Every period you will ever have will be slightly different from every other period you have ever had. Some will be heavier, some will be lighter, some will last close to a week, some will last 3- 4 days. With such variability, it is hard to tell what exactly a “normal” period is. Generally, a “normal” period is said to happen every 28 to 35 days and lasts for about 4-9 days. A light period is any period that is significantly shorter or gentler in flow than your average period, and can be caused by a number of things. Most of the causes aren’t serious and can be easily taken care of, but sometimes a light period can be a sign of an underlying medical problem. Here are some of the things that can cause light or scant periods.
Sometimes early on in a pregnancy, women may find that they have light bleeding and spotting. Obviously if you’re pregnant you’re not actually having your period, but you might think it is a period if that’s what you’re expecting. However, this bleeding is usually lighter in color and doesn’t last as long as a normal period. One of the ways you can test to see if your light period was caused by pregnancy is to take a pregnancy test and see, or wait and see if your next period doesn’t come on time.
Thyroid disorders, autoimmune disorders (such as Grave’s disease), Asher’s Syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are other potential causes for a light period, and are usually also have symptoms such as tiredness, dizziness, weakness and irritability coming along with a light period.
The way your body regulates your menstrual cycle is through hormones. You have many glands in your body that release hormones into your bloodstream when your body clock or inner chemistry is properly aligned to do so. However, there are many things that can interrupt or mess with the chemical balances needed for this to happen normally. Stress, for example, can place a lot of tension on your body and produce a lot of chemicals that mess with the hormonal balance that causes normal periods. Other things that can cause a hormonal imbalance are medications (especially contraceptives), diets, lifestyle changes and excessive exercising.
Changes in lifestyle is a very broad category, and can include many things. Getting a new job is a lifestyle change, but the reason it might affect your period is because of higher stress levels. If you just started college, chances are good that your diet probably changed drastically, and that (along with the stress associated with any move) can influence your period. Going onto a new medication can have strange side effects. Even just making massive changes such as going on a diet or starting a difficult exercise regimen can initially have an impact on the normalcy of your period. However, all of these things are temporary fluctuations, and once your body adjusts, your period should return to normal. If it doesn’t, it can be a sign of an underlying problem.
Irregularities in periods are very common to girls just hitting puberty and women just hitting menopause. Therefore, your period might be light if you are very young or are getting along in your years. The changes happening in your body are what is causing the irregularity, and is nothing to be too worried about. It is a normal part of the developmental process that your body is in. If you are young and your period never thickens, don’t worry too much about it – some girls are genetically predisposed to having a lighter than what’s considered normal period. If you talk to your Mom or Grandma you can find out if they also have light periods.
Any long-term change in your period should be treated seriously. A one or two-time occurrence of a really light period probably doesn’t mean much other than you’re more stressed than usual. However, if your period is consistently being irregular, you should go talk to a doctor or gynecologist to make sure that everything is all right and that you don’t have a serious problem causing your light period. It’s their job to make sure that you’re okay, so don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk to them about your period. It may be nothing serious, but it’s better not to take that chance if an abnormally light period is a recurring thing.