Three day period is nothing uncommon because menstrual cycle for every woman is not the same.
Some women have a longer cycle and others can have comparatively shorter ones. Generally, period lasts for five to seven days for most women in a cycle of 28 days. Having periods for 2 to 8 days is quite common. Women often start to worry if their period just lasted for 2 or 3 days. After having a routinely 7 day period, if all of a sudden you have a 3 day period, you might get all worried.
Is it normal to have a 3 day period?
A 3 day period is nothing abnormal and nothing to worry about. It is perfectly normal. It is true that most of the women usually have longer, periods but it may be so that your body is meant for having shorter and lighter periods. Not to mention it is something most women dream about and you are in luck if you have a brief period that lasts only for 3 days. However, if you usually have longer periods and unexpectedly you start having shorter periods that last for 2 to 3 days, then that’s a matter of concern. You should talk to your gynecologist who will ask you to have some tests to make sure there is nothing serious.
Causes of a Woman Suddenly Having a 3 Day Period
1. McClintock effect
What is a McClintock effect? Martha McClintock was a researcher who conducted a study on women who lived in the same house and got to know that the cycles of women living together tend to sync after a few months. It means that when you live or spend a lot of time with other women, your menstrual cycles may just sync with each other or will remain close to each other. You might be living in a hostel or sharing an apartment with other women, then there are a lot of chances that your period cycle might start matching theirs. If it happens, don’t get all worried because there is nothing wrong with this.
2. Changes in Estrogen
The level of estrogen in the body changes with the age of a woman. It is estrogen that sheds the lining of uterus every month in the form of periods. It is produced in the fat cells. If your body contains insufficient estrogen, then there will be changes in the number of days your period last or whether you even have any periods at all.
This particularly applies to young girls going through their puberty phase, women who work out too much and older women about to reach menopause. Such issues can result in three day period.
3. Birth Control Pills
Did your period just last for 3 days and you have been on birth control pills? Taking birth control pills can result in lighter and shorter period because the birth control pills take charge and start regulating your period. Your menstrual period will get stable in a few months time, but initially, it may not be that steady. Don’t be taken aback if you are having shorter periods due to birth control pills.
If you happen to use another contraceptive called the intrauterine device (IUD) that is implanted in the uterus, it could result in vaginal bleeding that mimics a short period.
Hormonal contraceptives do not let fertilization and ovulation occur which is why they slow down the periods, delay it or make it shorter and lighter.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you take hormonal contraceptives for a long time, you are at risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalance, and headaches. Talk to your doctor before taking it.
4. A health issue
If you have a disease or medical condition, it could be messing with the hormones that you need to have a normal period. In addition, the medication that you are prescribed for the illness can also cause menstrual changes. Normally, the medication will list this as a specific side effect on the side of the bottle or in the warning label.
5. Extreme Stress
Stress can do a lot of things to a woman’s body, whether mental, physical or emotional. When you are taking too much stress due to workload, relationship issues, or some other reason, the body produces cortisol and adrenaline. They inhibit the production of estrogen by the body which changes how long your period lasts. You might even start missing your period completely if you are under immense stress. It might get stable once the stress fades away. This is one of the most common reasons for having a 3 day period if you usually have a longer one.
6. Being overweight or underweight
Many people don’t know that maintaining a healthy weight is very important and even more are not aware of the fact that weight can be the reason behind irregular menstruation or even short periods.
If you have a lot of what you call fat cells, this means your body contains too much estrogen. On the contrary, if you are very skinny, it means you don’t have sufficient estrogen to keep your menstrual cycle going in a timely manner. Whether too little or too much estrogen, both can lead to inconsistent, short and irregular periods.
To counter this, you can try to eat healthy by taking balanced meals. That can be a little tough initially, but then once you get in the flow, it will be good for you in the long run. Secondly, take out some time to exercise, a minimum of 3 times in a week for at least 30 minutes.
7. Eating Disorder
Anorexia and bulimia happen to be two extremely common eating disorders. Women with eating disorders may suffer from inconsistent, irregular menstruation and even very short periods. Their period might eventually stop continuously for months. This might also suddenly result in a three day period if you tend to have longer ones normally. You can counter this by taking a balanced diet and making sure you take all the necessary nutrients needed to keep yourself healthy.
8. Strenuous exercise
When your body goes through too much physical activity, vigorous exercise, or intense training sessions, the body considers it as stress. As a result, you tend to have less frequent, irregular and as short as three day period. Due to this, athletes often have their periods stopped completely which is not considered a healthy condition.
9. Other reasons
Other reasons for suddenly having short periods can be Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Thyroid dysfunction, Premature Ovarian Failure and ovarian cysts. These conditions come with other symptoms as well. You need to remain alert about it and consult your doctor regarding such medical conditions which might require immediate medical attention.
Even environmental and external factors play a key role in shortening your periods like moving to a new place, a change of job, a loved one’s death, a breakup or some other issue.
When is a Menstrual Cycle Considered Short?
A short menstrual cycle is one which is less than 21 days. Period cycles basically depend on ovulation. When no fertilization occurs, then the body releases a hormone called the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which is responsible for shedding the lining of the uterus which was prepared for fertilization. When this hormone is produced earlier than it is supposed to be produced, then the length of menstrual cycle shortens. This could also be indicative of an issue with the reproductive system.
A short menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman. The length of days a short menstrual cycle varies is between 8 days to 20 days. Nonetheless, it remains short for the respective person. This is where tracking your cycle can be of crucial importance. It will keep you informed of how long your cycle normally is and if there are any changes in it.
What counts as a normal menstruation?
A normal period cycle ranges between 21 to 35 days and normal periods which vary from woman to woman continues for as short as 3 days and as long as 7 days. A three day period is although short but it is normal as far as you menstruate regularly for 3 days. It just means it is your pattern.
If this is your steady pattern, then everything is under control and all is good. It simply means that after every few weeks, ovulation occurs and ovary releases the egg. The hormones that control the menstrual cycle start thickening the uterine lining called the endometrium, which sheds in the form of menstruation in case fertilization doesn’t happen.
And when you suddenly have a short period that gets you all worried may have different reasons. Read on to get to know why you might be a having such a short period.
Does a 3 day Period mean you Are Pregnant?
It is true that you cannot have periods if you are pregnant, but one of the earliest signs of pregnancy is implantation which leads to some bleeding. Many women mistake it for periods. Implantation occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall and makes placenta. When the fertilized egg tries to make space for itself, he uterus sheds a bit of its lining resulting in a little bleeding. At this point, you will experience spotting similar to a period, but very much lighter compared to periods.
Did you have unprotected sex and you are going through some spotting around the time when your period is due? Is the spotting brownish or pinkish in color? Then there is a big possibility that you might be pregnant. Implantation bleeding usually ends after 2 or 3 days but doesn’t linger more than that. To confirm, you should visit a doctor and take a pregnancy test.
When to see a gynecologist If You Experience a Short Period?
If you happen to notice signs of pregnancy because you had one to three day bleeding around the date when your period was due, then there are great chances you might be pregnant. Go to a gynecologist and confirm it by taking a pregnancy test.
In case you get to know you are not pregnant. Then think about other causes like the use of contraceptives. There is nothing wrong with having one menstrual cycle that is a little odd. This could be due to an injury, immense stress or maybe a medical condition. In case, your period continues to remain odd and suddenly three day period becomes a pattern for you when longers ones were the usual for you, then it is high time you see a doctor. Short periods are usually nothing to worry about, but visit a doctor if menstrual irregularities become a routine thing.
Maintain a proper track record of your periods by taking note of the number of days it lasts, whether the blood flow was heavy or light so that you can tell your doctor about it and he can tell you what exactly went wrong. You can easily keep a track of your period in a calendar, journal or let a period app do it for you.
Should I Worry?
Usually, there is nothing to worry about if you have three day period or simply a short period. Generally, when girls start getting their periods, their cycles tend to be irregular. However, the menstrual cycle becomes consistent, regular and stable with age and it gets short until menopause for older ladies.
If you have a menstrual cycle below 21 days or more than 35 days and remains persistent, then there is something to worry about.
How to Manage It?
How you deal with it depends on the cause of such a short period. You can only figure that out by visiting a doctor.
If a short period is caused by some external factor, it will usually get stable on its own after a few months. Some of the things that you can do are:
- Reduce stress
- Do a little exercise every day
- Maintain a balanced diet and healthy weight
- Try relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation.
- For problems like thyroid issue, medication and hormonal therapy is needed.
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