Menstruation is a natural process, but most women wish their periods could be shorter and lighter. The average duration of a menstrual period is three to five days and will vary for individual women. Most women have a predetermined average cycle, which tends to get shorter with age, according to a 2004 study led by Y. Liu at the University of Miami. It may not be possible to consistently change the length of your cycles, but certain factors can result in shorter periods.
Consider taking oral contraceptives, or birth control pills. Most women taking birth control pills experience shorter and lighter menstrual periods, according to the University of Iowa Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This option works if you want to have shorter periods on a regular basis, rather than for a single occasion, because it takes one or two cycles for the birth control pill to change your menstrual cycle.
Use alternative menstrual products, such as the menstrual cup. Menstrual cups, including the DivaCup and Mooncup, are worn inside the body to collect menstrual blood. Although no studies have proven a link between the use of menstrual cups and shorter periods, many women claim to have experienced the connection.
Exercise more throughout the month. According to the website Baby Fit, getting more regular exercise throughout the month may shorten the length of your period, as well as alleviate cramps and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Drink red raspberry leaf tea. Red raspberry leaf acts as a tonic for the uterus. Although it is more commonly used during late pregnancy because it may be linked to easier childbirth, it may also shorten your period.