It’s T-minus 24 hours until the holidays and Flo is still enjoying her monthly stay. So much for that cute white sundress you’re throwing yourself into and all that crazy, hot hotel sex you’ve been dreaming of (FYI, you can still have sex on your period, so don’t skip a kid-free time Ways stand weekend fun). Now you have to somehow find the extra luggage space to pack tampons, pads and spare underwear. Uhhh. Have you ever wondered how to make your period end faster? How ideal would it be if you could magically (and naturally) shorten your periods whenever you wanted?
Hormonal birth control methods are one way to shorten your period. But depending on your medical history and other important factors (such as if you’re trying to conceive), they’re not always the best option. Unfortunately, there aren’t many natural remedies to end your period faster — at least none that are medically or scientifically backed.
Despite what the internet may tell you (and it can be pretty convincing at times), drinking absurd amounts of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar concoctions isn’t going to make your period end any faster. You’re better off saving your mixologist skills for happy hour.
“While it is safe to shorten your period before it starts, there is no scientifically proven way to do this without hormonal birth control, and even with hormonal birth control, the only safe way is to stop your period before menstruation begins.” said Jess Bara. tells a family nurse, FNP-C, Scary Mommy.
There are many misconceptions surrounding this topic along with home remedy myths that you should be wary of. Read on to learn which of these is unsafe. Plus, what Bara says can actually help shorten your period.
Can exercise and diet shorten your period?
Exercising excessively or restricting food intake can lead to a decrease in period length, but is not safe and is not medically recommended by the Cleveland Clinic. If escalated, these methods can be extremely dangerous to your overall health and lead to more serious medical conditions down the road. Therefore, the medical community advises against overstimulating yourself with exercise and restrictive eating.
However, Bara notes that a constant amount of physical activity that doesn’t overexert you can help reduce the cramps associated with menstruation. It probably won’t decrease your flow, but not grinding in pain sounds like a good consolation prize, right? If menstrual cramps are keeping you up at night, try different positions for relief.
Does taking an NSAID help?
Exercise and dieting aren’t going to stop Mother Nature from doing her thing, but there is a natural and safe way to help get your period flowing. “According to USC Fertility, taking an NSAID like ibuprofen can reduce menstrual bleeding by 20 to 40 percent,” says Bara.
“These drugs work by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory elements called prostaglandins,” according to USC Fertility’s website. “Prostaglandins have important effects on the blood vessels in the lining of the womb, thereby affecting the amount of bleeding that occurs during a menstrual period.”
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the directions on the medication label so you know how often and how many NSAIDs you can safely take. It can also be beneficial to keep a time log.
What home remedies should you look out for?
A simple internet search will prove that there is no shortage of self-proclaimed remedies to naturally make your period end faster – but that doesn’t mean they actually work. You may notice relief from PMS symptoms like abdominal cramps, but a decrease in blood flow? Unlikely. While there are myths that remedies like drinking lemon juice or drinking salt water are all ways to shorten menstrual periods or decrease your blood flow, these aren’t scientifically proven facts, Bara reiterates. In addition to the above home remedies, here are misconceptions to beware of:
- drink pineapple juice
- Drink raspberry leaf tea
- drink apple cider vinegar
- Consumption of gram lentils
- consume gelatin
What’s the Safest Way to Shorten Your Period?
If you’re still interested in learning how to safely shorten your period and are willing to educate yourself about hormonal birth control methods, Bara suggests consulting your doctor. “The only healthy and safe way to reduce the length of menstruation is before starting and with hormonal birth control methods,” she says.
“Hormonal birth control pills not only help prevent or delay your period, but also relieve it,” Bara continues. “If it’s safe for you to use hormonal birth control, there are pills that offer the option of a two-day period, a four-day period, a seven-day period, or every three months.”
If you’re considering birth control and want to change the length or intensity of your period, Bara recommends consulting a licensed health practitioner or a digital health provider like Favor, who can provide you with insights into how to effectively and safely delay or lighten your periods.
Bara adds that long-term reversible birth control like the Mirena IUD or Nexplanon can also result in lighter periods. In other words, you have countless options if you choose to go down this path. At the very least, you can always schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider who can provide you with more insight and literature before making any decisions.
Jess Bara, Resident Nurse, FNP-C
hey Ready for more?
Sign up for Scary Mommy’s daily newsletter for more stories from the trenches.