Your menstrual flow won’t always be the same month-to-month. However, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, a significantly lighter-than-normal cycle may indicate other health conditions. Here, the women’s health and hormone expert offers insight on reasons your period may lighten up without warning.
Q: Can a woman still have a period when she’s pregnant?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely. Although the vast majority of women stop bleeding, many experience lights or irregular spotting in the early days of pregnancy. Furthermore, an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage may be mistaken for a menstrual period.
Q: How does weight play a part in a woman’s cycle?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Our bodies learn to acclimate and adjust our hormone levels based on a number of factors, including weight. When a woman gains – or loses – a significant number of pounds, her hormones may effectively freak out. This can result in lighter, shorter periods or can stop them altogether.
Q: Do periods naturally get lighter with age?
Marla Ahlgrimm: As a woman reaches her late 30s and early 40s, she is on the cusp of menopause. Perimenopause can last up to a decade before a woman’s cycle finally calls it quits. During this time, bleeding may increase or decrease or can come at differing intervals. It’s important to note, however, that absentee bleeding should be discussed with a healthcare professional if it happens before your 40th birthday.
Q: What are some medical conditions that could alter a woman’s menstrual cycle?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Any condition that affects your hormones or put you under significant stress can affect your menstrual cycle. Women who have undergone a D&C procedure or who lost a great deal of blood during childbirth may have lighter periods due to scar tissue and pituitary gland damage respectively. Rarely, cervical stenosis is to blame. This is a condition where the cervix narrows and prevents full blood flow.