Hypomenorrhea also known as scanty menstruation is a medical condition that is characterized by extremely light flow of blood during menstruation and the duration of menstruation may be shortened also; it is the opposite of menorrhagia which is characterized by heavy flow of blood during menstruation.
For a menstrual flow to be categorized as scanty; it has to be less than 80ml or the duration less than two days.
This can occur as a common side effect of hormonal contraception methods such as IUDs, oral contraceptive pills or Depo-Provera, which is a hormonal implant that release hormones. These drugs can cause scanty menstruation because they contain relatively low levels of estrogen and this reduces the growth of the endometrium; this leads to relatively low endometrium which is shed during menstruation.
This condition can occur at any time of a woman’s life; most especially just after puberty and just before menopause, this is because at these times ovulation is irregular and the linings of the endometrium develop abnormally.
This abnormal type of menstruation can also be caused by low levels of thyroid hormones, high level of prolactin, high level of insulin, high level of androgen and other hormonal problems can cause this.
Medical conditions that can cause this menstrual disorder
- Hereditary: This condition can be inherited; so a lady is at risk of having this if her mother or grandmother has it or if it runs in the family.
- Low body fat: When the level of fat in the body drops below a certain level it can lead to scanty periods and in some cases amenorrhea (lack of menstruation in a woman). Eating disorders, crash dieting and intense exercises can cause low body fat.
- Pregnancy: Some women still experience vaginal bleeding during the first few months of their pregnancy and this can be due to implantation.
- Asherman’s syndrome: Also known as intrauterine adhesions; scanty periods or no periods at all are signs and symptoms of this disease and the degree of menstrual deficiency is closely related to the extent of the adhesions.
- Polycystic ovarian symptoms (PCOS): If a woman has PCOS, her ovaries will not produce sufficient amount of the hormones needed to keep the period regular; it will also lead to irregular ovulation which will make the lining of the uterus not to develop properly.
- Psychogenic factors: Nervousness, physical and emotional stress can trigger Hypomenorrhea; these psychogenic factors suppress the activities of the areas in the brain that stimulates the ovaries during ovulation to secrete hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This will result in low production of these hormones and the flow of blood will also be affected during menstruation.
- Premature ovarian failure: Also known as ovarian hypo function; this condition is defined as loss of normal ovarian function before the age of 40. The menstrual circle may become sporadic or cease before the age of 40.
- Hormonal imbalance: Problems involving hormones such as low thyroid levels, hyperprolactinemia, high insulin and androgen level can cause scanty periods.
- Perimenopause and menopause: Perimenopause is time that leads up to menopause; as it progresses towards menopause it is normal for hormones to fluctuate and for blood flow to become scanty and irregular. While at menopause, menstruation ceases.
- Uterine: When the endometrial cavity has been reduced in size during myomectomy or other plastic operations on the uterus; it can lead to scanty bleeding during menstruation because the bleeding surface is smaller than normal.
- Sheehan’s syndrome: This condition occurs in women who have heavy blood loss after childbirth; this condition can lead to pituitary insufficiency. Failure of the pituitary gland to secrete adequate hormones can leads to scanty period or loss of period.
- Other medical conditions that can cause this are anemia, pelvic inflammatory disease, long term use of birth control pills, enlarged uterus, excessive exercise and abortion.
How is Hypomenorrhea diagnosed?
This menstrual disorder can be diagnosed using:
- Blood tests: A sample of the patient’s blood is taken and the levels of hormones are checked; the hormones include follicle stimulating hormones, luteinizing hormones, estrogen, prolactin and insulin.
- Ultra sonogram: This test is used to check the thickness of the endometrium, the size of the ovaries growth of follicles, ovulation and other abnormalities.
- Other tests used to determine the cause of scanty flow of blood during menstruation are dilation and curettage (D&C) and MRI scans.
How is Hypomenorrhea treated?
This condition cannot be treated successfully without knowing and addressing the root cause; so effective treatment depends on the diagnosis and if the root cause is handled, the flow of blood can get back to normal. If this condition is caused by puberty or menopause, no treatment can reverse it.
Are they natural remedies for this condition?
Ginger: This powerful herb speeds up regular periods; it prevents scanty periods and the pains that come along with it.
Marigold: This plant treats scanty menstruation and reduces the pain and inflammation; you can take the tea when on your period.
Sesame seeds: These are one of the most effective home remedies for scanty periods. You can make soup with it or ingest the oil.
Zinc rich foods: Zinc helps in maintaining the levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone throughout a menstrual circle; rich sources of zinc are oysters, spinach, raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
Cinnamon: It correct light period and calms pain and inflammation.
Iron: This mineral supports and increases the level of blood in the body; this will prevent anemia and scanty periods. Good sources of iron are red meat, oysters, liver, pumpkin seeds, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables.
Water: Dehydration can lead to scanty periods; it increases the severity of the pain and it weakens the capacity to endure. Take lots of water before and during your period.
Aloe vera: This plant stands out in treating irregular periods; take two cups of aloe vera juice daily when you are on your period.
Papaya: Unripe papaya can help with scanty periods; it helps in the contraction of the uterine walls and reduces pain during menstruation. When on your period, consume unripe papaya several times a day.
Sugarcane juice: The juice of sugarcane lessens scanty menstrual flow; to make it more effective; twelve days before your period starts, take sugar juice every day.
Fennel: This seeds can improve the flow of blood and this is why it is used as a home remedy for scanty periods.
Asafetida: This is a great home remedy for light periods; it increases the amount of progesterone which treats irregular and scanty period and it is beneficial for the female reproductive organs.
Flaxseeds: This seeds helps in correcting the levels of prostaglandins which can lead to scanty periods and they also reduce pain and inflammation.
Red grape juice: Red grape juice increases the levels of hemoglobin and the red blood cells; it treats scanty menstruation. Take 8 tablespoons of this juice thrice daily for a month.
Chamomile: It corrects light periods; it relieves pains, stress and anxiety.
Peach flower: This is one powerful home remedy that can treat scanty periods without side effects; dry the flowers and grind them into fine powder. Take two grams of this powder daily in lukewarm water.
Parsley: It helps in light periods; it supports menstrual flow and makes it regular. It also fights cramps and inflammation.
Banana tree leaf ash: Burn banana leaves and get the ash; take ½ teaspoon of the ash with lukewarm water thrice daily. This will solve the problem naturally.
Omega-3 fatty acids: These essential fatty acids are powerful in treating scanty periods; it supports healthy functioning of the ovaries and improves the level of blood and it flows. They also help in the production of hormones. Good natural sources are halibut, salmon or cod.
Radish seeds: They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals which can reduce the occurrence of this condition; they enhance circulation of blood and at the same time, they clean the blood and purify it from toxins and infections.
Homemade fruit juices: Fruits are rich sources of vitamin C which can prevent anemia and other causes of Hypomenorrhea. They also clear all problems that are associated with menstruation.
Lukewarm onion juice: This is a fast way to treat this problem; grate a medium sized onion and boil it; drink 3 tablespoons of this mixture 2 to 3 times during the day.
Carrot seed water: Carrot seed water combined with brown sugar is one wonderful home remedy used to correct this; it enhance the flow of blood and alleviates the pain. To make this combination, put a teaspoon of carrot seed in a cup of boiled water and let it steep for five minutes; strain it and add five teaspoon of brown sugar and consume it daily for one week.
Mother-worth: This herb stimulates the female internal organs; it aids the hormones to function properly and it improves the flow of blood. It reduces cramping and problems with internal reproductive organs of females. Take a cup of mother-worth’s tea daily for 2 to 3 months to treat scanty period.
All nuts and dry fruits: Health experts agree that all kinds of dry fruits and nuts can treat light periods; they have fiber that plays an important role by strengthening the walls of the uterus and they also improve the level of blood.