How can I use herbs for an earlier period?
July 17, 2008 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Any way I can use herbs to make my period come earlier?

My period is supposed to arrive right on the day I start a week long vacation in the desert in August.
Are there any herbs that would make it arrive earlier? And how should I take them?
I'm not on the pill and have a Paraguard IUD. Oh, and I'm not pregnant.

Thank you!
posted by mafedeso to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by tiburon at 11:20 AM on July 17, 2008

you can delay your period if you're on the pill by substituting active pills for placebos, but i don't know if you have enough time to swap out birth control methods. talk to your doctor.

can't think of any herbal remedies.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:24 AM on July 17, 2008

I've asked my OB/GYN the same question for pretty much the same reasons (I also have the Paragard). Her answer was "no", unless you are prepared to deal with hormonal medications (which she was unwilling to prescribe and I was unwilling to take)--if your vacation is more than a month or two away, you might be able to influence the date of your period with prescription birth control pills.
posted by halogen at 11:24 AM on July 17, 2008

I'm guessing you're dreading dealing with cramps and fatigue and mess at BRC.

Getting Aunt Flo to hurry up is a fool's errand. Sorry, kid. Woman up and drug it out! Painkillers and, well, uppers of the best kind you can get, if you feel like partying through a menstrual fatigue. A ton of advil and red bull... or their more expensive counterparts, oxycontin and coke, if you can get 'em. It's a special occasion, right? *shrug* Herbs are lovely, dear, but not for every application.

If you've never been to BRC before, I'd also say that tampons won't hurt the port-a-potties, and maybe just carry alcohol wipes or purell to clean your hands after changing them. At least you don't have to sit down to change one.

Have fun!!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:36 AM on July 17, 2008


Bring tampons, painkillers, and baby wipes.
posted by lullaby at 11:52 AM on July 17, 2008

I've used this "trick" before to make my period come a day or so earlier so I wouldn't have it during a *very* long business trip I had to make. It worked well, but be warned that I did experience a more "intense" period--harder cramps, etc--as was pointed out by another poster in the thread I linked to.

I doubt it would be a good idea to do it all the time (IANAD to boot), but I don't think it would be horrible to do once in a great while.
posted by Verdandi at 11:52 AM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've hurried it up by a couple of days with celery - but be aware that most herbs that can do that will also make it pretty darn heavy - which is the last thing you want while camping. It's also not a guaranteed thing - so better to just deal with it.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:11 PM on July 17, 2008

Bring tampons, painkillers, and baby wipes.

... baby wipes? I'm a woman and I'm lost. LOL
posted by gwenlister at 12:13 PM on July 17, 2008

If you have the time, you might want to invest in a menstrual cup. Women in the Peace Corps frequently use them and I think it'd be better than relying on tampons during a desert vacation.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:17 PM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

... baby wipes? I'm a woman and I'm lost. LOL

To clean yourself and your hands when there is unreliable/no access to showers and/or running water.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:19 PM on July 17, 2008

Baby wipes are indispensable when camping. Even when not on the rag. You can't always shower.
posted by nursegracer at 12:31 PM on July 17, 2008

In the absence of using hormones to control ovulation itself, there's really not a reliable way for a woman to "intervene" to manipulate the length of her cycle.

When you're not on hormonal bc, the occurence of your period is determined by the day on which you ovulate + your luteal phase. The day on which you ovulate may occasionally be delayed from cycle to cycle due to factors like stress, illness, jetlag, etc., that will affect the hormones governing your cycle.

Once a woman ovulates (and assuming she doesn't get pregnant), her period will arrive within a set number of days. (That set number of days -- the luteal phase -- can vary from woman to woman, but for each particular woman it is generally reliable, with usually only a day or so variation.) So if you ovulate on Day 15 and have a 14-day luteal phase, your period will show up on Day 29 or thereabouts. If you're ill or traveling and your ovulation is delayed till Day 20 (for example), your period will show up on Day 34. But no herbs, etc. will make yourself ovulate on Day 8 so that you get your period on Day 22.
posted by scody at 12:55 PM on July 17, 2008

You could hang out with women that have already started. Their pheromones can put you on their monthly clock. I started a week early recently because I was spending a lot of time with friends on different schedules.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 1:09 PM on July 17, 2008

Red raspberry leaf tea (a few cups a day) also works to hurry it up by a few days. scody is right that you can't change when you ovulate without hormones, but once you *have* ovulated, red raspberry leaf (or parsley, like in Verdandi's link) will speed up the bleeding part. It works by making your uterus contract faster (and maybe more frequently?), so you'll bleed more heavily. In my experience it doesn't make cramps worse, but your uterus may vary.
posted by clavicle at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2008

This is probably completely bizarre and only happens to me, but my period usually comes a little early after a Pap. It's happened two or three times - I don't remember by how many days, and I have a weird long cycle anyway.
posted by dilettante at 2:13 PM on July 17, 2008

Don't know about herbs, but have you thought of having the menstrual material suctioned out? Can't remember what this is called, but I believe female athletes do this if they know their period is going to hit the week of a big competition. your obgyn would know.
posted by nax at 2:13 PM on July 17, 2008

Nax: It's called menstrual extraction.
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:21 PM on July 17, 2008

IANAD, and IANANaturopath, but I do know that pennyroyal is an emmenagogue. It can be really toxic, though. Consult with someone who knows about this stuff.
posted by greatgefilte at 2:53 PM on July 17, 2008

DO NOT use a menstrual cup with an IUD. Most of the cups specifically say this and it is totally not worth the risk of pulling out your copper buddy.

There's no good way to induce early, especially close to. It depends on how regular you are. You can start with the traditional parsley tea (lots of parsley, hot water, and let it sit and just keep drinking it) and then move up to raspberry and pennyroyal (risk of toxicity for the last that always made me a coward.)

The only way you're guaranteed to move it is hormonal - and even that isn't necessarily easy to time.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:42 PM on July 17, 2008

Thank you everybody!
Yes, I am going to Burning man. It's my 4th year, and every year I have my period around that time. I just thought I would do something about it this time.

I've read that parsley tea is very good for what I need. I might try that.
posted by mafedeso at 7:47 PM on July 17, 2008

You might also consider masturbation or whatever other kind of sex floats yer boat.

The most of it, especially more + active I have just before my anticipated start day, the earlier it tends to kick things into gear. Of course, YMMV.

Have fun at Burning Man.
posted by mcbeth at 12:23 AM on July 19, 2008

I guess there are some kind of garbage cans at Burning Man...but if there aren't and/or you can't throw stuff away immediately, bring you can put your used sanitary supplies in zip lock bags along with black tea bags and aspirin to absorb the odor.
posted by radioamy at 10:11 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Actually, the herb angelica is what you're looking for. I used to be in an LTR and I'd take lots of angelica extract about 2 weeks before I'd be traveling to meet my SO. I'd have my period in about a week after I started taking it, and be all set for the visit. Didn't ever make mine heavier or more painful - just changed the cycle around.
posted by annabkr at 6:33 PM on July 19, 2008

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