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Why's My Period Blood Not Coming Out Properly?

Why's My Period Blood Not Coming Out Properly?

Written by Yoppie

03 Dec 2021

What’s going on inside?

My period is super light. Is it coming out properly? 

What could my light period mean? 

What if I just have light periods? 

If your flow seems more tortoise than hare these days, and your period blood doesn't seem to be coming out "properly," you may be wondering... what’s taking so long? Whether it’s generally lighter periods or you’re convinced your blood is getting stuck on its journey somehow, we’re answering all your questions right here.

What’s going on inside?

Menstruation is when the uterus lining thickens in anticipation of pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, your estrogen and progesterone levels fall, letting your body know it’s free to expel that excess uterine lining. It comes away from the inside of the uterus and exits the cervix and then the vagina in the form of blood and tissue. For some, there is just a little blood lasting a couple of days. For others, this could be more blood lasting up to a week. 

My period is super light. Is it coming out properly? 

If you’re worried that your period is getting stuck somewhere inside, this is likely not the case. Sometimes menstrual blood can be slow in moving through your system, and many people report the feeling of some sort of obstruction in the abdomen that could be delaying their flow. This seems to be a common feeling, but it is unlikely that your period blood won’t show up eventually, even if it takes a little longer. 

In some cases, you could have a lighter period thanks to something called retrograde menstruation. (No, it’s nothing to do with your horoscope!) Retrograde menstruation is when blood flows through the fallopian tubes and into the peritoneum (the tissue that lines your abdominal wall) rather than through the cervix and vagina. Usually, there are no symptoms for this except possible pain during menstruation, so retrograde menstruation sounds scarier than it is. It can be associated with endometriosis, so it’s unlikely to cause you problems unless you suffer from endo.  

What could my light period mean? 

There are a number of reasons you could be experiencing lighter periods. Here are a few of the main ones:

  • Your age: As you get older, you may experience a heavier period in your 30s and 40s, which eventually becomes lighter during perimenopause. 
  • Weight changes: If you lose a large amount of weight quickly, you may notice your periods become lighter or stop altogether, as your body fat level becomes too low and ovulation stops. This can be common in those who exercise to excess or suffer from eating disorders. If you believe this could be the case for you, don’t delay speaking to your GP to get the help you need. 
  • Pregnancy: It is often thought that pregnancy causes periods to stop altogether, but in many cases it can simply cause lighter periods. Implantation bleeding can also be mistaken for a lighter period, so if you think this could be causing your lighter periods it’s best to take a test to make sure. 
  • Breastfeeding: Those who choose to breastfeed may notice their periods don’t come back immediately after giving birth due to the milk production hormone, or they may come back lighter than before. 
  • Birth control: If you start using hormonal birth control you may notice your periods become lighter, as the hormone levels in birth control are low and don’t cause the uterus lining to thicken. 
  • Thyroid conditions: Your thyroid has more influence over your menstrual cycle than you might think, and too much or too little thyroid hormone can sometimes cause periods to become very light or even stop for months at a time. 
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Lighter periods can be caused by PCOS, due to hormone changes, possible weight changes, and more. If you believe you have other PCOS symptoms such as excess body hair, skin issues or fertility problems, speak to your doctor to get the necessary medication and treatment. 
  • Stress: Yes, excessive stress can affect hormones and interrupt your flow, making it lighter or even stop altogether. And the rumours are true; the stress of the pandemic could be to blame, with the National Institute of Mental Health stating that Covid anxiety could bring on stress, changes in eating/sleeping habits, heightened chronic health issues, and more. All of these can affect the speed and intensity of your flow. 

What if I just have light periods? 

Having a light period doesn’t have to be a sign of something bad! Most people’s periods are around 2-3 tablespoons of blood, but light periods are often referred to as hypomenorrhea (meaning abnormally low bleeding) and this often leads to significantly less than 30mls of blood per cycle. In many cases, there could be hormonal issues behind this, so if you have gone from a normal period to a much lighter one, it’s best to check with your GP to make sure everything is A-OK. If it is, then lighter periods are nothing to worry about, as there is no correlation between lighter periods and fertility issues.

Got questions about your light periods? We’re always happy to help answer them. Join in the conversation on our Full Stop FB group, or ask us your Qs on Instagram at @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised period box can get organic tampons, period cramp supplements and much more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, so you'll never be stuck without the essentials - whatever your flow.

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