According to the Mayo Clinic, a period that lasts three days is perfectly normal. Menstrual periods may be as short as two days or as long as seven and still fall within normal limits. Generally, when a woman first begins to menstruate, her periods are longer, but they become shorter and more regular with age.Know More
The Mayo Clinic explains that a woman's menstrual cycle is defined as the time between the day when she begins one period to the day she begins the next. A typical cycle is 28 days; however, a cycle of 21 days may be normal for one woman while 35 days may be normal for the next.
According to Web MD, the length of a woman's cycle is generally less important than whether something has changed. A missed period in a sexually active woman of reproductive age often indicates pregnancy. In a woman of 40 or 50, however, it may indicate perimenopause--the period of time surrounding menopause when estrogen production begins to decrease.
Another reason for shorter or missed periods is excessive exercise. Known as exercise-induced amenorrhea, this phenomenon occurs in up to 25 percent of female athletes, and, according to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, is particularly common in women who participate in sports with a subjective component to scoring, such as gymnastics, ice-skating and ballet. Weight loss and nutritional deficiencies are common in these women as well.Learn more about Menstruation
According to health writer Rachel Gurevich for About.com, a period that is shorter than usual can be caused by minor health disturbances, such as interrupted sleeping patterns, bouts of high stress, excessive exercise or traveling. Significant weight fluctuations or illness, such as the cold or flu, can also cause short periods. A shorter period can also indicate that a woman is pregnant.Full Answer >
Feeling bloated before a period is normal for many woman, states WebMD. Hormonal changes are the likely cause for this feeling, and can also cause mood swings and tiredness.Full Answer >
Prolonged menstrual periods can be caused by a variety of factors, such as hormonal fluctuations, benign tumors in the uterus and bleeding disorders, according to Healthline. It's important for women with prolonged menstruation to consult with a physician, as heavy bleeding can cause iron depletion and lead to anemia.Full Answer >
It is normal to miss a period every now and then, according to WebMD. Some reasons a woman might skip a period include excessive exercise, emotional strain, travel or illness. The best way to encourage the body to resume menstruation is to return to normal emotional and physical activity.Full Answer >