How can I induce or delay my period without using birth control?
September 13, 2011 8:12 PM   Subscribe

How can I induce or delay my period without using birth control?

I'm in a long-distance relationship and have big plans to visit my girlfriend at the end of next month. Great! Unfortunately, the weekend of my trip coincides exactly with when my period is scheduled to arrive. Not so great! Is there a way that, just for October, I could force my period to come early or late?

I'm loath to start using birth control for several reasons. It's extremely unlikely that I'll be at risk of getting pregnant anytime soon (ha); furthermore, I have a history of depression and body image issues, so taking medication that could hormonally fuck with my mood or weight is kind of scary. And I don't really know if it would be worth it to get a prescription and pay for a pill just to stop my periods so I can get laid next month.

FWIW, I'm 21; my cycle is usually pretty regular, although recently it's been either a few days early or late. I can't count on that happening next month, though.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming you're not in the market for a diaphragm (heh. heheheh), I have used these with success for that kind of scheduling matter. They should, um, work for a wide variety of sex, not just het.

An herbalist could probably give you some ideas, but if hormonal BC is a risk, so too is just about any other wild thing you might ingest (and I say it as a friend of alternative approaches).
posted by skbw at 8:18 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hormonal birth control probably wouldn't work, so go ahead and put that thought out of your mind entirely. It usually takes a month or two of adjustments (and spotting, how fun) to get things working on a predictable schedule anyway.

If things don't work out with the delaying, you can always use an Instead Cup. I've never used the disposable ones, myself, but they get recommended here a lot.
posted by phunniemee at 8:20 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Drink some Lavender tea. You can look up the effects of Lavender on the Medline Plus website, the correlation between lavender and induced menses is discussed there.
posted by effluvia at 8:24 PM on September 13, 2011

Best answer: Have you seen these earlier discussions of similar questions?
posted by Hellgirl at 8:39 PM on September 13, 2011

Response by poster: Hellgirl, I hadn't! Thanks for pointing those out -- I'd looked through the "period" tag, but evidently not close enough.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 9:04 PM on September 13, 2011

Best answer: You can't induce early ovulation, but you can

1. Wait till you ovulate.
2. Drink raspberry leaf tea, made as directed, a couple times daily.
3. Have some orgasms.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until bleeding. Keep repeating if you want to be done faster.
posted by clavicle at 9:06 PM on September 13, 2011

I understand your reluctance to consult a health practitioner, though *if* you have health insurance, an appointment with an OB/GYN or nurse practitioner might be worth it. You could ask for a BC product/regimen that kills your period, and also ask for samples (if they're not offered, though they've always been offered to me).

Spotting is a possibility, though it really depends on your personal hormone situation. Also, keep in mind that you can start this kind of non-pregnancy-preventative BC anytime and hope for a lighter next period, you really don't have to wait til the first Sunday after or whatnot.

Then if you notice crappy side effects, you could always quit and/or not pay to fill the prescription (nothing ventured, etc etc). FWIW, Nuvaring can be used continuously (no periods) and releases hormones in a more localized fashion, and some people find it affects their weight/mood less. Cue the Nuvaring haters :)
posted by unknowncommand at 10:24 PM on September 13, 2011

Appreciate that you're not looking for birth control, but it's maybe worth mentioning that there is at least one hormonal drug (norethisterone/norethindrone) prescribed to short-term temporarily delay a period. Unlike birth control pills it doesn't require months to become effective, and you take it for a few days, not for a prolonged length of time Doctors will happily prescribe it here in the UK for situations like yours; I'm not sure whether that's as common in the US, but it's maybe worth asking about if that sounds like a solution to you.
posted by Catseye at 4:09 AM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You can use advil (ibuprofen) to delay and shorten your period. Start taking 800mg twice a day three days before your period is expected, and then 800mg 3 times a day the day before and the day it is expected. You can then ratchet back to 800mg twice a day until it comes. This will often delay your period 3 or more days, and when it comes it will be lighter by up to 50%.

Results may vary, of course. I used this successfully to delay my period when the due date happened to also be my wedding day. Held off three and a half days.

It sounds like a lot of ibuprofen, and it is. It won't hurt you to do this once or twice a year though (according to my ob/gyn, who gave me the tip).

Good luck!
posted by ohio at 6:32 AM on September 14, 2011 [9 favorites]

YMMV & IANAD. A good friend of mine once 'induced' her period to come a few days early (with similar motivations as yours) by drinking copious amounts of parsley tea. I'm generally a skeptic of alternative medicine and am unimpressed by the research done on most herbal remedies, but it got the job done for her.

Virtually all reputable sources recommend consulting a physician/nurse practitioner before taking any kind of herbal remedy. (Large doses can differ in effect from the small amounts of an herb you might put in food.)

All of that said, here's some info:
Parsley - NYU Langone Medical Center Drug Database

Again, IANAD, but please don't do this if you're taking blood thinners or anything else that makes you extra-sensitive to vitamin K!
Mayo Clinic

The NYU page also recommends speaking to a doctor before consuming large amounts of parsley if you're taking Lithium.

All disclaimers aside, good luck!
posted by brackish.line at 8:40 AM on September 14, 2011

The diuretics I occasionally take to manage my Meniere's disease often delay my period for up to 4 days if I am taking them during PMS week. Downsides are constant peeing and noticeable dryness in, um, many regions.
posted by elizardbits at 8:53 AM on September 14, 2011

I was prescribed Utovlan in the UK to stop mine, it does come back much heavier for that month when you stop taking it.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:48 AM on September 14, 2011

Eat two or three ripe pineapples in one go, two or three weeks before your trip. But watch out for your teeth, and maybe take some ant-acids afterwards.
posted by nickji at 1:54 AM on September 15, 2011

It's been observed many times that when several women of an age to be fertile live together their periods tend to synchronize. You get this in girl's dorms and in families with more than one woman.

The mechanism that causes this seems to be olfactory. Basically you smell your sister's sweat or your room mate's sweat and your body speeds up or slow your cycle so that it matches hers. Some women do this a whole lot more easily than others.

Anyway, depending on if you know any young women who might be cooperative with a project like this, canvas all the women who go to your gym, or who meet at the lesbian coffee house, ask them when their periods are due, decide whose cycle will best fit your needs -ideally only a few days off from yours as big changes are harder, get them to sprint up and down stairs for ten minutes until they get all damp in the armpit, get them to take off their tee-shirt and hand it to you, stick your nose into the armpit of the shirt and inhale deeply.

Repeat several times over several days, if you you can convince your obliging friend to go along with it...

Better not to sprint up and down the stairs with them for companionship, and then allow them an opportunity to sniff you or your reeky gym kit, or you might get them to sychronize with you instead. If you have two friends who are already synchronized it is even more effective to sniff two different sweat scents.

Reflex ovulation is pretty easy for me to trigger and that of course changes your cycle to the ovulation point. However for me to trigger it I need to be going through a sexual dry spell and not to be having any contact with any partners and then to have contact with one unexpectedly and intensely. I usually end up with a half hour of mittelshmerz and maybe a faint spot on the po-paper roughly two days later which is the time it takes for my system to bully an immature egg into growing up and dropping. My period will then arrive fourteen days later.

This second suggestion will almost certainly not work for you under the circumstances, as you are only getting together with your partner at the end of the month and are trying to synchronize things with her. But if you happen to have an open relationship and there is a second woman in your life that you could hook up with... Also, I don't know if this would work with a woman, as it could quite possibly be male hormones rather than sexual arousal that triggers my reflex ovulation.

Both of these suggestions don't involve taking any kind of drugs, or herbal medicines... But they do require a tolerance for human body odor!

Good luck!
posted by Jane the Brown at 2:48 PM on September 15, 2011

Response by poster: I've marked some best answers; taking ibuprofen and having orgasms sound a lot more appealing than eating whole pineapples and smelling armpits. Thanks for the tips, everyone!
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 1:09 AM on September 28, 2011

« Older how to present this?   |   I need ideas for promoting winter bicycling! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.