My period is very light, am I pregnant?

A person’s menstrual flow may be altered by a number of factors which can result in their period being unusually light. A Lighter period than what you’re used to is not usually a cause for concern. Menstrual flow may vary from month to month, with some months being lighter than others. In some instances, a light period is an indication of a hormone related condition or pregnancy. This article seeks to discuss how a person may identify a light period and its causes.

Symptoms

On average, during a usual menstrual period, women will lose in the region of 2–3 tablespoons of blood. However, the quantities vary between individuals. Women should thus make a note when their periods are lighter than they normally experience. A menstrual cup may be used to measure the amount of blood they produce each month.

A light period can consist of the following:

  • Short cycle duration than usual
  • Fewer pad or tampon changes within the cycle
  • No visible heavy flow in the first 1 or 2 days, but a consistent, light flow
  • Bleeding bears a resemblance to spotting during the period instead of a steady flow

Light period causes

Age

It’s not unheard of that a person’s period flow can vary throughout their lifespan. In the earlier years, periods tend to be lighter and may only involve spotting. As the years progress, into the person’s 20s and 30s, they become more regular. People may develop heavier and shorter periods closer to their late 30s and 40s and at times may skip months without getting a period, and have a heavier period later. Periods often then become lighter and more irregular during perimenopause.

Being underweight

Underweight women may notice a very light period, and in some instances, it may stop altogether. Their low levels of body fat may lead to this change happening and cause them to not ovulate regularly.

Excessive exercising is another cause of light periods which may also be linked to being underweight.

Pregnancy

During the course of a pregnancy, a woman’s periods will normally completely stop. However, people may mistake implantation bleeding for a light period. Implantation bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy.

If you are sexually active and notice you’re having light periods, it will be wise to take a pregnancy test.

Medical conditions

Medical conditions that affect hormones in the body, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid-related conditions, can affect a person’s menstrual cycle.

Stress

Extended periods of stress can have an effect on the body’s hormonal balances, which can interrupt a woman’s regular menstrual cycle.

Worried about your symptoms? We can help 

If you’re concerned about your menstrual flow, don’t wait any longer to figure out what it is. At Marie Stopes centres across South Africa, we’re trained to identify and diagnose all types of medical issues related to menstruation and your general reproductive and sexual health and wellbeing.

Find your nearest Marie Stopes centre and make an appointment online for an affordable and confidential health check-up.

Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)

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