We are dedicating February, the shortest month of the year, to short menstrual cycles. We have all had a cycle that was unexpectedly short. In the moment, it can seem scary and confusing; however, a random short cycle is quite normal depending on our body and external stimuli. If you’re worried that you have very short cycles or frequent short cycles, we recommended that you consult a healthcare provider.
What exactly is considered a short cycle? That is a very common question. Research has found that normal adult menstrual cycle lengths vary between 24 - 38 days.(1) Having a menstrual cycle between 21 - 24 days is not necessarily a concern. However, if you have consistent cycles that are less than 21 days, it is advised that you talk to your healthcare provider. Women who have menstrual cycle lengths that are less than 21 days are referred to as having Polymenorrhea or frequent menses.(2) Age, body mass index, lifestyle choices, and family planning method use all have an impact on a woman’s menstrual cycle length. For women who are not using any type of hormonal method, changes in menstrual cycle length can be influenced by various things. These reasons can include changes in diet, pregnancy, genetics, increased stress, as well as smoking and drinking.(3) Every woman’s unique body and lifestyle will affect her menstrual cycle length differently.
So, why exactly is it a concern when women have short cycles? Short cycles may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, ovaries with fewer eggs, or the approach of menopause.(4) Menstrual cycle length is one indicator of your fertility. Consistent menstrual cycle lengths between 24 - 38 days suggests that regular ovulation has occurred. Ovulation may occur earlier than normal or not at all in women with cycles less than 21 days. Despite your fertility intentions, it is important to know whether you are ovulating because it is an indicator of a healthy reproductive system.
In a prospective study of 2,653 Danish women ranging from 18-40 years old, 4.4% of women had cycle lengths less than 25 days.(5) These women with shorter cycles (<25 days) showed delayed time to pregnancy. If you intend to become pregnant, tracking changes in your menstrual cycle, including length, signs, and symptoms, will help you become more knowledgeable about your fertility chances.
Becoming pregnant is a science and an art, but Daysy simplifies this process for you. This fertility-tracking device is a great tool to track cycle length, basal body temperature (BBT), and changes in fertility status. Daysy’s sophisticated algorithm provides personalized fertility information based on daily BBT readings and date of menses. Furthermore, DaysyDay, the accompanying app, allows women and couples to visualize their data and fertility status. With the device and app, women and couples can keep track of their menstrual cycle to know the best times to plan a pregnancy! Take the fear out of reproductive health with Daysy. For more information on how Daysy can help you plan a pregnancy click here.
3)Lyngso J, Toft G, Hoyer BB, Guldbrandsen K, Olsen J, Ramlau-Hansen CH. Moderate alcohol intake and menstrual cycle characteristics. Hum Reprod. 2014;29(2):351–8.
Author: Liya Haile