Healthy period is a vital aspect of reproductive health for people with menstrual cycles. A healthy period is one that occurs regularly, with a consistent flow of blood and without excessive pain or discomfort. Irregular periods, heavy bleeding, cramps, and other menstrual problems can indicate an underlying health condition or hormonal imbalance, and it’s essential to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. On the other hand, a healthy period can provide valuable information about a person’s fertility, and tracking menstrual cycles can be a useful tool for family planning. Additionally, maintaining good menstrual hygiene practices, such as changing sanitary products regularly, can help prevent infections and other menstrual-related health problems. Overall, prioritizing menstrual health and seeking medical attention for any concerns can lead to a better quality of life for people with menstrual cycles.

Menarche, or the first period, typically occurs between 12-15 years old. It is still considered normal if it begins at 8 years of age. On average, the age of menarche is later in developing countries and earlier in developed countries. Generally, the interval of time between one menstrual cycle and the next is 21 to 45 days among young women. In adult women, this range falls between 21 and 31 days with an average of 28 days. The duration of bleeding is usually 2 to 7 days.

Menopause is a natural stage of life that usually kicks in between the ages of 45 and 55. Menstrual cycles will cease once menopause begins, making pregnancy no longer possible.

Symptoms of menstruation:   

A study found that approximately 80% of women do not experience any disruptions to their daily routines either before or during menstruation. Any symptoms which pose disruption to the individual’s day-to-day functioning and appear in the days prior to menstruation are known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Approximately 20-30% of females suffer from PMS, with a small subset (3-8%) having to deal with extreme symptoms. Women may experience certain symptoms, such as painful periods, excessive menstrual bleeding and any other kind of abnormal bleeding during the period cycle. Amenorrhea is when a person does not have their menstruation by the age of 15 or has not experienced it in over 3 months.

During the menstrual cycle, many individuals may experience uncomfortable or distressing symptoms. The symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sore breasts or breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Annoyance
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Loss of libido
  • Diarrhea (less common)

Signs of healthy Period:

Every woman is different, and there is no one “perfect” period that can be seen as a universal standard. However, five key factors can be used to determine the overall health of your menstrual cycle. These should be taken into consideration for understanding your own individual body’s cycle better. Taking the time to check in with your body regularly is essential, as your menstrual cycle can be an indicator of overall health.

Menstrual cycle for a healthy period should be between 26-35 days:

The ideal menstrual cycle length is generally between 26-35 days, being consistent month to month. The total duration of your cycle is calculated beginning on the first day of proper menstruation and ending with the last day before your next period. Any cycles that vary by more than 5 days from the typically accepted range of 26-35 days could be an indication of an imbalance in your hormone levels.

Pain free periods:

True, a healthy period should be pain free. Slight discomfort, pain, distention in lower back is normal. But if the pain and cramps are severe then it’s a way, your body is telling you that something wrong and need attention.

Bleed only during your periods:

3-7 days of flow followed by a lighter bleed for a couple of days is a healthy period. There should not be any bleed at any other time. Heavy or prolonged bleeding, light period or spotting at any other time of the cycle may indicates low progesterone, internal imbalances or iron deficiency.

Healthy red blood: 

Crimson red color menstrual blood indicates adequate blood flow in the uterus. Dark or brown blood with the presence of blood clots may be an indication for poor uterine blood circulation. Blood stagnation in the uterus may cause pain and lead to complications.

Without premenstrual tension or premenstrual syndrome:

When your period comes and goes without any premenstrual symptoms and discomforts, then it’s a sign that your hormones are happy and your periods are healthy. Mild discomfort is normal but you experience moderate to heavy symptoms like sore breasts, cramps, headaches, bloating, and alterations in your bowels, mood swings in combinations may be a sign that your hormones and body asking for your attention and medical need.

Causes for Menstrual Irregularities:

Various factors can contribute to irregularities in the menstrual cycle, including:

  • Pregnancy or breast feeding: An absence of menstrual cycles can be indicative of pregnancy. Likewise, breastfeeding during postpartum is normally associated with a delay in the reoccurrence of menarche.
  • Eating disorders   – extreme weight loss or exercise: Eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa, can lead to extreme weight loss as well as increased physical activity – which, in turn, may disrupt menstrual cycles.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women who suffer from this commonly occurring endocrine disorder commonly experience irregular menstrual cycles and have ultrasounds which show their ovaries are larger than normal and filled with follicles, which are small collections of fluid.
  • Premature ovarian failure. Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), also referred to as premature ovarian failure, is a condition where the ovaries stop functioning normally before the age of 40. Women with POI may experience irregular or infrequent periods over an extended period of time.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Reproductive organ infections can disrupt normal menstrual cycles and lead to irregular bleeding.
  • Uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are benign (noncancerous) growths that happen within the wall of the uterus. This often results in heavier, prolonged menstrual periods.

Know about Menstrual Disorders:

Oligo-ovulation: irregular or in frequent ovulation

Anovulation: absence of ovulation. Anovuatory cycle is a normal menstrual flow without ovulation. In this, there may be follicular development but not completed. Estrogens may be formed and stimulate the uterine lining. The flow may be because of thick endometrium caused by continued and prolonged high estrogen levels. Perimenopause or before menopause and polycystic ovarian syndrome may be conditions for anovulatory cycles.

Oligomenorrhea: Infrequent menstruation.

Hypomenorrhea: little, light or short menstruation.

Polymenorrhea: More frequent periods than every 21 days.

Hypermenorrhea: Heavy flow and long menstruations (longer than 7 days).

Dysmenorrhea: More painful periods.

Amenorrhea: absence of menstruation or periods.

Intermenstrual bleeding: spotting between cycles.

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding: abnormal bleeding caused by hormonal imbalances, uterine fibroids.

All these above menstrual abnormalities or disorders need medical attention.

Best Foods and Hacks for Healthy Period:

Do you feel any pressure in your abdomen, lower back, or thighs? If so, it’s likely due to primary dysmenorrhea, which is commonly known as menstrual cramps. This is a normal experience and can start a day before your period and remain for several days. Menstrual cramps are a natural part of the menstrual cycle, caused by muscle contractions in the uterus due to the release of a hormone known as prostaglandin.

Try a few at-home remedies to ease PMS:

Reducing Menstrual cramps:

This includes using a heating pad on your lower abdomen or lower back.

 Taking a warm bath, placing hot water bottles in the area and massaging the abdomen.

Engaging in simple physical activities such as yoga, walking or swimming can help improve circulation.

Ease your bloating:

Menstrual bloating is a common symptom experienced before and during a period, making one feel as if they have gained weight or have a bloated abdomen. It can be an uncomfortable phenomenon. Unfortunately, there is no perfect remedy for it but there are some tips & tricks to help reduce the bloating sensation.

Be hydrated: Consuming more water when you’re feeling bloated can seem counterintuitive, however, it will help your body to flush out any toxins and reduce any bloating. Therefore, water should be considered your best friend. There is no universal advice that applies to everyone regarding the amount of water they should drink daily; however, it is commonly suggested to consume 8-10 ounce glasses in total throughout the day for a healthy period. To make sure you’re well hydrated, take a refillable water bottle with you on trips and refill it multiple times over the course of the day.

Healthy Food choices for Healthy Periods:

During menstruation, it is best to focus on healthy food options such as fruits and vegetables. Also, reduce sodium intake and try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible. This will help you feel better and your stomach will thank you later. Processed foods should be avoided, due to their high sodium content, which can cause bloating. If you’re looking for healthier alternatives, opt for protein sources such as fish and chicken and healthy fats like nuts and avocados.

Foods to be included for healthy periods:

Spices like ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, mint, fruits like pineapple, watermelons, figs, plums, citrus fruits and un ripened papaya, foods like oatmeal, lentils, eggs, nuts, green leafy vegetables, yogurt, flax seeds, fish, herbal teas like fennel tea, peppermint ginger tea are few foods which contain good amounts of macro and micro nutrients, anti-oxidants which ease menstrual symptoms and essential for a healthy period.

 If you are in need of something sweet, opt for healthy sweet options for a healthy period like dark chocolate, laddos, and chikkis as they are great source of micronutrients

Foods to be avoided for a healthy period:

Spicy foods, processed, high fatty foods, caffeine, too much sugar and salt, alcohol, red meat and foods that are not tolerated and irritates the gut are the foods, should be avoided during menstrual time for a healthy period.

Say No to caffeine: Consuming a lot of caffeine during your period can cause irritation and other uncomfortable stomach symptoms, such as cramps and bloating. It is advisable to keep your caffeine dosage in moderation during menstruation for a healthy period. In addition, it is also recommended to avoid consuming sweet and carbonated beverages that could contribute to digestive discomfort. Herbal tea is an excellent non-caffeinated beverage that can help with bloating and provide relief for a healthy period. Try some hot teas such as ginger, green tea, peppermint, chamomile or raspberry leaf to feel better.

Nutrients to focus for a Healthy Period:

Our body sheds uterine lining during menstruation which results in bleeding. The following vital nutrients may help with healthy periods:

  • Calcium and manganese:      

Milk and milk products, seeds (like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds), green leafy vegetables, lentils are the good sources of calcium.

Whole grains, lentils, sprouts, nuts and leafy vegetables are good sources of manganese.

Calcium and manganese rich foods may reduce premenstrual syndrome like menstrual cramps, pain, mood swings and water retention. So intake of calcium and manganese rich foods helps for a healthy period.

  • Magnesium:

Oats, wheat germ, nuts like almonds, seeds, fish, broccoli, yogurt, carrots and fruits like kiwi, papaya, banana, figs, berries, guava etc., are rich sources of magnesium. Magnesium improves progesterone levels which helps in perimenopausal symptoms and is essential for a healthy period. Magnesium also relaxes the muscles of uterus and reduces the menstrual pain.

  • Omega 3 fatty acids:

DHA (Docosa Hexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosa Pentaenoic Acid) are essential fatty acids which has to be supplied from food and cannot be synthesized in the body. So intake of these fats are very important for a healthy period. Plant sources: seeds like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and nuts like almonds, walnuts are rich in alpha linolenic acid which then converts to DHA and EPA in the body. Fatty fish like sardine and salmon are rich in DHA and EPA. Omega – 3 fatty acids are known for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These relaxes the uterine muscles and helps with menstrual cramps.Omega 3 fatty acids are also known to reduce the testestone levels in the blood which helps with PCOS.

  • Iron: 

Blood loss during menstruation leads to iron deficiency in more women. Green leafy vegetables, ragi, jaggery, nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, beetroot,dates are good sources of iron and is essential for a healthy period.

  • Vitamin B12:

Estrogen and progesterone hormones are at lower levels during menstruation causing weakness and tiredness. Intake of vitamin B12 can helps produce more RBCs and gives energy during menstruation.

  • Vitamins B6 and B1:

Include more fresh fruits and vegetables, greens, whole grains are great sources of vitamin B1 and B6. These vitamins helps with premenstrual symptoms. Reduces menstrual cramps, pain and mood disturbances.

  • Vitamin E (natural alpha-tocopherol):

Vitamin E may help reduce pain and menstrual blood flow. Wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, avocados are vitamin E food sources. 

  • Zinc:

Zinc may help ease menstrual pain, cramping, depression and may boosts immune system. Nuts and seeds are good sources of zinc. 


Understandably, the last thing most people want to do during their period is exercise. Nevertheless, light physical activity can help increase the circulation of blood in your body and reduce the symptoms of bloating associated with menstruation and is very important for a healthy period.

Women who exercise regularly and on their menstruation days are likely to suffer less. Exercise may actually ease the symptoms like menstrual cramps, pain and mood alterations during periods. Exercises may help in release of hormones like serotonin and endorphins which are also called happy hormones. These may be beneficial in reducing the menstrual symptoms.

  • Decreases premenstrual symptoms.
  • Helps with fatigue and mood swings.
  • Gives strength and energy during these difficult period days.
  • Endorphins which are released during exercise acts as natural painkiller and eases the menstrual pain.
  • Exercise enhances your mood exercises like light walking may help reduce dysmenorrhea, painful periods.

Exercises to be done for a Healthy Period:

Light walking, cardio, aerobic exercises, low-volume strength training, power based activities, yoga and Pilates are the smart moves beneficial during menstrual days.

Exercises to avoid during menstruation:

During menstrual cycles, women experience increased rate of perceived exertion and feel more difficult. So it’s better to avoid intense, skill and precision training exercises during periods.

Restfulness for a Healthy Period: It is not uncommon to feel fatigued during one’s menstrual cycle and physical symptoms, such as pain, can exacerbate that feeling. Getting adequate rest is essential for the body and mind to recover; it is recommended to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night – especially when experiencing menstruation.

To sum up:

Menstruation is a natural and necessary part of life for women and it has a direct effect on her overall health. It is important to be aware of the various aspects of healthy periods in order to ensure that it is being managed properly. For a Healthy Period, understanding the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of menstruation, as well as the importance of proper nutrition,(what to be taken and what to be avoided during menstruation, importance of nutrients and their role in reducing menstrual cramps) exercise(importance of exercise during periods and what kind of exercises are suitable during periods and which to be avoided), and lifestyle habits during this time.