Light Periods: Causes and Treatment of Less Flow during Period

Are you experiencing scant or less flow during period?  Almost all women had experienced light period every once in a while. Menstruation is the culminating part of puberty for women and the start of adolescence stage. Women on this stage usually talk about menstrual cycle and feel concern when their own menstrual cycle differs from their peers. However, menstruation problems are not just common among teenage girls but women in general have concerns about this. What is normal menstrual period anyway?

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Menstrual cycle differs greatly with every woman because several factors affect the amount of blood flow during menstruation such as diet, genetics and oral contraceptives. However, a menstrual cycle is considered normal when the interval between the two menstrual flows do not exceed 35 days and lasts within 4 to 8 days on average. That is why it is very important for women to familiarize their respective menstrual cycle taking into account the number of pads they use and the duration of the menstrual period to quickly identify once there is a change on the normal cycle. These changes may signify an underlying health problem which will be confirmed through medical consultation. But, what is light periods? Why does it happen? Are treatments available? These questions will be answered on the succeeding paragraphs.

Light Periods – Defined

Light period or scant period refers to the condition wherein a woman’s menstrual cycle is abnormal. This is characterized either by less flow during period or shorter duration than their normal period. Some women even experience both, shorter days of menstrual period and less menstrual flow. Because menstrual cycle varies with every woman, it is somehow difficult to render the exact definition of light periods but one should remember that it only occurs when a change in normal menstrual period is noticed. Besides, light period is way different from short period or spotting. Spotting is like on and off light vaginal bleeding which may occur halfway during menstrual period or sometimes takes place during the normal period. Light period, on the other hand, refers to a steady blood flow, but only lighter than the normal.

Causes of Light Periods

There are several factors that can cause scant periods to occur. Here they are.

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  • Runs in the family – less flow during period may be traced to family genetics. It is already normal for some women to have scanty period as it may have been also experienced by other members of the family, like the mother or sister.
  • Hormonal imbalance – this is also another cause of having less blood flow during menstrual period. When ovulation occurs due to hormonal imbalance such as low level of prolactin and thyroid hormone or high levels of androgen and insulin as well as other hormonal problems will result in less blood flow during menstruation.
  • Irregular ovulation – this usually occurs after puberty as well as before menopause primarily because ovulation at this time is irregular and the normal development of endometrial lining fails.
  • Extended use of oral contraceptives – use of birth control pills can also cause light periods resulting to advancing endometrial atrophy.
  • Trauma in the uterus – radiation treatment, myomectomy and Asherman’s syndrome can create scars in the uterus. Once the uterus obtains a scar, the endometrium surface (which is the interior lining of the uterus) becomes smaller than the normal. Blood flow in menstrual period relies on endometrium’s normal growth that is why when the uterus is traumatized, it results into scanty period.
  • Sheehan’s Syndrome – this refers to the condition due to pituitary deficiency resulting to scanty period or amenorrhea, which is a complete loss of menstrual period.
  • Stress and anxiety – this also plays a vital role causing light periods. The central part of the brain stirs up the ovaries during ovarian cycle to produce progesterone and estrogen hormones which are responsible for endometrial growth. Once these parts are suppressed by stress and anxiety, there is no stimulation from the brain to the ovaries to produce hormones resulting to less or completely no hormonal production thus scanty period occurs.
  • Other causes – other factors can also cause scanty periods such as crash dieting and excessive exercise; change in the environment like change of work, stress because of the upcoming exams and over excitement.


Once you’ve noticed a change in your menstrual cycle, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor to figure out the possible cause of your light periods and treatment could be initiated. There are different ways to figure out the cause of scanty period.

  • Ultra sonogram – this method is capable of diagnosing abnormalities in the uterus such as endometrial thickness, follicles growth, ovulation, sizes of both ovaries including other abnormalities.
  • Blood tests – causes of decreased blood flow is easily detected through blood tests. Oftentimes, hormonal levels are examined which includes estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, androgen, thyroid hormones, LH and FSH. In PCOD or polycystic ovarian disease, the levels of androgens and insulin are high causing scanty periods.
  • MRI and D&C – these tests are sometimes required to figure out as to what causes less flow during periods.

Treating Scant Periods

Treatment for scant periods depends on the cause of decreased blood flow during menstrual cycle. If the cause is due to hormonal imbalance, the scanty period is treated by taking prescribed hormones. The doctor usually traces down your genetic history as well as your previous menstrual cycles to figure out the underlying cause and initiate appropriate treatment. Besides, there are popular home remedies you can try which have been proven to treat scant periods naturally. These include herbal tea that contains marigold leaves or heads and ginger tea as well as carrot juice and papaya.

True, scant periods may not mean something considering that it runs in your family, or due to excessive exercise, crash diet or hormonal imbalance. But you should never undermine its occurrence because it may be an indication of other health condition such as pregnancy and impending menopause. Still, it may also be a strong indication of underlying health problems that requires a visit with your gynecologist.

Also read about heavy period flow

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  1. I’ve done scaning 4 causes of scanty and less flow period, i took the drugs as prescribed by the doctor, yet nothing happened. I’m over worried. What do i do?

  2. I’ve done scaning 4 causes of scanty and less flow period, i took the drugs as prescribed by the doctor, yet nothing happened. I’m over worried, What do i do?

    • How did you make out? I’ve missed my period since July finally got a light two day one with spotting now but doctor wants to do ultra sound to check lining.

  3. And she wants me to take a drug to make me bleed before hand, provera? Haven’t picked up tabpharmacy yet.

  4. I was on the depo shot and the last time I used it was in June’2011. I’ve just got my period in January of this year and it was very light and lasted 5 days. Now we are in february and its happening again..I am trying to get pregnant by my boyfriend and I want to get pregnant soon. What can I do about my menstrual flow being so light and a
    Am I still fertile..

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