Some of you may know, I've been wondering why my periods randomly went from 4-5 days down to 1 and 1.5 days. Not only the length shortened, but I also went from heavy to very light. That started in November of 10. Now, it's started getting heavier and more painful, but has only lengthened to 2 days. So I wonder, is that too short?
From this Feb '10 publication, my answer would be yes. An article reviewed by Dr Pat Bass states " anywhere from three to seven days of bleeding is considered normal, and each full menstrual cycle can last anywhere from 21 to 35 days. Three days of bleeding, which may seem short, is still considered normal as long as you’re menstruating regularly." So, from this short quote, that would mean as long as your periods are regular, that's okay. But, that first part stating "3 days may seem short" leaves me wondering.
As I read in Taking Charge of Your Fertility, the time span between periods allows your endometrial lining to thicken. This is what allows for a healthy implantation. If there is no implantation, that lining comes of and is shown by the thickness and length of your period. Another published article, April '11, offers some insight; "Scanty blood flow however may also occur because ovulation is irregular at this time and the endometrial lining fails to develop normally."
So does that mean my lining is too thin? What if you have a long and heavy period? Can lining actually be too tick?
From the same April article, insight to long periods is also offered.
A regular period typically lasts five days, but it is completely normal to menstruate for anywhere between three and seven days. More than a week therefore becomes abnormally long and could be due to changes in hormone levels, blood clotting or even uterus disorders.
For those with long or heavy periods every moth that has become 'normal' for their body, there is a website and medication dedicated to lightening and shortening your periods called LightenMyPeriod.com
The Long and Short Of It
It seems no matter the information you find, they all say the same thing, if it's not 'normal' for you, call your doctor after two cycles. There are a variety of factors that could cause a long or short, heavy or light period. It could be thin or thick lining, clotting disorders, pregnancy, an unknown pregnancy loss, uterine abnormalities or hormone imbalances.
What if it's all been ruled out? Work on charting or using OPK's to help confirm ovulation in order to achieve pregnancy (or avoid). If ovulation is not detected or confirmed, consider discussing a month or two on birth control with your doctor. This may help balance hormones and get your body doing what it needs to, correctly.
REMEMBER: If you fill one pad or tampon per hour for 3 hours, call your OB, Dr, or go to the ER for too much blood loss.
Article to consider: MedlinePlus - April '09