View Full Version : What counts as a light period?

07-18-2008, 06:55 PM
Maybe this sounds like a silly question, but what does a light period look like?? I usually have 2, 3, or 4 days of "heavier" red flow (often with it just about stopping on day 2 or 3, then picking back up), then going to a lighter flow of brown for a few days (making about a 7 day period). My last period came on day 94 (this is very late, even for me - usually it's between 30 something and 40 something days), and I think was pretty normal - maybe a little heavier (I don't remember), but this current "period" (came on day 34) is like nothing I've ever had. Mostly I have been getting brown blood with wiping, but hardly any on the pad. There has been a little on the pad here and there, and one or two wipes with some red, but hardly anything that could be called "flow". Does this make sense?
I am so grateful for this forum where I can ask such personal questions!!
Thank you, ladies!!

07-18-2008, 08:50 PM
Maybe your last period was so heavy that your lining hadn't built up enough for a normal period this time? What you're describing sounds like what I get the day AF is about to start. Is it possible that your period is still "gearing up" and isn't there yet? I don't know how many days you've had of the brown bleeding but I know a lot of women get that before AF.

I think that generally AF is considered to have arrived the first day you need a pad or tampon for your flow. I could be wrong, though. That is what I mark CD 1 as when I'm charting. ;)

You're right that it sounds confusing, lol. I hope you get some answers soon. Have you called your doctor to ask his/her opinion?

07-18-2008, 10:52 PM
It could be that you aren't having a true AF. I would have light brown bleeding/spotting periods for 3-4 days when I had anovulatory cycles. Brown bleeding at the start of AF typically means that you have low progesterone levels - either you didn't O, or it wasn't a "good" O.

"A light AF is considered one when in which there are no heavy days present at all. The bleeding is either light or very light thorughout the course of the menstrual bleed of there is only one or two days of moderate bleeding." -Creighton Model Fertility Care System

When you have a normal AF, it should start with a heavier flow and then move towards a light flow until the end. CD1 would be counted as the first day of moderate to heavy flow - often indicated by the need to use protection.

07-18-2008, 11:00 PM
Wild I generally get brown spotting, then AF comes full force with the heavy red bleeding. Does the brown spotting mean I might have low progesterone (they didn't test this pregnancy for low progesterone :()? I never really gave it any thought before. I get the spotting at the end of AF, too, but I figured that was "normal".

07-18-2008, 11:14 PM
This is what the Creighton Model (that my doc uses for charting) says about brown bleeding.

Tail-end brown bleeding is defined as bleeding that is at the tail-end of the menstrual period and lasts for at least two days or longer. The bleeding is specifically either brown or black in discoloration. This is due to a hormonal syfunction usually associated with a decrease in teh production of progesterone in the cycle preceding the menstrual period in which this observation is made. This type of bleeding tends to be recurrent.

Besides being associated with the above stated hormonal dysfunction, it can also be associated with a condition called adenomyosis (a form of endometriosis that gets int othe muscle of the uterus) or a condition called adenomatous hperplasia (a precacerous condition of the lining of the uterus). In these cases usually the tail-end brown bleeding lasts for several days.

Premenstrual spotting is defined as three or more days of bleeding which is either light, very light or brown preceding the beginning of menstruation. This type of bleeding is due to a premature breakdown of the capillaries inside the lining of the uterus. This is also caused by decreased production of progesterone. In women who have premenstrual spotting the incidence of infertility and/or miscarriage is increased. Furthermore, women with premenstrual spotting will often have premenstrual syndrome.

I'd definately ask if your doc can test your progesterone levels, especially if you have concerns. I was on supplements until about 9 weeks when my levels were high enough to maintain themselves. Prior to pg, I was taking supplements from 3dpo-12dpo and it made a difference in my spotting and brown bleeding.

07-18-2008, 11:21 PM
Wild I'm a little concerned about endometriosis :(. My mother and grandmother both had it and I get that brown spotting at the end of my cycle EVERY cycle. Do you know a reliable site with info about endo? I should probably remember to ask the midwife about it on the 29th.

The brown before the cycle isn't EVERY time but usually an hour or two before AF decides to show. I never got my progesterone number with Nate and he turned out ok... I am just worrying way more this time around! :( I'm almost 9 weeks now. If my progesterone was low, would I have had spotting or some sign of it by now? I really am not up on how progesterone affects pregnancy, as you can tell.

Anyway, sorry to hijack the thread. My worrywart nature is striking again, lol.

07-18-2008, 11:38 PM
If your doc wasn't concerned about progesterone levels and you are 9 weeks now, then you are probably doing fine. If it's brown spotting only for a couple hours, then it's not likely low progesterone, just the start of AF. I would get brown spotting for days before AF and often would never really even get a moderate to heavy flow each cycle.

I would think if your levels were too low, you would have had spotting by now or some type of sign. Can't hurt to ask your midwife about it at your next appt though just to see what she says. Progesterone levels help to maintain the pregnancy by keeping the endometrial lining in place. I think it's easier to worry more when your are more informed...so it would make sense that the 2nd pregnancy would produce more concerns.

I never connected to a site when I was diagnosed with endo (I don't have the type that was mentioned previously), but I did read a good book called: Endometriosis: A Key to Healing and Fertility Through Nutrition. Probably best to mention it to your midwife first before delving into this book though. The only way to truly diagnose endo is through a laporoscopy. I'm not sure about adenomyosis, but endo typically goes into "remission" when you are preggo and not having cycles. So there wouldn't be any worries until your cycles return.

07-19-2008, 12:05 AM
Wild Thanks for the info! :D The reason I worry about endo was that my last doctor mentioned it as a possibility and planned on checking for it at a later date. I'm still holding out hope that I don't have it of course, but it's good to be prepared. :)

07-19-2008, 01:47 AM
This is day 5 of this odd spotting! Sometimes a day or two before a period I have a little spotting like this, but never this long. I have wondered about endo before (Wildflower, you addressed some questions I had a number of months ago) but I'm unable to afford the surgery to see if I have it. I will look into adenomyosis (I wonder if it will do any good though!
It is getting to be about time for my yearly exam, so maybe I'll try another Dr. The one who diagnosed me is no longer working here (wasn't sure I liked her anyway) and she was replaced by another one I'm not too sure about either. It's hard to find a Dr who is willing to listen and will not jump to conclusions too quickly.

07-19-2008, 08:24 AM
su - I agree, I jumped around from doctor to doctor until I found the right one. It took me about a year.:( All the other doctor's just wanted to jump right to TTC and I wanted to know WHY I wasn't TTC first. This doc took lots of time...sometimes I thought too much, but he wanted to rule everything out first before diagnosing me.

07-20-2008, 01:12 PM
I have had my "period" for two weeks, my doctor said this was just what goes with pcos, so i thought id look for some answers on here. I was on metformin for years and then switched to actos at least a year ago. My periods have been regulated. Usually on the 20th of each month. in May i didnt start till the 30th and ended the 5th of june. Then started again the 13th of june, the 16th of june it turned to the brown bleeding with weird dark clots till the 19th of june. I started the 6th of july with the brown again and as of today the 20th of july i still have it. Most of the time its brown, but sometimes when i wipe its red. i did go to the doctor and she said my thyroid and insulin levels are ok. ( ihave hypothyroidism, IR ) The nurse recommended taking a pregnancy test, it was negative. What do you gals think? Im going to look into going to an endo.

07-20-2008, 01:16 PM
pink That is not "just how things go with PCOS". It sounds like your hormones are off somewhere. I think going to an endo might be a good idea. :)

When I had AF every two weeks, it was my thyroid, but you said they already tested that for you... Not sure what else causes bleeding so often. Sorry I can't be of more help! :(

07-20-2008, 02:25 PM
thanks for the reply. Im just scared, thinking of what it could be.. I know there are a lot worse things that can happen, but right now i just wish i could be "normal" I want a baby so bad :( It seems like so many people who dont want kids just keep poppin them out and i might never have just one. Now with this weird period thing im just getting scared that it might be something bad.. but i thank you for taking the time to reply. You girls are great !

07-20-2008, 10:58 PM
pinklily - I'd definately go seek out an RE. A doc that tells you that's just the way it is, is worthless! I had something similar to what you are describing years ago before I knew I had PCOS. I had just gone off the pill and thought my cycles had to regulate. Now I know it was most likely PCOS related.

Like I mentioned before, the brown bleeding could be related to low progesterone. It may be also that you are having anovulatory cycles (are you charting?) and it's not a true AF, just your endometrial lining becoming too heavy and sloughing off. An RE can do a b/w panel throughout your cycle to see what your hormones are doing and then help to adjust them as necessary. He may also want to do a hysteroscopy to see if there are any endometrial polyps or anything else going on and possibly a D&C (a scraping of the lining of the uterus).

Hang in there! Things will work themselves out! Most of the women that come to this board end up with a BFP one day...it just may not be as soon as you had hoped. But I'm sure your day will come! Best Wishes!

07-21-2008, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the encouragement. I've been looking up endocrinologists in my area and ive only found 4. They were described as endocrinolgists specializing in diabetes. Do you have any suggestions on how to find the right endo?

07-21-2008, 10:55 PM
If there are any reproductive endocronoligists, that's what you would want to seek out. If not, an endo will have more experience treating PCOS and may be able to help you along with your TTC journey. It's not so much the credentials necessarily, but the knowledge of how to treat PCOS and a good bedside manner. I used an OBGYN and was very happy. It took me a few tries though to find the right doc. Don't feel bad if you choose to switch after the first appt or two. You need to feel comfortable with the doctor you choose!