If you have an event coming up where you don’t want to have your period, you might be wondering if you can delay it. Delaying your period for several days, a month, or even several months is possible. Here’s what you need to know about delaying your period naturally and if it’s recommended.
It’s generally safe to skip your period as long as you inform your healthcare provider.
There are no proven remedies for delaying your period naturally.
Hormone birth control can be used to delay your period safely, under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
When you delay your period you need to adjust the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in your body. Estrogen is responsible for building up your uterine lining in anticipation of pregnancy and progesterone is produced in higher amounts after you ovulate. These two hormones remain elevated if you’re pregnant.
If pregnancy doesn’t occur, the tissue in the uterine lining sheds, and you get your period. The decrease in progesterone levels is what tells the lining to shed. Maintaining higher levels of progesterone is a way to “trick” your body into thinking it’s pregnant, so you don’t get your period.
Is it safe to delay your period?
Besides vacations, weddings, or other events, some people have certain health conditions where they may want to delay their period, including:
- Severe period pain.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Uterine fibroids.
If you want to delay your period for the short term, the risk of doing so appears to be minimal. One 2015 study suggests reducing the frequency of your period doesn’t seem to cause any known harm.
Do natural remedies work to delay my period?
Unfortunately, there are no foods or supplements you can take that will delay your period. Some natural methods that are making their way around the Internet can have undesired side effects such as tissue irritation and digestive upset. Here are some common ones.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) – ACV has some health benefits that are researched-backed. However, there’s no evidence it can help with managing your menstrual cycles. One study looked at the role of ACV in menstruation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). But this study actually showed ACV can cause a period in those with PCOS who haven’t had normal cycles. There is no proof that AVC can delay your period.
Citrus juice – You might have seen online that citrus juice such as lemon or lime juice can delay your period. However, there is no evidence that drinking citrus juice can have an effect on your period. And in fact, the acidity in citrus juice can damage your tooth enamel, as well as the tissue in your throat and stomach lining.
Lentils – There have been anecdotal reports saying gram lentils can delay a period. These lentils are fried and ground into a powder to be used as flour or added to a smoothie to drink. But there is no scientific evidence that lentils can stop your period.
Gelatin – This has been promoted to delay your period for four hours by dissolving a packet into warm water and immediately drinking it. If you want to delay it longer than that, you need to continuously repeat the treatment. Unfortunately, there is no evidence this works, and consuming too much gelatin can actually cause digestive concerns.
Hormonal methods to delay your period
The only way to delay a period is by adjusting your hormone levels.
Birth control pills – BCPs come in a 28-day pack with three weeks of active pills that contain hormones and a fourth week that contains placebo pills, which don’t contain any hormones.
If you want to stop your period, you can skip this placebo week and go straight into a new pack of active pills. In doing this, your progesterone and estrogen levels remain elevated, so your lining doesn’t shed and you won’t get your period.
Vaginal rings and patches – These work similarly to BCPs in that using either of these delivers 21 days, or three weeks of hormones. The ring is inserted into the vagina for three weeks and then removed for a week so you can get a period.
You can also place a patch on your stomach and change it weekly. If you want to delay your period, you would just use a new ring or patch right after 21 days instead of stopping them for a week to get your period.
Long term methods
Long-term methods of delaying your period include intrauterine device (IUD), injections, and implants.
Using an IUD is a type of long-term hormone birth control where you don’t need to remember to take a pill every day. Often, people with a hormonal IUD have lighter periods, or their periods go away.
You can also get a birth control injection every three months, which contains progesterone. It has more side effects than other long-term birth control.
Implants are inserted under the skin on your upper arm and can usually last up to three years. Once it’s removed, you can get pregnant right away.
However, none of these would be a good option if you just want to delay your period for a cycle.
People may want to delay their period for a variety of reasons, but it’s important to know that hormones are the reason you stop and start your period. If you want to delay a period, your best bet is to skip the natural remedies and talk with your healthcare provider about a hormonal method of controlling your period.
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