What It Really Means When Your Period Is Lighter Than Usual

Many people would love to have a light period. A light period may be shorter than usual or require fewer changes of hygiene products. The flow may even resemble spotting, according to Medical News Today. Regardless, it surely beats the struggles that often come with heavy bleeding. However, the relief may be accompanied by some degree of anxiety as you wonder why your period is different this month, especially if you're not one of the roughly 15% of women who regularly experience light periods (per Obstetrics & Gynaecology).

The good news is that a light period is rarely anything to worry about. It is normal for people to have variations in their menstrual cycles, with some months being lighter and less painful than others (per Office on Women's Health). This is especially the case if you're in your 30s or 40s. Gynecologist Kimberly Einhorn tells Main Line Health that roughly 60% of women over 40 start having lighter periods. "Just enjoy having a cycle that's a little easier to handle," she says. That being said, there are some other potential causes of light periods that you should be aware of.

Potential causes of light periods

Stress can wreak havoc on your hormones, potentially leading to a light period. The same is true for being extremely underweight. Exercising too much can also cause a light period, often through a combination of stress and low body weight, according to Healthline.

It is normal to have light periods if you are breastfeeding or on birth control. Occasionally, what seems to be a light period may actually be implantation bleeding, which is an early sign of pregnancy, so if you're sexually active and experience a period that's lighter than usual, it may be time for a pregnancy test (per Medical News Today).

In some cases, consistently light periods may be a sign of a medical condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, PCOS leads a woman to have abnormally high levels of male sex hormones. Other symptoms of PCOS include acne, facial hair, excess body hair, thinning hair, and weight gain, especially around the belly. Healthline recommends consulting your doctor if you have irregular periods, have other concerning symptoms, or think that you may be pregnant.