Delaying your period for a few days or months can be possible with the use of Ethinyl Estradiol-Norethisteron pills, birth control pills or a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD). However, none of these options can stop a period once menstruation has already started.
Stopping a period with salt water, water with vinegar, the morning-after pill, or ibuprofen is not advised as these methods are not scientifically proven to be effective and can be harmful to your health. Any of these methods may cause hormonal changes, which might result in irregular cycles.
If you want to delay or stop your period permanently, it is best to speak to your gynecologist so that he or she can advise you the best way to do so.
Ways to stop your period
Even though there is no safe or effective way to stop your period immediately, or to stop it once it has already started, there are ways to alter its timing to come sooner or later by a few days or months. These methods include:
1. Ethinyl Estradiol-Norethisteron Pills
Ethinyl estradiol-norethisteron is a medication typically used to treat irregular uterine bleeding, but it can also be used to stop or delay a period under medical supervision. This medication works by maintaining high levels of progesterone and estrogen in the bloodstream, which will prevent ovulation and delay your period.
Taking ethinyl estradiol-norethisteron pills will allow you to get your period sooner or later by two to three days. After a few days of use, it’s common for there to be some spotting due to a light shedding of the uterus, which is not a period.
2. Birth control pills
If you are on birth control pills, you can delay your period by a full cycle, thereby not having a period for a month. To do so, you need to take two packs back-to-back (i.e. start a new pack immediately after finishing the last pill of the current pack)
Note that that there are some birth control pills in which the last pills are placebos (28-day pack). The last pills of these packs are generally another color. If you are taking a 28-day birth control pill are looking to delay your period, skip the placebo pills and start immediately on the first pill of the next pack.
By taking two pack back-to-back, levels of estrogen and progesterone will remain elevated, and the lining of the uterus will not shed.
3. Continuous-Use Birth Control Pill
A continuous-use birth control pill can prevent a period for several months, as it keeps progesterone and estrogen levels high and it stops the lining of the uterus from shedding.
Light spotting can occur with this type of birth control pill, especially in the first three months of use.
4. Hormonal IUDs
A hormonal IUD, like the Mirena, reduces the amount of blood lost during a period, and in some cases, it can stop bleeding altogether. This happens due to the hormone typically found in IUDs called levonorgestrel, which works very similarly to progesterone (a hormone produced by the ovaries). Levonorgestrel makes vaginal fluid thicker and changes the uterine lining, which will prevent pregnancy and stop a period.
5. Contraceptive Injections
A contraceptive injection that contains progesterone can significantly reduce and even prevent menstrual the bleeding completely. These shots are usually administered every three months.
Injecting progesterone inhibits ovulation and it alters the uterine lining, which prevents pregnancy. Because this shot causes the body to maintain high progesterone levels, this method can also delay or stop a period.
6. Contraceptive Implants
A contraceptive implant that is applied subdermally will continuously release progesterone, which causes the body to have high hormone levels. This will reduce menstrual bleeding and can also prevent a period.
A contraceptive implant stops ovulation and increases the thickness of vaginal fluid, making it harder for sperm to travel.
The contraceptive implant is a small flexible rod that a gynecologist places under the skin in the arm. It is effective for three years.
Is it safe to stop your period?
There are some studies being done on reducing the amount of periods a woman has in a year from once per month to once every four months. This can be beneficial for women who experience debilitating symptoms with their period, like cramps, heavy bleeding, and fatigue, which can arguably improve a woman’s quality of life.
However, all the outcomes of having less periods are still not completely known. Menstruation serves to shed endometrial cells from the uterine lining each month, and delaying or reducing the frequency of this process on a regular basis may have negative health effects in women.
Therefore, it is best to adhere to a monthly period and to skip it only for special occasions, like a wedding or athletic event.
How to stop a period permanently
To permanently stop a period, you can have a surgical procedure to have your uterus removed, known as a hysterectomy. There is also a procedure that removes an internal part of the uterus, known as an endometrial ablation.
These procedures are permanent and therefore it’s important for a gynecologist to assess which method is best for you.
A hysterectomy is a surgery done to remove the uterus, which will stop your period, but also prevent you from getting pregnant.
This surgical procedure is usually done in serious situations like endometrial cancer or cervical cancer. This option should be discussed with a doctor, as it’s permanent and irreversible.
2. Endometrial Ablation
An endometrial ablation is usually indicated for women who have heavy periods. After this procedure, the quantity of blood either reduces significantly or the period will stop all together.
After doing the endometrial ablation, however, likelihood of pregnancy diminishes significantly, as the procedure destroys the internal part of the uterus. Therefore, it’s important to discuss this option with your doctor if you intend to conceive in the future.
Why it’s not possible to stop a period that has already started
It isn’t possible to stop a period that has already started because the shedding process in the lining of the uterus has already started due to low levels of estrogen and progesterone. Once these hormones decrease, the internal lining of the uterus sheds and leads to the bleeding that occurs during a period.
When to stop a period
If your gynecologist thinks that your periods are not beneficial due to medical conditions like anemia, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids, it may be necessary to stop menstruation for a prescribed time.
In these cases, the gynecologist will indicate the best way to stop a period, usually until the condition is under control and the loss of blood is not a concern
Who shouldn’t stop a period
Girls under the age of 15 should not stop their periods as it is important to observe cycle characteristics such as cycle length, the quantity of blood, and associated symptoms in the first years of menstruation.
Observing the duration and symptoms of a girl’s cycle will help to evaluate and assess for any concerns related to the reproductive system.