Scanty period is period in which the duration of blood flow is less than two days or the amount of blood flow is less than 80ml.
Though, most women wrongly use the term to mean a decreased blood flow, even if the duration of the periods are more than 2 days. As long as it is not up to what they normally have, they term it scanty period.
So here, the term ‘scanty period’ has been used to describe both periods with a decreased blood flow, as well as periods with a duration of less than two days.
The medical term for less blood flow during periods is ‘hypomenorrhoea’. Also, when periods occur at more than a gap of 35 days, it is called ‘oligomenorrhoea’.
A gap of less than 35 days between two menstrual periods is considered normal.
Causes of Scanty Period
1. Constitutional Causes
In some women, it may be normal to have less bleeding during the menstrual periods because less blood flow for them during period may be genetic and if enquiries are made, they will find out that their mum and/or sisters also have decreased blood flow during their periods too.
Pregnancy can actually occur normally with this type of decreased flow during the periods and the incidence of infertility is the same as in women with a normal blood flow.
2. Hormonal Causes
a. Extremes of Reproductive Lives
Scanty periods can occur normally at the extremes of reproductive life – that is, just after puberty and just before menopause.
This is because ovulation is irregular at this time, and the endometrial lining fails to develop normally.
So, as an adult woman growing towards menopause, scanty period could be a sign that your menopausal time is near.
Hormonal problems at other times can also cause scanty blood flow.
c. Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCP)
Scanty menses can also occur after long term use of oral contraceptives as a result of progressive endometrial atrophy.
Complete loss of period after oral birth control pills is known as postpill amenorrhea.
d. Sheehan’s Syndrome
In a condition called Sheehan’s Syndrome, there is pituitary insufficiency leading to scanty or complete loss of periods (amenorrhea).
3. Uterine Causes
Blood flow during a period depends on the normal growth of the endometrium (internal uterine lining).
If there is a scar inside the uterus, the surface area of the endometrium may be smaller than normal.
This may cause less blood flow during the periods.
4. Emotional/Stress Causes
Sometimes psychological factors can come into play.
Emotions and stress can act on the centres in the brain that stimulate the ovaries during the ovarian cycle. If these centres in the brain are suppressed due to stress, they fail to stimulate the ovaries leading to less or no production of oestrogens and hence scanty menses or periods.
5. Other Causes
Other causes of scanty or decreased blood flow during the periods are excessive exercise, crash dieting, change in the environment (such as by changing a job), stress due to exams, excessive excitement due to an upcoming event.
Tests for the Diagnosis of Scanty Period
1. Blood Tests
Most of the common causes of decreased flow of blood during the menstrual period can be detected by blood tests.
Tests for the level of hormones like FSH, LH, oestrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormones, prolactin, insulin and androgen are important.
In polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD), there will be high levels of insulin and androgens.
An ultrasonogram can diagnose the thickness of the endometrium, size of the ovaries, growth of follicles, ovulation and other abnormalities.
3. Other Tests
Tests like MRI scan is sometimes needed to find out the cause of scanty blood flow during the periods.
Treating Scanty Period
Treatment is as per the cause of the scanty periods. A full and thorough history of previous menstrual cycles should be taken to diagnose constitutional causes.
Hormonal problems can usually be treated by prescribing hormones. If all reports are normal, assurance and a description of the process is all that is necessary.
Home Made Remedy For Scanty Monthly Period
Unripe papaya (pawpaw) helps the contractions of the muscle fibres of the uterus and is thus beneficial in securing a proper menstrual flow.
Papaya is especially helpful when menstruation ceases due to stress or fright.
The use of ginger is another effective home remedy for menstrual disorders, especially in cases of painful menstruation and stoppage of menstrual flow.
A piece of fresh ginger should be pounded and boiled in a cup of water for a few minutes. The infusion, sweetened with sugar, should be used thrice daily after meals as a medicine for treating this condition.
If you are suffering from menstrual disorder and you have tried everything possible with no success, click here to see our Menstrual Disorder Remedy Kit that has helped many women regained their period and fertility within in a matter of days.
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Plan B Wellness