A few early periods here and there are typically nothing to be concerned about.
The menstrual period varies greatly from person to person. The first day of your current period marks the beginning of your cycle, and the first day of your subsequent period marks its conclusion.
Because the average length of a cycle can range anywhere from 21 to 39 days, the number of days that a person spends bleeding is also very variable. The majority of people bleed for anywhere between two and seven days.
If your menstrual cycle is consistently shorter than 21 days, which causes you to bleed earlier than it generally does, this could be an indication that something more serious is going on beneath the surface.
Continue reading to find out what symptoms you should be on the lookout for and when you should visit your doctor.
Puberty usually begins between the ages of eight and thirteen. It is triggered by chemicals in your body known as reproductive hormones. Throughout your childbearing years, these hormones will continue to influence your menstrual cycle.
These hormones can be erratic in the first few years after you get your period. This means that the time between your periods may be shorter or longer than usual.
Puberty can also cause:
- enlarged breast tissue
- hair to develop on the armpits and groin
Perimenopause is the period between menopause and menopause. It usually starts in your mid to late forties and lasts four years.
During this time, your hormone levels change dramatically, and you may not ovulate every month. This can result in irregular periods, causing you to menstruate earlier or later than usual.
Perimenopause can also cause:
- periods to be lighter or heavier than normal
- missed periods
- vaginal dryness
- hot flashes
- difficulty sleeping
Intense activity might cause irregular periods or stop your period entirely. This condition is frequently connected with athletes who train for several hours each day. It’s especially common in weight-restricted sports like ballet and gymnastics.
Exercise only has an effect on your periods when you burn far more calories than you consume. Without enough energy, your body does not manufacture the necessary amount of reproductive hormones to ovulate normally.
Early, irregular, or skipped periods are frequently connected with significant weight fluctuations. Period abnormalities are frequently associated with rapid weight loss. Extreme dieting, gastric bypass surgery, or eating problems can all result in this.
When the body goes into starvation mode, it saves energy for vital life activities such as breathing. Your body will stop manufacturing reproductive hormones, resulting in irregular periods.
Severe stress can cause hormonal disruption, resulting in irregular periods. If you suffer anxiety or have just had a stressful event, your hormones may be out of balance.
Stress can also cause:
- unexplained weight gain or loss
- difficulty sleeping
- difficulty concentrating
Change in normal routine
Changes in your routine can disrupt your hormones, causing your period to arrive early or late. Some research suggests that people who work day and night shifts, such as nurses, frequently have irregular periods. Changing time zones may have similar consequences.
More research is needed to investigate the relationship between melatonin and reproductive hormones.
Taking blood thinners (anticoagulants) may cause your menstruation to last longer and produce severe bleeding.
During your period, anticoagulants are naturally released to assist thin the lining of your uterus so that it may flow out of the vagina. Taking anticoagulants may hasten this process and result in a heavier flow.
Hormonal birth control
Hormones found in hormonal birth control have a direct impact on ovulation and menstruation.
If you’re using birth control pills, the date of your next period will be determined by when you started taking the pills during your cycle and if you’re taking a week of placebos (reminder pills).
Other hormonal birth control methods, such as IUDs and the Depo-Provera injection, can result in monthly irregularities for the first two or three months. Inconsistent periods or everyday breakthrough bleeding are among the side effects.
As you adjust to hormonal birth control, you may also experience:
- sore breasts
Emergency contraception (EC) is used to reduce your chances of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex. As EC, you can take an EC pill or have a copper IUD implanted.
EC pills contain hormones that interfere with normal ovulation. This could result in an early or late period. If you take EC pills on a regular basis, your period may become irregular.
People frequently experience breakthrough bleeding after their doctor inserts an IUD. It takes a few months for your uterus to adjust to the IUD, during which time you may bleed daily or irregularly.
Copper IUDs can also cause:
- heavy periods
- severe menstrual cramps
- cramping or backaches
Certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are common sexually transmitted infections.. These bacterial infections rarely generate symptoms. They are known to produce spotting between periods or blood-tinged discharge when this occurs.
They may also cause:
- pain during sex
- pain or burning when peeing
- abdominal pain
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
When it comes to PCOS, a lot of people don’t find out they have it until they have trouble becoming pregnant. Additionally, it may result in:
- irregular periods
- missed periods
- excessive facial or body hair
- weight gain
Endometriosis develops when endometrium-like tissue grows outside the uterus in places such as the ovaries, abdomen, and colon. It affects around 11% of girls in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44.
Endometriosis can cause the following symptoms in addition to unexpected bleeding:
- menstruation cramps that are unbearable
- lower back ache that persists
- discomfort during or after sex
Diabetes that is uncontrolled or undiagnosed
Blood sugar levels are consistently higher than usual when diabetes is untreated or inadequately managed. According to one 2011 study, many persons with type 2 diabetes had irregular periods in the years preceding their diagnosis.
Diabetes can also result in:
- thirst heightened
- increasing desire to urinate, particularly at night
- sluggish recovery
- unexpected weight loss
It is estimated that one out of every eight females will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
Thyroid disorders cause your body to produce more or less thyroid hormone than it requires. This hormone is necessary for several bodily functions, including metabolism and menstruation.
Your symptoms will vary depending on whether your thyroid is underactive or hyperactive. Along with early menstruation, you may experience:
- Light or heavy periods
- irregular heartbeat
- Sleeplessness weight gain or decrease
Difference between early period and implantation symptoms
When a fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus, this process is known as implantation. It might take place anywhere between one and two weeks following fertilization.
There is no guarantee that implantation will result in symptoms. When the symptoms do manifest themselves, they can include cramping and minor bleeding. The bleeding is normally less heavy than that of a normal period, and most of the time, a tampon or pad will not be necessary.
You should think about purchasing a couple of over-the-counter pregnancy tests if you have had sexual activity that was not protected by birth control or if your birth control method has failed since your most recent period. You can take one right now, but it’s possible that the results won’t be accurate for a little while longer.
If at all possible, postpone taking the test until one week has passed since the time when your period was supposed to have begun. You can also make an appointment with your primary care physician to validate your results.
Difference between early period and miscarriage symptoms
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy. The majority of miscarriages happen during the first trimester. It typically occurs before the person is aware of the pregnancy, making it difficult to distinguish between a very heavy menstruation and a miscarriage.
A miscarriage may produce greater cramps and back pain than a typical period.
Pink discharge, blood clots, or fragments of fetal tissue may pass from the vagina if the pregnancy is farther along.
If you believe you have miscarried, seek emergency medical attention.
Bring any strange tissue you’ve ejected with you. Your doctor will examine the tissue and utilize it to make a diagnosis.
Your doctor will also perform a pelvic exam and ultrasound to identify if a miscarriage occurred. In rare situations, they may need to remove remaining tissue from your uterus.
Tips for management
How you manage your period will be determined by what you believe is causing it to arrive early. An early period will usually resolve itself in a month or two.
You might be able to get your cycle back on track if you do the following:
Make use of a period app.
Period tracking applications allow you to keep track of your symptoms on a daily basis. You may detect a trend in your flow over time. You can also share your logs with your doctor at your next appointment.
Continue to be prepared.
Keep a couple panty liners, pads, or tampons in your luggage or at work just in case. Consider investing in a pair of period underwear for further protection. Purchase pantyliners, pads, and tampons right away.
Every night, get eight hours of sleep.
An irregular sleep regimen can put your period off. If you work nights, try to keep your circadian rhythm as stable as possible by sleeping in a dark and quiet location during the day.
Consume a well-balanced diet.
Proper diet is vital to a healthy reproductive system. If you don’t consume enough calories, your body won’t be able to manufacture the hormones it need to function normally.
When you burn more calories than you consume, your body lacks the energy to properly manufacture reproductive hormones. Consider adding high-calorie protein smoothies to your diet.
Control your tension.
Psychological stress might disrupt your menstrual cycle. If your personal or professional life is getting on top of you, make time to watch an episode of something you enjoy, go for a stroll, or practice yoga.
Keep a healthy weight.
Obesity might disrupt your reproductive hormones. Starting an exercise program with a friend or joining a diet support group, such as Weight Watchers, can assist you in achieving a healthy weight.
When should you see your doctor?
An early period is usually not indicative of anything significant. However, if you are experiencing extreme pain or discomfort, you should consult your doctor.
You should also seek prompt medical assistance if you have had or fear you have had a miscarriage.
If you don’t have any serious symptoms, you might be able to control things at home. Consider keeping a diary of your menstrual cycle for the following two to three months to evaluate how your timing, flow, and other symptoms compare.
Consult your doctor if things aren’t improving. They can use this data to assess your cycle and advise you on next measures.