Do you want to delay your period?
There are many reasons why some women might want to delay a period. Sometimes, your next scheduled period will interfere with an important holiday or a special occasion. For example, the next time that you have your period, it might come on your birthday or on your anniversary. You may want to delay your menstrual cycle to avoid it ruining your fun. Other times, you may want to find a way to delay a period for the sheer fact that periods are messy, and you’d rather have a delayed period than face the mess of dealing with it.
No matter your reason for wanting to delay your period, there is no proven effective way to postone your menstrual period. Hormonal contraceptives are one proven way to delay a menstrual period, but in reality, you may have to simply accept the fact that your period is going to come every month. However, there are a few methods that may delay your period. Try them at your own risk. I do not recommend you delay your period, due to the potential health risk of throwing your body off its natural reproductive rhythm and cycle.
What Can Delay a Period?
Here are five ways to delay your period. (Some of them you will want to avoid completely, and other methods of delaying your menstrual period are safer.)
1. Manipulate Birth Control Pills and Delay Your Period— Traditional birth control pills (not the continuous birth control varieties) can help you have a delayed period. In a traditional birth control package, you will get 28 pills. Out of this package, 21 of these birth control pills contain active synthetic hormones (like estrogen and progestin), which work to prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovaries). The other 7 pills are inactive (which means they don’t contain hormones. They are placebos, or sugar pills.)
You will experience bleeding during the week that you take the inactive pills. This bleeding is called “withdrawal bleeding,” and it looks very similar to your regular period. Withdrawal bleeding is the result of your body reacting to a lack of the hormones that it’s received the other 21 days of the month. It’s not a regular period (although it looks like one) because you haven’t ovulated.
If you’re using traditional birth control pills, and you want to delay your period, you should skip the inactive or placebo pills and begin a new pack of active pills. You won’t experience this withdrawal bleeding, and you will have delayed your period for a little while longer. If you choose this method of delaying your period, you may experience breakthrough bleeding – light bleeding or spotting in between your periods. Your bouts of breakthrough bleeding will decrease once your body gets used to your new routine.
For women who are using continuous birth control (like Yaz, Seasonique and Seasonale), you’ll only have four periods a year. Continuous birth control is another method of delaying your period.
2. Breastfeeding for as Long as Possible to Delay a Period — If you’re a new mother and you’re not ready for your menstrual cycles to return, you can delay your periods by breastfeeding exclusively for as long as possible. The hormones that produce breast milk are the exact same ones that regulate your menstrual cycle. When you follow the lactation amenorrhea method of family planning (LAM for short), it’s possible for you to delay your period until your baby begins eating food.
For breastfeeding and LAM to work effectively, your baby needs to be less than six months old and you must breastfeed exclusively. This means that you are your baby’s only source of nutrition. Sometimes, you can breastfeed for longer than six months, but you need to feed six to eight times every day in order to suppress ovulation. In order to keep the levels of the hormone prolactin high enough to suppress ovulation and delay your period returning, you have to breastfeed quite a bit.
3. Significant Weight Gain or Weight Loss — I do not recommend this method of delaying your period, because it is unhealthy and it can greatly damage your body and its normal functions. However, there is a strong body of research that links drastic weight loss or weight gain to disrupting normal ovulation. Gaining too much weight very quickly, or losing a substantial amount of weight very fast can delay your ovulation and delay your period. You may even miss your period as a result.
As I mentioned in Reasons for Missed Period When You’re Not Pregnant, all women need a certain level of fat before healthy ovulation. Estrogen, which is the hormone that plays a critical role in ovulation is produced from your fat cells. When you don’t have enough fat, you won’t have enough estrogen to ovulate and you will have a delayed period as a result.
Likewise, when you have too much body fat, you can produce excess estrogen, which is detrimental for normal ovulation. This can also lead you to have a delayed period.
Again, for your own health and well-being, please do not lose a significant amount of weight (or gain excess weight) in order to delay your period. This is a very unhealthy way to go about it. Taking birth control pills is a safer and effective way to delay your period.
4. Avoid Eating Spicy Foods to Postone Your Menstrual Period — There is no scientific data that supports this natural method of delaying a period, but some people argue that eating spicy foods can induce your period and make it come faster. These individuals believe that spicy foods are “hot” foods – which means that they introduce heat to your body. They may cause uterine contractions, which in turn will cause you to experience menstrual cramps. Menstrual cramping helps the uterus expel the endometrium (lining of the uterus). As a result, you’ll have your period.
Spicy foods that you may want to avoid include dishes that use garlic, pepper, ginger, sesame, and any other spices that give food a delicious kick.
Avoiding eating spicy foods is probably the safest method of delaying your period, although the effectiveness of this is unknown. Some women argue that it helps them delay their periods. It’s also possible that this theory is just rubbish. It’s worth a try. It’s a natural remedy to delaying your period, and eating bland foods for a few days never hurt anyone!
5. Add Stress to Your Life to Delay a Menstrual Period — This is also not a recommended method of delaying your period. Women who are very stressed around the time they ovulate (two weeks before the expected start of your period) may experience late ovulation. When your ovulation is delayed, you will also experience a delayed period that month.
Stress is unhealthy for you, so this is not a recommended way to delay your period. But stress can wreck havoc on your menstrual cycle, and cause you to experience missed periods and irregular periods.
Why You Should Not Delay a Period
Although the idea of delaying a period can be intoxicating, you must keep in mind that menstruation is a healthy, normal process. When you purposely delay your period on a regular basis, this can really throw off the natural balance of hormones in your body. You should always think about the potential side effects of delaying your period. Do you want to run the risk of harming your reproductive system to the point where you cannot have babies in the future?
Out of all the methods listed under “What Can Delay a Period” (above), the most proven and effective way is to use hormonal contraceptives. When you are choosing to delay your period, always talk to a healthcare provider and get his or her recommendations first. Do Not Try any of the above methods of getting a delayed period without talking to a doctor.
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