For women, having periods comes with a lot of challenges each month – whether it’s managing those unbearable cramps, mood swings, existential crisis or just feeling out of sorts.
It feels never-ending. So, when it peaces out quicker than usual, it might seem like a reason to party. But if your menstrual cycle goes from lasting a week to a few days, this can be a cause of concern.
Any irregularity may indicate trouble with your reproductive health and should not be ignored at any cost. It could signal pregnancy, menopause, or even a serious medical problem.
Is a Short Menstrual Cycle Normal?
Normal menstruation differs widely from woman to woman. However, anywhere between 3-7 days is considered normal and each menstrual cycle can last anywhere between 21 to 35 days.
When a woman’s menstrual cycle is usually short, there is nothing to worry about as long as she’s menstruating regularly.
This means that every few weeks, an ovary releases an egg and estrogen forms a thick lining around the uterus. The body will shed that lining if fertilization does not occur.
However, if the cycle is getting shorter, they may want to consult a doctor.
5 Reasons for Shorter Menstrual Cycles
There are many causes of a shorter menstrual cycle. The following conditions or occurrences may cause a shorter menstrual cycle. Rule them out the next time your cycle cuts early.
You Have Emotional Stress
When you’re under stress, your body produces cortisol. Depending upon how your body tolerates stress, the cortisol may lead to delayed or lighter periods. If the stress continues, you can have a shorter menstrual cycle as well.
A study confirms that high-stress jobs are one of the reasons responsible for shorter menstrual cycles. Therefore, different levels and lengths of stress exposure could cause irregularities in your menstrual cycle.
In order to really work on that stress, you must start taking a good 7-8hrs of sleep; meditate, correct your nutrition and workout for at least 4 days in a week.
You’re Suffering From PCOS
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance where women overproduce amounts of male hormones that eventually suppress ovulation. This high level of androgens and insulin in their bodies disrupt the monthly cycle of ovulation and causes a shorter menstrual cycle.
PCOS can cause different symptoms like acne, obesity, infertility which results in a shorter menstrual cycle.
Some people who have PCOS can have regular periods every 28 days, others may have every 30 to 40 days, and some don’t have periods at all.
With the right workout and nutrition, PCOS can be subsided. Through our customized plans, we have seen many clients reap good results.
You’re On High Medications
One of the primary reasons for a shorter menstrual cycle is the consumption of birth control pills. However, beyond the birth control pill, certain medicines could also affect your period.
Various thyroid medications, antidepressants, and steroids might shorten the menstrual cycle.
The way these medications affect your menstrual cycle varies slightly. The idea is that high medications reduce the number of inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins.
The prostaglandins are a group of lipids made at sites of tissue damage or infection that are involved in dealing with injury and illness.
Prostaglandins in turn can lessen the amount of bleeding and shorten the menstrual cycle. So, check with your doctor regarding the effect of the medicines prescribed on your overall health.
Changes in your daily routine can impact your hormone levels and cause shorter menstrual cycles. Some of the reasons may be excessive exercise, weight changes, or eating disorders.
When you exercise extensively, it’s easy to burn more calories than you eat. If this goes on for a longer period, your body will enter starvation mode.
Your body will begin to use the remaining calories to perform critical functions like breathing at the expense of other functions like producing reproductive hormones. This leads to a decrease in hormonal levels and causes shorter menstrual cycles.
This is why it is important to seek professional help to get in a good exercise.
You Are Breastfeeding
Women who are breastfeeding often experience irregular periods. Breastfeeding releases hormones that affect the way a woman’s body moves through her cycles and ovulation can also be affected.
Breastfeeding could delay the ovulation process because the body is suppressing hormones by producing alpha-lactalbumin, prolactin, and lactose synthesis.
Normal menstrual cycle returns only when you reduce or stop breastfeeding but even then, it could be shorter than the normal due to the fluctuating hormones.
Take Home Message:
A shorter menstrual cycle is usually not a cause of concern if that is your average cycle time. However, if there is a change from your normal cycle duration, there may be an underlying cause. You must consult with your doctor.