A lot of women, confuse their period length with their cycle length. They are two different things.
A menstrual cycle is the series of events that take place in a female's reproductive system to make pregnancy possible. The first day of your period or menses is the first day of your cycle.
A normal cycle is usually between 21-35 days long. A cycle less than 21 days is a short cycle. And a cycle greater than 35 days is a long cycle.
So what does a shortened cycle mean and what causes it?
What is a Short Period Cycle?
A short period cycles is a cycle length shorter than 21 days. If you can seem to go for 21 days without having a period, then you may have a shortened menstruation cycle.
It is widely believed that a normal cycle is 28 day long. But this is not true. A normal cycle length ranges between 21-35 days long.
Every woman's makeup is different and so also is your cycle length. Even two sisters can have 2 different cycle duration.
But it is important to know that the length of your cycle says a lot about your fertility.
According to a study conducted by the university of Boston, it was discovered that women with short cycles have a lower chance of getting pregnant. And may suffer from infertility.
what Causes a Short Cycle?
It may be caused by any of the following:
1. Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal fluctuations or imbalances is a major contributor to changes in a females mensuration cycle.
The two main hormones that controls the mensuration cycle are the estrogen or progesterone hormone.
The estrogen hormone is dominant in the first phase also known as the follicular phase.
The follicular phase ends when ovulation occurs. The luteal phase(second phase) starts immediately after ovulation.
The estrogen hormone starts to decline fast after ovulation and the progesterone hormone level starts to increase rapidly.
The progesterone hormone is the dominant hormone in the second phase.
The purpose of the progesterone hormone is to thickened the uterus lining to enable implantation and pregnancy to be possible.
The estrogen in the first phase starts the growth of the uterine lining before the progesterone hormone takes over in the second phase to thicken it.
If no fertilisation occurs after ovulation. The lining of the uterus is shed as blood in the next 2 weeks.
Women with shorten than usual follicular phase may find out that they ovulate early(ovulation less than 9 days) and therefore have an early period as well.
Stress is a common culprit of irregular or abnormal periods. Stress can lengthen or shorten one's period or cycle if left untreated.
Anxiety and stress can disrupt the order and regular functioning of a females reproductive organs and hormones.
The stress hormone, cortisol affects the production of estrogen. As we know, the estrogen and progesterone hormone are both responsible for a normal cycle coordination.
According to a study conducted on female nurses, it was discovered that there is a link between stress and anovulation, longer cycles, shorter cycles.
The study showed that nurses in high stressful situation with low or no control of their tasks or decisions are more likely to have a shorter cycle.
Also painful mensuration has also been linked to stress.
Perimenopause is a phase between 0-10 years before a woman's reaches menopause or ends her monthly cycle.
Some common peri-menopausal symptoms are: hormonal fluctuations, shorter or longer periods, shorter or longer cycles, hot flashes, vaginal dryness.
You may even experience cycles where you do not ovulate.
All these is due to the rising and falling of the level of estrogen hormone.
Perimenopause usually starts at age 40 to finish in early 50's. Although some women in their mid thirties may start have lots or perimenopausal symptoms.
4. Gynaecological Health Conditions
Health conditions and disorder such as endometriosis, over active thyroid gland, Polycystic ovarian syndrome can lead to early periods, irregular periods and painful menses.
Some medications and medical treatments have side effects on your period duration. They can either shorten it or lengthen your period or menses cycle.
6. Environmental Factors
External and environmental factors can cause your cycle to be shorter than usual. For instance, travelling a long distance, moving to a new city, the loss of a loved one, heartbreak or even a divorce can all affect your monthly cycles. Even a change in jobs or working conditions can contribute to an abnormal cycle duration.
is short period a sign of pregnancy
It is possible to mistake implantation bleeding for a short period. Implantation bleeding occurs when the embryo attaches its self to the lining of the uterus. Implantation may be accompanied by cramps or bleeding.
The difference between bleeding at implantation and period is that implantation bleeding is lighter, scanty and last for 1-2 days.
Are 24 day cycle Normal?
Every woman's makeup is different. A normal period ranges between 21 days-35 days. While it is difficult to say what is normal, a 24 day cycle is normal and ovulating shouldn't be a problem.
Are 14 days cycle normal?
A 14 day cycle is abnormal and it means you see your period twice a month. If at all you ovulate, the egg produced will be immature and will make getting pregnant difficult.
See your doctor for a proper diagnosis, why your period is so short.
Why is my menstrual cycle getting shorter?
It is possible for you period to become shorter and lighter as you grow older. As women get older their cycle tends to shorten especially the first phase(follicular Phase).
A decrease in ovarian reserves occurs as women approaches peri-menopause.
Also hormonal imbalances and disruption may make your cycle shorter.
What causes a 21 day cycle
Your cycle may get shorter as you grow older. This is expected.
A shortened cycle may be due to peri-menopause, stress, serious health problems such as endometriosis, ovarian decline or failure or even an imbalance of hormones(estrogen and progesterone).
Lifestyle and changes to diet can either affect your cycle negatively or positively.
Side effects for medications and medicines may also cause your cycle to get shorter.
Why is my periods getting lighter and shorter?
A shorter and lighter period may mean pregnancy. As bleeding during implantation is often mistaken for a normal period. Imbalance of hormones, stress, anxiety, perimenopause may cause you to consistently have a short, scanty and lighter period each month than usual.