Short menstruation: what are the causes? Does it affect fertility?

Women can suffer from different types of changes in their menstrual cycle, some are considered normal and others may need professional monitoring. One condition that affects many women, for example, is small menstruation.

Is having a short period normal? Or can it cause any risk? Find it out

Is it normal to have a short period?

It depends . The decrease in menstrual flow, which is also called hypomenorrhea, occurs due to the reduction in the volume of menstruation and also by decreasing the duration of the flow. Most of the time, this reduction should not be a cause for concern, as it may be temporary. But if it persists, the ideal is to seek guidance from a gynecologist.

Normally, women menstruate every 21 to 35 days and the menstrual flow varies between two and seven days.

But this situation can change over time and due to different factors. Each woman and each period is different, so the menstrual flow can be like clockwork, that is, come in exactly the same period and in the same number of days, or it can suffer variations.

However, if a short period is accompanied by other signs, it is worth doing routine tests to see if everything is fine with the body.

Among the symptoms that deserve attention are: not having a period for more than three consecutive cycles, having frequent bleeding between periods and feeling very intense pain during the menstrual period.

Could it be pregnancy?

Pregnant women do not menstruate, but may have small amounts of blood in the first few weeks, which can be confused with menstruation.

This situation during pregnancy is called implantation bleeding , that is, when the fertilized egg was implanted in the uterus. In such cases, bleeding is very mild compared to menstruation.

So, the woman tends to have a small amount of blood and the color also varies from light pink to brown and not bright red, as is usually the color of menstruation.

If the flow is very small and the blood is pink in color, it may mean pregnancy. In this case, it is not about menstruation, but implantation bleeding (when the egg is implanted in the uterus).

When in doubt, the best thing to do is to take a pregnancy test. Now, if you are pregnant and have heavy bleeding, the recommendation is to see an obstetrician immediately to see if everything is okay with the fetus, as this may be a sign of miscarriage.

What are the causes of low menstruation?

Periods of low menstruation can occur due to a number of factors. Among them, the following stand out:

Excessive stress

Women who are always stressed (on a daily basis or due to major events) can alter brain hormones (such as estrogen and progesterone ), which affects the menstrual cycle. For these, it is common for the flow to be more irregular or more widely spaced.

However, after a stressful event or when there are changes in the routine, this situation can pass and the cycle tends to become more regular without needing medical help. If this does not happen, one should not hesitate to seek a professional.

Aging

Over time, it is natural that the menstrual flow changes both in quantity and in days. More mature women may experience decreased menstrual flow due to a decrease in the amount of estrogens in the body.

Also, as the number of eggs available in the ovary decreases, the brain releases more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to stimulate the ovaries to develop a follicle. This results in early follicle development and earlier ovulation, thus shorter cycles occur.

This change may be more frequent until menstruation ceases because of menopause .

Changes in weight

Women who follow very restrictive diets or fluctuate a lot in weight, that is, one hour they gain many kilos and the other one loses quickly, may have the menstrual cycle affected both in the amount of flow and in regularity.

It is known that women who have eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia , tend to have less frequent periods and, in some cases, do not even menstruate. This is because low body weight alters the hormones that regulate menstruation.

Those who gain a lot of weight store more fat in the body and this can affect hormonal levels and unbalance them, and may also cause decreased menstrual flow.

Intense exercises

Women who exercise excessively, as is the case with athletes, may experience changes in the menstrual cycle. This is related to the fact that, in general, they are usually exposed to high levels of stress and also have low body weight, which alters the hormones responsible for menstruation.

Polycystic ovary

Another health condition that affects the menstrual cycle is polycystic ovary syndrome. In such cases, the problem causes a hormonal change in the body that prevents the woman from ovulating.

Some common symptoms of this disorder are: weight change ( obesity ), hair loss , acne , increased hair on the face and infertility.

When the woman shows these signs and, still, has a low menstrual flow, the ideal is to look for a gynecologist. Then, specific tests such as ultrasound and blood count should be performed in order to confirm (or not) the diagnosis and alleviate the symptoms.

Hyperthyroidism

The decrease in menstrual flow can also be caused by hyperthyroidism , a disorder that occurs when the body produces a greater amount of thyroid hormones, which are responsible for the increase in metabolism.

In such cases, the person spends more energy, can become more anxious and even lose weight. Thus, due to these changes, the menstrual cycle can be affected.

Hormonal contraceptive methods

Women using birth control pills, IUDs or hormonal injections may experience menstruation in small amounts and the flow can last only a few days.

The use of contraceptive methods such as contraceptives can cause a change in menstrual flow.

This may be due to the hormones of these contraceptive methods. But it is worth mentioning that if there is no menstruation (amenorrhea), it is necessary to go to the gynecologist to find out if there are any other problems or even if a pregnancy has occurred.

Hyperprolactinemia

Menstrual scarcity can occur due to increased production of the hormone prolactin , produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. This change occurs more frequently in the postpartum period and is one of the most common causes of low menstruation (or the absence of menstrual flow).

Menstruation of 1 or 2 days: is it normal?

It depends . Normally, menstruation happens once a month and the duration varies from 4 to 7 days. But some women may have a menstrual cycle altered by several factors, or even have a reduced flow.

It is important to check with a gynecologist if it is not a pregnancy or a health problem that requires medical treatment.

Most of the time, it is a temporary hormonal change that can cause, in addition to the reduced flow, a menstruation similar to coffee grounds.

In such cases, there is a high chance that it is a change in progesterone levels, which is common in women who take oral or injectable contraceptives.

This is because the use of contraceptives can interfere with hormones, causing these “leaks” of low volume. Therefore, women who have forgotten to take contraceptives for a day or two may experience a menstrual leak that lasts for a short time and can be mistaken for menstruation itself.

Does it affect fertility?

It depends. The length of a menstrual cycle is determined by the number of days from the first day of bleeding until the start of the next period.

The length of the cycle and the amount of menstrual flow can be an indicator that there are hormonal imbalances and that ovulation is not occurring on a regular basis. Whereas without ovulation, pregnancy does not occur, it can affect fertility.

Whoever wants to have a baby and has shorter and irregular cycles, may be less fertile and have difficulties to conceive naturally.

But this is not a rule and, therefore, in cases like this, it is important to do some tests with fertility specialists and see if there is a need (or not) for hormonal treatments to get pregnant. Since the woman may not have any irregularities and simply have a menstrual flow that is less than normal.


Menstrual disorders are common and can affect any woman. However, when you notice any change in your cycle or simply in the flow of menstruation, it is important to consult a gynecologist in order to make sure that everything is fine with the body.

And if you want to see more content like this, keep following the Healthy Minute!

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