Our monthly friend or not so monthly friend is always surprising us and changing. Understanding what is considered “normal” for your period and your body is no easy feat.

But trust me when I say that you are not alone!

If you’ve noticed that your period is lighter than what you consider to be “normal” for you and your body, there could be a whole list of that reasons for the change in your cycle that results in a lighter period.

If you’re like me, every time I experience something new during my period, whether it be cramps, insomnia, a headache, or nauseous, the first thing I do is go straight to the Internet to see what is going on with me.

So, let’s take a look at some potential reasons why you may be experiencing a lighter period.

1. It could just mean your period is lighter 

A White woman with brown hair and bangs saying, "Monthly vistor? You can say period." to a man.
[Image Description: A White woman with brown hair and bangs saying, “Monthly vistor? You can say period.” to a man.] Via Giphy
Your cycle can be super unpredictable! Sometimes your period just changes for no rhyme or reason. Over the years, our periods change flows and symptoms. For example, some months, I have painful cramps for a few days, and other months it is not that bad.  And sometimes, similar instability like this occurs with your flow. Fun right?

However, if you are concerned, you should consider visiting a doctor. I also recommend keeping track of your period in your notes or calendar on your phone!  Write a note on the start date and end date of your cycle. Also, you should try to note changes or details about your period that you have questions about. This can help you voice your concerns to a physician and keep a good track of what is happening with your body!

2. Experiencing a lack of ovulation

A White woman in a wedding dress and veil running to a man screaming, "Code red!"
[Image Description: A White woman in a wedding dress and veil running to a man screaming, “Code red!”] Via Giphy
A lighter flow could mean that you are not ovulating or releasing an egg. This can cause irregular periods and lighter period flows. When you do not release an egg, it is called anovulation, which is caused by an imbalance of hormones. Anovulation can range in severity and chronic anovulation is a cause of infertility. If you think this could be the case, it is best to see a physician.

3. Fluctuation in your weight and exercise

A White woman holding a tampon in her left hand upside down and from the string. She dangles it back and forth. The bottom of the gif says, "That time of the month." A tiny white drawing of a calendar appear in the right corner.
[Image Description: A White woman holding a tampon in her left hand upside down and from the string. She dangles it back and forth. The bottom of the gif says, “That time of the month.” A tiny white drawing of a calendar appears in the top right corner.] Via Giphy
Weight gain, weight loss, and changes in your exercise routine can all contribute to a lighter flow or even cause you to skip your regular monthly period. Especially if you think the change is sudden or in a short period of time. If you have gained weight, hormonal imbalance and other stressors can lead to a light cycle. If you have lost weight, stress can also alter your hormones levels and result in a lighter flow.

4. Age and early signs of menopause

Five purple tampons applicators lined up at the bottom of the gif. The tampon is fired out of each applicator one by one.
[Image Description: Five purple tampons applicators lined up at the bottom of the gif. The tampon is fired out of each applicator one by one.] Via Giphy
Age is an important factor when it comes to your period. It is no surprise that your period does not stay the same throughout your entire life. For example, in my teens I never experienced any cramps. But now I am not so lucky. Like I said before, a lighter flow could just be a lighter flow.  It does not necessarily mean that you are premenopausal. So, just make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself and make assumptions too quickly!However, menopause could be the reason why you are experiencing a lighter flow and saving money on period products. Menopause typically occurs when you are in your 40s, but it can occur in your 30s as well. Menopause can last anywhere from two to eight years.  Perimenopause is the first stage of menopause. It is when your body will start slowly producing less estrogen. In addition to changes in your flow, menopause symptoms include difficulty sleeping, hot flashes, changes in your sex drive, and joint pains.

5. The hormones in your birth control

A gif from the show That's So Raven. Raven is saying,"OH SNAP!" The bottom of the gif says, "When you forget to take your birth control."
[Image Description: A gif from the show That’s So Raven. Raven is saying,”OH SNAP!” The bottom of the gif says, “When you forget to take your birth control.”] Via Giphy
Ah, birth control. We all know that multiple methods of hormonal birth control can cause a whole boat load wanted and unwanted changes to our bodies. It can do nice things like help acne, cramps, and irregular periods. However, it can also cause changes in our weight, mood, and breasts. Hormonal changes from birth control can cause of a lighter period. It is typically considered usual to experience a lighter flow, small amounts of blood, or even skip a period cycle altogether.

6. You could be experiencing stress

A Black woman holding a bowl pasta and a fork, while saying "Menstruation."
[Image Description: A Black woman holding a bowl pasta and a fork, while saying “Menstruation.”] Via Giphy
Life is often filled with ups and downs that can cause you stress. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable sometimes! Stress can have unexpected effects on your body.  If you have been stressed at work or school, a lighter period could be how your body is responding to what is going on in your life.  If you are feeling stressed, try doing something that relaxes you and brings you joy!  Watch some Netflix or order your favorite takeout! You deserve it!

7. You may be pregnant

The actress Shay Mitchell holding up a pregnancy test. She pretending to be shocked because is visibly pregnant in the gif.
[Image Description: The actress Shay Mitchell holding up a pregnancy test and saying “I’m Pregnant!” She pretending to be shocked because is visibly pregnant in the gif.] Via Giphy
In mainstream media, we are accustomed to seeing women realizing that they missed their periods as a sign of pregnancy. Despite this dominant portrayal, a lighter period or light spotting can be a sign of pregnancy as well. So, if you can experience a light period and you believe that there is any possibility that you could be pregnant, you can always take a pregnancy test or see a doctor!

8. After pregnancy

I woman holding her baby while walking in living room at night. The gif says, "Sleep?...ahhhh I remember sleep."
[Image Description: I woman holding her baby while walking in living room at night. The gif says, “Sleep?…ahhhh I remember sleep.”] Via Giphy
After pregnancy, you can also experience a lighter period for two reasons. The first is you can lose a lot of blood during or after childbirth. The loss of blood deprives your body of oxygen. This can damage your pituitary gland and cause Sheenan syndrome.  Sheenan syndrome can affect your hormone levels and other parts of your body. This includes the hormones that control your menstrual cycle.Secondly, breastfeeding after pregnancy can contribute to you having a lighter period.  The production of milk can prevent your body from ovulating and affect your cycle.

9. Other medical conditions

A white woman lying down on the couch with heating pad over lower stomach. She is saying, "I was sabotaged by my baby box."
[Image Description: A  woman lying down on the couch with heating pad over lower stomach. She is saying, “I was sabotaged by my baby box.”] Via Giphy
Numerous medical conditions can contribute to your period being lighter. This includes cervical stenosis when your cervix becomes narrow or closes up. There is also polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) when your ovaries produce too much androgen. Or even hyperthyroidism, which causes issues with your heart, blood pressure, and more.
Overall, a lighter period does not have to mean that something is wrong necessarily. But if you feel that something is not right, trust yourself and talk to your doctor. I know it’s easy to forget, but it is important to note changes in your cycle and keep track of what is happening with your body!
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Tatayana Allen

By Tatayana Allen

Editorial Fellow