Even if you’re lucky enough to be one of those women whose period arrives like clockwork, it doesn’t always mean the timing is right. Life comes at you fast, and your monthly flow can put a damper on your spur-of-the-moment plans.
The last thing you want is to feel bloated during a big event or bikini clad vacation. While you can’t outsmart your cycle, here are some commonly touted natural ways to delay the arrival of her monthly sojourn — from the science-backed to the downright wacky.
|Natural remedy||Is it safe?||Science-backed|
|Apple cider vinegar||potential side effects||not exactly|
|Lemon juice||yes||not exactly|
|Gram lentils||yes||not exactly|
|Gelatin||potential side effects||not exactly|
|Exercise||depends on what kind, duration, and intensity||not exactly|
Pucker up with some apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (or ACV for brevity’s sake) is the darling of holistic health. It’s been credited with curing everything from heartburn to belly fat, and all with wildly varying degrees of scientific evidence (if any).
Silver bullet or not, there isn’t much evidence that ACV can delay your period. One very small study suggests it can help restore ovarian function in women with PCOS. But that study actually found that ACV may promote regular menstruation instead of inhibiting it.
ACV is also highly acidic (shocker), so downing too much of the stuff isn’t a particularly kind thing to do to your mouth and throat. If you want to give it a shot, make sure to dilute it first in water instead of drinking it straight from the bottle.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy
While there’s no actual scientific research behind it, there’s limited anecdotal evidence that drinking lemon juice might delay the onset of bleeding.
While moderate amounts of acidic foods like lemon juice (and ACV) are fine, too much acid is not good for you. It can work on a number on your mouth, teeth, gums, throat, stomach, and intestines.
Just like with ACV, make sure to dilute lemon juice in something else, like unsweetened tea or plain water.
Beans, beans, are they good for more than your heart?
Another alleged way to delay bleeding is by consuming gram lentils 24 hours before Aunt Flo’s scheduled arrival. While there’s no scientific proof for this, these claims indicate that you should fry the lentils until they’re soft and crush them into a fine powder.
You can also purchase gram lentil flour and save yourself from the business of frying. The powder is meant to be consumed in a soup or a smoothie.
While eating lentil powder is perfectly safe, the gastrointestinal effects of the extra fiber may not be so flattering. You may experience extra flatulence, stomach distress, and bloating — all for a so-called remedy that has zero science to support it.
Fight your period jiggle with gelatin wiggle
Once again, there’s no science behind this, but some people claim that drinking gelatin that has been dissolved in warm water can push back your period for a few hours. To buy yourself even more time, it’s recommended that you drink the mixture repeatedly.
Aside from being rather unpalatable (to put it kindly), drinking copious amounts of straight gelatin could trigger digestive distress and bloating.
Walk it off
People who work out a lot and intensively may experience delays in their monthly flow, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
The delay could mean that your body is conserving its energy and that it doesn’t have enough to facilitate your period. The absence of menstruation, or amenorrhea, is commonly seen in professional athletes.
There’s no science to support that you can exercise your way out of your period on purpose.
Go ham on papaya
Some peeps claim that the carotene in papaya can help postpone your period by increasing estrogen levels in the blood. Others say that raw papaya can actually bring on menstruation by stimulating the uterus to contract.
Whatever the case, neither claim has any proof, but papaya remains nonetheless delicious and harmless when consumed in normal quantities.
Cool as a cucumber
Another commonly touted period-postponing food is cucumber. When consumed the week prior to menstruation, some claim the veggie’s cooling effect will put off your period. Science has yet to agree, but a green vegetable or two never hurt anyone.
Watermelon for the win
Like cucumber, watermelon is believed by some to possess cooling properties that can keep bleeding at bay. As far as science is concerned, the jury is still out on this remedy.
However, there is evidence to support the diuretic effects of watermelon. So add watermelon to your menu if it’s bloating you want to escape rather than bleeding.
While science can’t confirm the aforementioned natural remedies to put off your period, you can rely on good old Western medicine for proven results.
Women using progesterone-estrogen combination birth control pills can postpone their periods by skipping their placebo pills with little risk. However, make sure to consult with your doctor before you do this, especially if you’re unsure about which pills to skip.
Some other birth control options that can suppress your period include:
- Extended-cycle birth control pills like Seasonale: these allow you to get a period once every 3 months.
- Birth control patch: Skipping the patch-free week can eliminate periods.
- Depo-Proera shot: Lots of peeps stop getting their period altogether while using the Depo shot for birth control.
- The birth control implant (AKA Nexplanon): 1 in 3 implant users will stop getting their periods after the first year.
- Levonorgestrel IUDs like Mirena: These lead to fewer and lighter periods over time.
The medication Norethindrone (norethisterone) is typically prescribed as a contraceptive, and it can also postpone your period.
Though not the typical prescribed use and not guaranteed to suppress menstruation, 3 to 4 days before your period starts, your doctor may instruct you to take three tablets per day. Your period will arrive within a few days of stopping the medication.
While Norethindrone is considered a contraceptive, you won’t be on it long enough for it to prevent pregnancy. If you don’t intend on getting pregnant, use protection while taking Norethindrone.
This medication carries some side effects, which include headache, mood swings, nausea, and breast tenderness. If you have a history of blood clotting disorders, you shouldn’t take Norethindrone.
No remedy is 100 percent risk-free, especially if you overdo it. You can indeed have too much of a good thing… even cucumbers.
Gorging yourself on any food can cause a range of gastrointestinal disturbances or skin irritations, so use in moderation.
None of these remedies are backed by science, so you can’t be certain your period simply won’t just show up anyway. We suggest talking to your doctor before trying any remedies to delay your period — natural or conventional.
Try as we might to live around them, periods are just a fact of life for most women of menstruating age, and sometimes they’re an inconvenient one.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your sanity is to accept your period and maybe avoid wearing expensive underwear or white pants during that time of the month.
Or, chat with your doctor about one of the birth control options discussed above for menstrual suppression.