How to Induce or Shorten Your Period
Trying to get your period sooner? Your wish is our command...sort of! We’d love to help and we’re here to provide you with as many resources as we can to help you safely manage your period. All the disclaimers: we’re menstruators like you so we understand why you’re interested! That being said, our favourite tips and tricks are not scientifically proven or medically based. We know how important it is to get medical advice if something feels seriously off and we encourage you to do so if that's the case! If you’re trying to induce your period because it’s more than three months late 1 , or you think you might be pregnant, please know those are concerns that you should bring to your doctor. It’s also important to know that you can’t induce menarche (i.e. your first period) and that’s honestly for the best! Your incredible body will know when it’s ready for that particular experience so please trust it. Your period is a part of your body’s natural cycle and there are no guaranteed methods so kick back and let your body do its thing!
Looking to kick-start your cycle?
First things first- do you know when to expect your next cycle? Our period calculator can assist you with that. Once you know what you’re working with in terms of dates we can get started with our best advice, beginning with taking a deep breath and trying to relax. Yes, we know it’s a cliché but stress can do a number on your cycle so keep that in mind as you anticipate your upcoming cycle.
What triggers the start of a period?
We thought you might want to know and we were also curious so we wrote an article on that detailing all there is to know about the menstrual cycle, but here’s a quick refresher: hormones, your body’s chemical messengers, rise and fall over the course of each month to prepare your body for a potential pregnancy. In the absence of a fertilized egg being implanted in the uterine lining, those same hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, will trigger the process of shedding that lining so the cycle can begin again.
Are there ways to induce your period?
You can normally expect your period approximately two weeks after ovulation. If you’re already on hormonal birth control, you may be aware that switching to your placebo pills early (with your doctor’s go ahead) can induce an earlier cycle. There are also forms of birth control that will eliminate bleeding, including implants and IUDs, which again are best discussed with a medical professional.
Vitamin C: you’re probably familiar with this one and may have taken it for your last cold but did you know that it could potentially impact your cycle as well? Vitamin C interacts with estrogen and progesterone and may help initiate the breakdown of your uterine lining. Citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kiwi, tomatoes, and green, red, and yellow peppers are all great sources of Vitamin C.
Pineapple: a sweet and tasty way to possibly speed up menstruation due to an enzyme called bromelain, which works as an anti-inflammatory. This may be helpful if the cause of your delayed cycle is related to inflammation.
Herbs: there is a category of herbs called emmenagogues2 which have traditionally been used for this very purpose (wanting to control your period timing is clearly not a 21st century thing). Included here are rosemary, ginger, fennel, parsley, and sage, among others. Making herbal tea is a great way to introduce these to your diet if they’re new to you. Dong Quai is also associated with this category and often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to induce menstruation.
Looking to kick start your period without a lifestyle adjustment? Let’s try food and supplements! It might surprise you to know there are several natural options, including a few you might already have in your kitchen.
Is it possible to shorten your period?
Orgasms! Perhaps not the answer you were expecting but the contractions involved in an orgasm can speed up the rate at which your body expels the uterine lining. We wanted to start with a fun one that provides an instant serotonin boost!3 Drinking water and exercising is another option, albeit less exciting than our last suggestion. Staying hydrated assists in regulating blood pressure and making sure your blood doesn’t thicken. Exercise will get your heart pumping, increasing circulation to all your organs. Plus, stronger muscles will contract more effectively, hopefully speeding up your period.
Vitamins are key to your health (as you already know) and if you’re struggling to incorporate everything you need, supplements can work wonders. In our case, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc are especially important for supporting healthy menstruation and reducing symptoms of PMS4.
Myrtle fruit syrup is a traditional Iranian treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding and has been shown to reduce the number of days in a period over the course of three months.5
Heat can also be useful in alleviating cramps, relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow. Try drawing yourself a warm bath or snuggling up with a heating pad.
Generally, a period lasting between two and seven days is considered regular. If you are bleeding for more than seven days, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor. On the other hand, maybe you have a big event coming up and it would be convenient if you could end it one day early.
Can you stop a period once it starts?
The short answer here is no. Once it’s begun, your body really does need to complete the process in order to keep you healthy. As much as we can try to speed it up or control the timing, your body is doing what it needs to do. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, managing your stress and exercising regularly are all essential to your period wellbeing. Please know that you shouldn’t be in extreme pain or discomfort during menstruation and if that’s your experience don’t be shy about bringing your concerns to a doctor.
We know how frustrating it can be to have big plans interrupted by your period and we hope this helps. If you are at all concerned with the timing between your periods or overall length, consult your healthcare practitioner.
Remember, period or not, you can!
Kimberly-Clark makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice.