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Hypomenorrhea. Very Light Period

Hypomenorrhea (also known as light period, short period or scanty period) is a menstrual disorder, characterized by light menstrual bleeding with blood loss less than the physiological range (less than 50 ml). Hypomenorrhea is often followed by oligomenorrhea (a markedly diminished menstrual flow or shortened menstrual period) or precedes amenorrhea (abnormal absence of menstruation). It can serve as a manifestation of physiological states (when a girl goes through puberty or during menopause) or various pathological conditions of the female reproductive system.

Hypomenorrhea (light, short or scanty periods)

At the end of a menstrual cycle, the top layer of the endometrium in the uterine cavity tears away, and this is manifested in the form of monthly menstrual bleeding – bleeding from the genital tract, containing the torn off mucous membrane, vaginal secretions and cervical mucus. Under normal conditions, menstrual bleeding is painless or slightly painful and lasts for 3 to 5 days with an interval of 21 to 35 days and amount of blood lost from 50 to 150 ml. Reduction in normal menstruation levels is regarded as a form of menstrual disorder called hypomenstrual syndrome.

Weakening of menstruation may manifest in the form of the following:

  • hypomenorrhea (light periods) – reduced amount of menstrual blood lost (less than 50 ml);
  • oligomenorrhea –  shortened menstrual period (less than 3 days) ;
  • opsomenorrhea (bradymenorrhea) – menses come extremely rarely (an interval of 5-8 weeks);
  • spaniomenorrhea – extremely long menstrual cycle (menses come 2-4 times per year).

Hypomenorrhea and oligomenorrhea often occur together and precede a slowdown in menses (opsomenorrhea and spaniomenorrhea) or complete absence of menstruation (amenorrhea).

Primary hypomenstrual syndrome manifests in teenage girls (from the moment their menstrual cycle is established) with congenital anomalies of the reproductive system, fatigue, delayed development (general development and sexual development), etc. Secondary hypomenstrual syndrome is characterized by a sharp decrease in the duration, frequency and volume of previous normal menstruation.

Hypomenorrhea symptoms (scanty menses)

When a woman is having hypomenorrhea, her menses look like light or dark brown traces or drops of blood. The duration of menstruation for scanty menses is preserved or shortened against a normal two-phase menstrual cycle.

Delayed menstruation and hypomenorrhea may be accompanied by headaches, nausea, chest tightness, back pain, indigestion or constipation. The menstruation itself may be accompanied by severe pain and spastic uterine contractions. Some patients with scanty (light) menses experience nosebleeds accompanying each menstruation. Light menses are usually accompanied by a decrease in the secretion of estrogen and, as a result, reduced libido and reproductive function.

However, hypomenorrhea most often proceeds painlessly, and almost imperceptibly to a woman, without causing her much anxiety.

Occurrence of hypomenorrhea during puberty or premenopause is actually a sign of natural age-dependent hormonal changes in the body and not a sign of pathology. However, when hypomenorrhea and other hypomenstrual syndrome manifestations occur during the reproductive phase, then it is a sign of serious illness in the genital and other body systems. Careful and thorough examination is needed to find out the cause.

Causes of light (scanty) periods

Hypomenorrhea occurs during the reproductive period mainly as a result of malfunction in the pituitary gland or ovaries regulating menstrual function. Hypomenorrhea can also be caused by inadequacy of endometrium in the uterus due to intrauterine manipulations (frequent scraping and abortion) and inflammatory diseases (tuberculosis). Malfunction in the cyclic production of hormones leads to insufficient blood circulation in the uterus and inadequate changes in the endometrium, which is eventually manifested in the form of scanty (light) menses.

Main factors triggering the development of light periods:

  • sharp weight loss caused by malnutrition, diet, anorexia, exhausting physical exercise;
  • hypovitaminosis (vitamin deficiencies), anemia, metabolic disorders;
  • mental disorders, overload and stress;
  • injury and surgery in the urogenital tract ;
  • genital hypoplasia, partial surgical removal of the uterus;
  • wrongly chosen or used hormonal contraceptives;
  • endocrine diseases;
  • lactation;
  • tuberculous lesions of the genital tract and other infectious diseases;
  • impact of occupational hazards (chemicals, radiation);
  • intoxication.

Diagnosis and treatment of hypomenorrhea (light period)

A woman should see a gynecologist for consultation and medical exam in order to identify the causes of her light period and assess the risk this condition poses to her health. The scheme for examining a patient with hypomenorrhea includes a careful collection of medical history, full pelvic examination, analysis of vaginal swabs for cytology studies, bacterial inoculation and PCR diagnosis of genital infections, assessment of the basal body temperature chart, identification of sex hormones in the blood and urine, ultrasound evaluation of the uterus and ovaries, biopsy and histological examination of the endometrium.

Hypomenorrhea treatment will depend on the results obtained in the course of diagnosis. In those cases where hypomenorrhea was caused by disorders in nutrition, physical activity and psycho-emotional balance, the remedial measures applied are to correct them. Vitamins, hormones, and specific anti-microbials are prescribed according to indications. In hypomenorrhea therapy, treating the underlying disease and carrying out restorative measures are most recommended. In the treatment of hypomenorrhea, good results are achieved by taking homeopathic medicines, whose effect is similar to that of natural hormones. When hypomenorrhea is accompanied by depression, general weakness, apathy, headaches, and frigidity, the patient requires physical therapy and psychotherapeutic treatment aimed at addressing functional disorders.

During lactation and premenopause, special treatment is not required for light (scanty) periods.