Noticed that your period is arriving more frequently since you reached your 40s? This is a common complaint that I hear from women – and it’s happening for a reason. Let’s explore why shorter cycles pop up during your 40s and what you need to know about your hormone balance during this time.

Why are my cycles so short all of a sudden?

First up, let’s talk about what a normal cycle can look like. Generally speaking, a normal menstrual cycle falls in the range of 24-38 days in length. In my experience, most women will sit between 26-30 days.

This can include a variation of up to 9 days within the year and still fall in the range of ‘normal’. So you could have one cycle that is 32 days and another that is 24 days (although keep in mind, this is likely a sign of something throwing off your balance such as high stress levels!)

But it also comes down to your own unique pattern. So if you’ve had 30 day cycles for decades, and suddenly you’re seeing it drop to 24 and 25 days, this could be an indication that your hormones are shifting.

Shorter cycles are often one of the first hallmark symptoms of what we call early perimenopause. These cycles will fall between 21-26 days long. And unfortunately, they also come along with other friends like increased PMS, sore breasts, mood changes, brain fog, hot flushes… Aka everything that you don’t need to deal with on top of your already full life!

Who is to blame?

That would be our fairweather friend, oestrogen. The big driver behind basically all of the perimenopausal symptoms is what I refer to as the oestrogen rollercoaster.

To put it simply, your progesterone is steadily declining until it bottoms out. But oestrogen is swinging wildly – it might skyrocket, only to plummet down, and up and down it goes.

High oestrogen will lead to symptoms associated with low progesterone (as they need to be in balance with one another), then low oestrogen will cause symptoms related to insufficient oestrogen. It’s like Goldilocks’ porridge – we want oestrogen to be just right.

During perimenopause, you can also experience anovulatory cycles – when you don’t release an egg. If you’re not ovulating, you’re not producing the little buddy known as corpus luteum whose job is to produce progesterone. So this widens the gap between progesterone and oestrogen even further.

And if that wasn’t enough of a hassle? Lower progesterone also means heavier periods. Without enough to counteract oestrogen, your endometrium will thicken more than usual. So not only will you get more frequent periods – they’re also likely to be heavier and often more painful.

Can anything be done for shorter cycles?

Yes… and no. Shorter cycles are one of the features of perimenopause because your body is getting ready to phase them out altogether. And while you can’t stave off perimenopause forever (it’s part of the deal!), you can help to ease the transition.

On the flip side, a lot of women wish their period would just bugger off already. While that’s a totally reasonable desire, we actually want to hold onto our periods for as long as possible. There are some significant health benefits that come along with your cycle and hormones, and once they stop, the benefits vanish.

The key for easing perimenopausal symptoms is to balance out the oestrogen rollercoaster – that way, you reap the benefits of both oestrogen and progesterone for longer. Need some guidance for how you can support hormone balance? Give this article a read.


If you are ready to feel calm, less stressed and able to put yourself first, book in for a free discovery call today. Together, we can explore how I can help you to support and nourish yourself – mind, body and spirit.