The length of a healthy menstrual cycle can be between 21 to 35 days. The average being the well known 28 day cycle that we all think we should be hitting each month.
What the doctor told me is to make sure I know the menstrual cycle length that is normal for me, not what my friends have or what the apps might say. (Some apps are pretty good now and can learn your average cycle.)
When I noticed that my period was shorter than normal over a few months I wondered what the problem could be – and if there was one at all.
I knew that changes in my cycle can provide a picture of your overall health, and may indicate an issue.
Naturally, I was keen to get to the bottom of it.
Reasons why a period is shorter than normal can include:
- Increased exercise
- New diet
- Low body weight
- Age (Late 30s, early 40s may notice heavy periods that are shorter)
- Shift work
These factors can change the duration, flow and frequency of a period.
To find out more about how these factors can effect your period, click here.
My first thought was “Can a short period be a sign of pregnancy?”
I know about a thing called implantation bleeding.
Apparently around a third of women experience this. It is more like spotting with light bleeding, not a heavy flow.
This can happen as the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the womb.
When my period only showed up for a few days and was lighter than normal I took a pregnancy test. A negative test ruled out this reason for a short period.
Next, I was asking “Why is my period only 3 days long?”
A ‘normal’ period (I say normal because here we are talking about normal in terms of averages, not what is normal for me) is 3-7 days in length.
With my period being 3 days long I considered the reasons why. Was I stressed? Was I overworked?
What is causing a 50 day menstrual cycle?? SO annoying
A 50 day cycle might seem like a nice break and you might be wondering why I am complaining about a light, 3 day period with 50 days in between.
Well it was a nice break from cramping. However, when it came to trying for a baby it was so annoying. Also, not knowing exactly when my period would come drove me up the wall. I also got caught short a few times too!
The doctor told me that reasons for a long menstrual cycle can be due to changes in your hormones or a delay in ovulation for various reasons. Hormone imbalance from conditions such as PCOS, thyroid disorders and things like jet lag and night shift working. I hadn’t been on a plane, or worked night shifts and I had no signs of PCOS.
Further investigations found that it could well be my lower body weight, hormone imbalance or exercise that was causing my body to delay ovulation and therefore my period.
What I did to help my shorter than normal period
A very short period and long menstrual cycle was really quite frustrating.
I found that I had a very delicate hormone balance which could easily be disrupted.
I needed to relax more, sleep better, eat more and move a little less intensely!
Over the years, I have learned that anxiety and unhappiness triggers my excessive need to exercise. I personally find CBD helps my anxiety and therefore I spend less time needing to pound the pavements or jump up and down doing a HIIT workout!
Period is shorter than normal – A wrap up
I booked a doctors appointment and she was able to help me
Find out more here.
I also read some books on period education to help me gain an understanding of what could be disturbing my cycle.
I read Period Power by Maisie Hill and Period Repair Manual by Laura Briden.