Definition - What does Short Period mean?
A short period can be defined as a menstrual period occurring at intervals of greater than 35 days and/or lasting less than 3 days. A normal menstrual period can last anywhere between 3 to 7 days and is part of the menstrual cycle, which on the average is 28 days long.
A cycle is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period. A short period may be normal for some women provided their menstruation pattern is regular and similar each month, whereas, for others, a short period might signal a serious gynecological or medical issue. Women with shorter periods may have lower fertility rates.
FertilitySmarts explains Short Period
Normally, menstrual bleeding is the result of monthly shedding of the uterine lining called endometrium, which occurs when an egg is not fertilized.
Prior to shedding, the endometrium thickens in response to estrogen and progesterone released from the ovary. Sometimes, an insufficient or unbalanced production of one or both of these hormones interferes with the endometrial thickening, resulting in lighter and/or shorter periods. A few important causes include:
- Beginning years of puberty
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - the ovaries may fail to produce a mature ovarian follicle that releases female hormones
- Birth control pills or devices
- Being underweight or having a poor diet - estrogen production regulates the body weight as well as the menstrual cycle
- Performing intense exercises
- Eating disorders cause poor weight gain and hormonal imbalance
If any of the above-listed conditions are found along with shorter periods, the doctor will perform relevant tests to determine the underlying cause and treat accordingly.
Hormonal imbalances in women with shorter periods can interrupt the normal growth and maturation of the follicles and eggs and thereby affect ovulation. This, in turn, has a negative impact on the reproductive potential.