Does Exercise Cause Lighter Periods?

Yoga class
Exercise can help reduce period symptoms. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

If you dread your period each month, hitting the gym may help. Regular, moderate exercise may reduce your menstrual flow and decrease other common period symptoms. Excessive exercise can trigger a complete absence of periods. Sudden changes in menstrual flow can be a sign of health conditions ranging from mild to severe in nature. If your menstrual flow changes or stops without reason, follow up with your doctor.

Light Period Triggers

Your menstrual flow is sensitive to stress, medications and a host of medical conditions. Lifestyle changes such as switching to a new diet or altering your sleep patterns can result in a temporary reduced flow. Birth control can cause spotting or light periods. Undiagnosed medical issues like a malfunctioning thyroid can also reduce menstrual flow. As women move towards menopause, their periods often become lighter or irregular. If lifestyle changes don't account for an unexpected reduction in your menstrual flow, follow up with your doctor to check for any underlying health conditions.

Exercise and Period Flow

Athletes and those training for extreme sporting events like marathons may experience a lighter menstrual flow due to the stress generated from intense exercise and a tendency to have a low percentage of body fat. Your period will cease if your fat level drops below 15 percent of your body weight. Strenuous physical activity can also cause secondary amenorrhea, which is defined as missing a period for three consecutive months. Other symptoms of amenorrhoea include headaches, nausea and vision changes.

Work Out to Lighten Up

Light to moderate exercise can reduce common period symptoms, even while you are menstruating. In addition to helping reduce menstrual flow, exercising can reduce the pain of menstrual cramps and decrease moodiness. To reduce PMS-related bloating, work up a sweat while exercising. Working out can help combat period-related sluggishness. Reduce irritability and mood swings by centering yourself through yoga or other meditative exercises.

Don't Push Yourself

Listen to your body when it comes to working out during your period. Heavy periods can make you anemic, which often causes fatigue. Exercising when fatigued can lead to poor exercise form, impaired performance and increased injury risk. Amenorrhoea left untreated can lead to infertility and increase your risk of osteoporosis. Your period can make your body more sensitive to pain; complaints of lower back pain are especially common. Make adjustments to your fitness routine if you experience period-related aches and pains.

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