Have you ever wished you could change the date of your period? Maybe you have a vacation, a big event, or just a busy week at work coming up.
The good news is that it is possible to move your period date. However, it’s important to understand how it can be done, whether it’s safe, and what the potential risks and benefits might be.
Understanding your menstrual cycle
Your menstrual cycle is a natural biological process that prepares your body for potential pregnancy each month. The cycle, which averages 28 days but can range from 21 to 35 days, includes hormone changes, the growth of a lining in your uterus, and, if pregnancy doesn’t occur, the shedding of this lining during menstruation.
Can you naturally move your period date?
There are limited natural methods to shift your menstrual cycle and scientific evidence supporting these methods is scarce. Therefore, trying to change your period naturally may not yield reliable results. If you have a flexible schedule and are not particularly concerned about when exactly your period will arrive, these methods could be worth a try.
Natural ways that are believed to induce menstruation:
- Heat therapy: Applying a hot compress to your abdomen can help relax the muscles that cause menstrual cramps, potentially encouraging your period to start. Taking hot baths may also have a similar effect
- Vitamin C: Some believe that high doses of vitamin C can increase estrogen levels and induce menstruation. While there is little scientific evidence supporting this, vitamin C is generally safe in normal amounts
- Herbal remedies: Certain herbs like parsley and ginger have been traditionally used to induce menstruation. However, their effectiveness varies and there’s a lack of scientific evidence to support these claims
- Relaxation practices: High-stress levels can disrupt your menstrual cycle, delaying your period. So, engaging in relaxation practices like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises could potentially help if stress is the reason for a delayed period
Natural ways that are believed to delay menstruation:
- Dietary adjustments: Certain foods are believed by some to delay menstruation. For example, gram lentils have been used traditionally in certain cultures to delay menstruation. A typical method is to make a soup from boiled gram lentils and consume it. Lemon and apple cider vinegar are also believed to delay periods when consumed regularly
- Herbal remedies: Some herbs, like yarrow and shepherd’s purse, are suggested in traditional medicine practices to potentially delay a period. These herbs are usually consumed as a tea
While these methods might potentially shift the onset of menstruation, they are not foolproof or universally effective and should not be used as a means of birth control. The most reliable way to control the timing of your menstrual cycle is through hormonal contraception under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
Using hormonal birth control to change your period date
Hormonal birth control methods, such as birth control pills, patches, rings, or injections, can be used to safely and effectively change your period date.
If you’re using a 28-day birth control pill pack, you usually take hormonal pills for 21 days and placebo pills for 7 days. During the placebo week, you get your period. If you want to change your period date, you can start a new pack of birth control pills immediately after finishing the hormonal pills of your current pack, skipping the placebo pills. This continuous use of hormonal pills can delay your period.
Is it safe to use hormonal birth control to change your period?
While it’s generally safe for most women to use hormonal birth control to delay or move their period, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider before doing so.
Skipping the placebo week occasionally is typically safe, but doing so frequently may have some side effects like breakthrough bleeding or spotting. Moreover, hormonal birth control methods carry their own set of side effects and risks, such as headaches, nausea, or an increased risk of blood clots, which need to be considered.
It’s also important to remember that while hormonal birth control can prevent pregnancy and manipulate your menstrual cycle, it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Being able to safely change your period date gives you greater flexibility and control over your menstrual cycle. Whether you have a special event, a sports competition, or a vacation planned, you don’t have to let your period dictate your schedule.
Keep in mind that it’s always crucial to make informed decisions about your health. Always consult with your healthcare provider to discuss your options, and potential side effects, and to ensure any changes to your menstrual cycle are safe and suitable for your individual health needs.
Dr. Sirichet Anekpornwattana (Fertility doctor) (1 August 2023)