Certain types of hormonal birth control can cause a lighter flow, as can hormone imbalances involving the thyroid or pituitary glands. Rare medical conditions like a Mullerian anomaly (a malformed uterus) or an imperforate hymen can also inhibit blood flow, according to CNN. Menopause, pregnancy or excessive exercise can also cause a woman’s period to slow or stop.
According to one CNN, a light period is one that requires only a light panty liner or light pad. Progestin-only or low-dose combination hormonal birth control pills can cause a lighter flow, as can the intrauterine device (IUD) hormonal birth control method. Some women who use an IUD eventually stop getting their period altogether, according to WebMD.
For women of a reproductive age, a light period could be an early sign of pregnancy. Some women experience light bleeding during pregnancy, while others mistake spotting – a common early sign of pregnancy – with a light flow. For women in their 40s or 50s, a light period could be a symptom of perimenopause, a period of slowed estrogen production that takes place prior to menopause.
Excessive exercise can also lead to light or even absent periods. According to WebMD, anywhere from 5 to 25 percent of female athletes stop getting their periods due to excessive amounts of physical activity. This is termed exercise-induced amenorrhea, and is especially common among runners and ballet dancers.Learn More
Dr. Heidi A. Fowler on HealthTap explains that a short, light period can mean many things, from a change in hormone levels to the start of perimenopause. Women with thyroid problems and eating disorders also can experience irregular periods.Full Answer >
Spotting, or breakthrough bleeding, in between periods is common, and many women experience it at some point in their lives, according to WebMD. Some light bleeding in between periods is usually not serious, though unusual amounts of bleeding at an atypical time during the menstrual cycle can indicate a medical problem, particularly if a woman might be pregnant. Any significant bleeding during pregnancy can signal a serious problem.Full Answer >
According to Riverside Health System, abdominal cramps with no bleeding are a common symptom of early pregnancy. The cramping pains occur when the fertilized egg settles into the uterine lining, typically within 10 to 14 days following fertilization. WebMD explains that premenstrual syndrome can also cause menstrual cramping without bleeding.Full Answer >
According to WebMD, brown-colored spotting in the place of a regular menstrual period can signify possible pregnancy, ovulation, perimenopause or polycystic ovary syndrome. In certain cases, mid-cycle spotting is harmless, but it is important for women experiencing spotting to consult with a physician to ensure a proper diagnosis.Full Answer >