to do anything!
I share all the juicy stuff about our periods, hormones and perimenopause in my 6-week live course Embrace Your Cyclical Power. If you want to be the healthiest you can be in your 30s, 40s and beyond, this course is for you!