Your menstrual cycle should last between 28 and 35 days, and your period blood should be red.
These are just two signs that your period is ‘healthy’.
That is, according to Amina Khan, a pharmacist who shares videos on TikTok about hormonal imbalances.
Here MailOnline takes a look at the truth behind the five so-called telltale signs of a healthy period.
Amina Khan, a pharmacist who shares hormone imbalance TikToks, posted her five signs you may have a hormone imbalance.
The cycle is 28 to 35 days long.
Ms. Khan, who has 185,000 followers, says that a woman’s menstrual cycle should not last more or less than 28 to 35 days.
She claims that if your cycle is longer or shorter than this, “that means you’re suffering from hormonal imbalances.”
However, the NHS says that between 23 and 35 days is a normal menstrual cycle.
And period-tracking app Flo claims that a cycle as short as 21 days is still “healthy.”
But experts suggest that a shorter menstrual cycle may indicate hormonal imbalances, such as having low progesterone levels.
Other symptoms of having low progesterone levels can include spotting between periods, fatigue, low libido, irritability, or frequent urinary or vaginal infections.
Polymenorrhea is the medical term for having a menstrual cycle of less than 21 days.
This can be caused by a number of factors, including stress, infections, or endometriosis.
Polymenorrhea can affect fertility, as ovulation often occurs earlier than expected and the time between ovulation and bleeding (called the luteal phase) may be too short for fertilization and implantation.
If your period lasts longer than 35 days, this is called oligomenorrhea and often occurs along with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects how well the ovaries work.
Ms Khan claims that another sign of a healthy period is that it is “pain free”.
Menstrual cramps are caused by muscle contractions in the lining of the uterus.
But the NHS says they are normal, although the pain can range from spasms to a dull ache that aches.
Gynecologist Dr Amit Shah, co-founder of the Harley Street Fertility Plus clinic, disputed Ms Khan’s claim.
She said ‘pain-free’ periods are not always a sign of a healthy period and ‘some discomfort is normal’, but urged people experiencing debilitating pain to see a GP.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name for symptoms experienced in the weeks leading up to a period, such as feeling bothersome or anxious, being swollen or tender, and Ms Khan says that this is a sign of an unhealthy period.
Periods last three to seven days.
Your period should last three to seven days, “nothing shorter or longer than that,” says Ms. Khan.
But while many other experts agree, the NHS says a period lasting two to seven days is normal, with five days being the most common duration.
A period that lasts longer than seven days is considered long and is something you should see a doctor about.
Prolonged periods can be signs of underlying health problems, such as hormonal irregularities, uterine abnormalities, or cancer.
Bleeding conditions that affect your body’s ability to clot can cause prolonged periods, as well as adenomyosis and fibroids that see a buildup of excess tissue in the uterus.
On the other hand, a period that lasts less than two days may not be a period at all and may be an early sign of pregnancy.
6 things that could make period pain worse
an unhealthy diet
Fast food, cured meats and sugary treats could make her periods worse, said Dr. Adiele Hoffman, Flo’s primary care physician.
A 2018 study involving 70 college students tested this theory.
Turkish researchers found that those who ate a lot of salty and sweet snacks had more menstrual pain than those who didn’t.
“While there are no miracle foods that can magically cure period cramps, a healthy diet could make all the difference,” added Dr. Hoffman.
Stress can make periods more irregular as hormones disrupt the menstrual cycle.
But research suggests that being overly stressed can also make period cramps worse.
In a study of 388 garment workers in China, women who experienced high levels of stress during their last menstrual cycle were twice as likely to develop menstrual pain.
And a 2017 Ethiopian study of 400 female college students came to the same conclusion.
It is a well known fact that smoking is bad for the lungs.
But Dr. Hoffman said women may be less aware of the link between smoking and menstrual cramps.
A review of previous studies by researchers in China found that female smokers were 1.45 times more likely to develop menstrual pain.
The experts analyzed 24 studies involving 27,091 participants.
Being very underweight or very overweight
Maintaining a healthy weight can also help with menstrual cramps, Dr. Hoffman said.
Research has suggested that you are significantly more likely to experience severe period pain if you are obese or underweight.
Australian doctors studied 9,688 women for 13 years and found that when those who were obese lost weight, their risk of pain decreased.
Some types of contraceptives
Birth control is often prescribed for women who complain of menstrual cramps.
But some types can make symptoms worse.
The copper coil, an intrauterine device (IUD), can be the cause of severe cramps and heavier periods, especially in the weeks after it is inserted, according to the NHS.
Less commonly, conditions such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, or fibroids can cause menstrual pain.
Endometriosis, the most common of the three, is a painful condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body, such as the tubes and ovaries.
Dr. Hoffman said this tissue breaks down and bleeds as hormones change, and can sometimes get trapped. In this case, painful scar tissue can form.
A short, light “period” of a day or two may be implantation bleeding, experts say, which is common and can occur about a week or two after fertilization.
This occurs in 15 to 25 percent of pregnancies, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Birth control can also cause brief, light periods, as they contain hormones that thin the lining of the uterus, while some women do not experience menstruation at all.
But a short period can be cause for concern, as a day’s worth of bleeding can be a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, where a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus.
No PMS symptoms
Ms. Khan says that while PMS symptoms are extremely common, they are not as normal as women are led to believe.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name given to symptoms experienced in the weeks leading up to a period, such as discomfort or anxiety, breast swelling or tenderness.
Many patients also experience cognitive problems such as brain fog, skin problems, swelling of the hands and feet, and muscle and joint pain.
Ms Khan says that if you don’t suffer from PMS “this means you have some happy hormones in your body.”
The NHS says the cause of PMS is unknown, but it is believed to be due to a change in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle.
Experts suggest that estrogen may become a dominant sex hormone over progesterone, leading to imbalances.
These hormones influence chemicals in the brain that affect mood, such as serotonin and dopamine, so it is believed that an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone can negatively affect these chemicals, leading to mood swings.
The blood is a healthy red color.
The fifth sign of a healthy period is that your blood is a “healthy red color with no clots.” according to Ms. Khan.
A change in the color of your period blood can reveal a lot about your overall health.
But Dr. Shah disagrees, saying, “When it comes to red blood, this isn’t always a sign of a healthy period, as the color can vary from person to person.”
The two types of ‘normal’ period blood colors are bright red and dark red.
According to Livi, an NHS Digital GP, bright red blood is a constant stream of fresh blood on the busiest days of a period.
It is bright red in color as it generally passes through your body at a faster rate and has little time to oxidize and darken.
Dark red blood is also common and is oxidized blood seen at the beginning or end of your period, or after delivery.
This blood color is more common in the morning, as experts say that after bedtime, the blood oxidizes inside the uterus before it comes out.
But there are some blood colors that could be a sign of health problems.
Brown or black blood can be a possible sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, while light pink blood can be a sign of anemia or perimenopause (the transition to menopause).
And orange blood, which is menstrual blood mixed with cervical fluid, can be a sign of infections like trichomoniasis or bacterial vaginosis, while gray blood could indicate a miscarriage or infection.
And experts say that menstrual blood clots can occur on the heaviest days of your period, as your flow is faster and heavier than the body can process, resulting in clots.
“Menstrual clots are normal, but they can also be a sign that you’re having heavy periods (menorrhagia),” said Dr. Elisabeth Rosén, a gynecologist.
And the NHS says blood clots are only a cause for concern if they’re larger than 2.5cm (the size of a 10p coin).