We know that women have menstrual cycles that are usually regular, and that they get their periods once a month. However, every woman is different, and not all women have the same type of period in terms of quantity, frequency, associated pain, etc.
In this article we will answer the following question: “I have a light period: is it serious, doctor? Can it be a symptom of something serious?”. Through the explanations of Dr. Mitjana, Primary Care Physician, we will analyze the possible causes that explain a change in bleeding and explain when it would be necessary to see a specialist.
- “Why don’t I get my period? 7 reasons that explain it”.
- “Why do I bleed without having my period? We explain 6 possible causes”
The “normal” period
The menstrual period comes when there is no pregnancy; thus, through it, the body is responsible for separating a part of the uterine mucosa. The uterine lining separates thanks to uterine contractions, caused by different hormones.
Lhe normal menstrual period comes once a month, when the menstrual cycle is complete, and lasts between 3 and 6 months.and lasts between 3 and 7 days. As we mentioned before, there are women, however, who have little menstruation (either because they bleed little or because their period lasts 2 days or less). There are women who experience this situation and wonder: “I have a light period: can it be a symptom of something serious? In this article we will try to answer this question.
I have a light period: is it a symptom of something serious?
What happens when we have a light period? Can it be a symptom of something serious? Every woman is different, and that is why menstruation can vary greatly from one woman to another.
There are women who bleed a lot, women who bleed a little, others who have irregular cycles, others who have their periods every “X” months, etc. In addition, blood clots can also vary greatly in each case, as well as the symptoms that menstruation causes, etc.
One of these cases is light bleeding (scanty menstruation), which occurs when the menstrual blood flow lasts only two days (or even less), or when the amount of the flow is less than 80 ml. Medically, this symptom is called “hypomenorrhea”. On the other hand, “oligomenorrhea” is the occurrence of menstruation less than once a month (after 35 days since the last menstrual period).
We will now explain what it means to have a light period, why it occurs and whether or not it is a cause for concern.
Two types of cases
To answer the question of scanty menstruation, we must first differentiate between two types of cases: cases of women who have always had scanty menstruation, and cases of women who have always had normal (or abundant) menstruation and suddenly start having scanty menstruation.
According to an interview with Dr. Mª Carme Mitjanaa doctor specializing in Primary Care at the CAP of Casc Antic (), in the first case, the woman has nothing to worry about; her menstruation is simply scanty, probably because her endometrial layer in the uterus is rather thin and therefore does not shed much endometrium (hormonal factors may also come into play). But in this case, light menstruation is not a symptom of anything serious.
In the second case, however, if we suddenly notice a change in the amount of our menstruation (and we bleed less or for fewer days), the first thing we should do is to take a pregnancy test, since there is a possibility that we are pregnant.
This is explained simply because, perhaps in the previous period we had a little substance (endometrial layer) to detach, and therefore the little blood we have had this month is from the previous month (and this month we do not really have the period because we are pregnant). So, the first thing to do is to rule out a possible pregnancy.
If we are not pregnant because the tests show that we are not pregnant, it is very likely that the following month we will already be pregnant, it is very likely that the following month we will have a normal period (with the usual amount).. If the scanty menstruation persists the following months, it is probably a more hormonal issue, related to stress factors, diet, etc. So, a little further on we will talk about the causes that could explain this last situation (having little menstruation).
Changes in our menstrual cycle (and menstruation): why do they occur?
According to doctors, our menstrual cycle can be altered for various reasons (it does not always have to be a disease). As we have seen, having a light period is not a symptom of anything serious, unless there is a change in the amount of bleeding, although these are usually hormonal issues that are not of major importance.
In the latter cases, the most common causes of alterations in our menstrual cycle and, as a consequence, in our period or menstruation, are the following.are the following.
Stress is a factor closely related to hormonal changes, changes in the menstrual cycle and finally our menstrual period. This is because if we are very stressed (or slightly stressed for a long time), there can be a change in our hypothalamus, the structure in charge of regulating the pituitary gland (the endocrine gland in charge of the menstrual cycle).The hypothalamus, the structure in charge of regulating the pituitary gland (the endocrine gland in charge of synthesizing different hormones). All this can end up altering the functions of our ovary.
So, if you have started to bleed less than normal during your period, stress could be the cause, although there are more reasons that could explain this situation.
2. Hormonal changes
Somewhat related to the previous cause, we find a possible hormonal change as the cause of our scanty menstruation..
In the end, hormones are the ones that direct many of our physiological functions or processes, one of them being menstruation. This is why any hormonal change can have repercussions on the characteristics of our cycle and menstruation.
3. Dietary changes
Changes in diet can also reduce our bleeding during menstruation.. Specifically, it is likely to occur when we start eating less.
Moreover, in extreme (fasting) situations, as for example in eating disorders (ED), especially anorexia nervosa, menstruation disappears directly (so-called amenorrhea). This is because, after all, our organism is wise, and if it “knows” that it would not be able to feed a new living being (due to its degree of malnutrition), it acts by inhibiting the menstruation.
When to see a specialist?
If, even though we have little menstruation, this is not accompanied by other symptoms such as discomfort, changes in the odor of the flow, discomfort during sexual intercourse, hot flashes, pelvic pressure or fever, there is no need to worry. However, it is advisable to it is advisable to go to a specialist whenever we have doubts and especially when we notice something really strange..
On the other hand, and as we have seen, it is not the same to have always had little menstruation, than the fact that it is something that appears suddenly. In this second case, we must be alert (and rule out a possible pregnancy), especially if the situation is repeated for more than three consecutive periods.
Experts maintain that, in general, the fact of having a heavy period all of a sudden should be a greater cause for concern than the opposite (having a scanty period).
Although it does not have to be a symptom of anything serious, and these changes in quantity, as we said, can be explained by factors such as stress, the ideal is to go to a gynecologist or gynecologist whenever we notice any change in our cycle or menstruation (especially if this change is very evident).