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Extreamly light period
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An_250424 posted:
My period is normally irregular, but for the past three months I have either missed my period or have an extreamly light flow. I have taken three pregnancy test and they have all come out negative. Is this normal?
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Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear An: Once pregnancy is ruled out there are several POSSIBLE explanations for a "too-light" flow" in a woman not using hormonal forms of birth control:

1. Lowered estrogen levels--this is more likely to be the case in a woman around the time of menopause.

2. Elevated prolactin levels---prolactin is produced from the pituitary gland. Levels can be elevated from a benign pituitary adenoma or from certain psychiatric medications.

3. Missed ovulations--with a missed ovulation the lining of the uterus does not shed all at once. This can result in a missed flow, a too-light flow (just part of the top layer is shed), or even prolonged/erratic flows.

The most likely explanation would be missed ovulations, but after three months of absent flows it is time to get an accurate diagnosis from a GYN or even your local, county family planning clinic.

Finally, if you are using some type of hormonal birth control (eg pill/patch/NuvaRing, DepoProvera injection,MIrena IUD) the reason for too light flows is very different. Once pregnancy is ruled out (because even very reliable forms of birth control can fail) the usual explanation for a too-light flow is as follows.

Simply stated, if the uterine lining is like grass or lawn, estrogen is like the fertilizer (causes thickening of the lining ), and progesterone is like the lawnmower (keeps the lining thin by three different mechanisms). This is why DepoProvera (high dose synthetic progesterone) brings about a thin lining, and why birth control pills (relatively progesterone dominant) bring about shorter, lighter periods. Over time, the lining can get thinner and thinner so there is less and less to be shed as a flow.

If you are on hormonal birth control, missed periods can be "normal". Yet, if you personally want to have more of a bleed, your GYN can change the formulation or brand to given more flow.

Yours,
Jane


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