Women sometimes experience changes in the menstrual cycles. Menstrual periods may get heavier or less heavy, can last longer or shorter, or the luteal phase of the cycle can vary in length. What should you do if your menstrual cycle suddenly gets shorter? Do you need to be worried?
Why is your cycle getting shorter? Changes in the menstrual cycle can have roughly three causes hormones, physical or psychological stress, or an illness. Hormones are the reason why women often notice differences in their cycle after they stop using birth control, following the birth of a baby, or as they get older and approach the menopause. Stress can halt the cycle temporarily, and by physical stress, we're referring primarily to rapid weight gain or weight loss. Reproductive conditions like endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can all interfere with a woman's menstrual cycle as well.
What should you do about your cycles changing? If you have just stopped using the pill or had a baby, there is normally no reason to be worried about a shorter cycle. It is very much possible that your menstrual cycles, including the length of your luteal phase, will be irregular for a few months before settling into a regular pattern once again. That pattern may be the same as it was before, or it could permanently change. Women who are approaching the menopause, too, have little reason to be concerned. Once you reach your late forties, cycle changes come with the territory. Women who have recently gone through a stressful period in their life, have started a workout regime, or achieved weight loss goals, can also normally wait it out and see their menstrual cycles return to normal after a while. It's women whose cycles are suddenly changing and who have no logical explanation for this that should see their doctor as soon as possible. If you also have abdominal pain, experience nausea, are often feeling fatigued, or have weird vaginal discharge, you may well have a medical condition. Get it checked out as soon as possible!