Certain treatments, remedies, and lifestyle changes like reducing stress or exercise may help induce a delayed or missing period, depending on the cause.
There are various reasons why you might wish to induce your period. Perhaps you want to get your period over and done with before a holiday or a special occasion. Maybe you have an irregular cycle and want more predictability so that you can plan a pregnancy. Or maybe your period is delayed, causing you to feel stressed or worried.
If your period is delayed, or you stopped getting it, treating the cause may help you regulate your monthly cycle.
A typical menstrual cycle is considered to be 21 to 35 days.
The absence of menstruation during the reproductive years is called amenorrhea. For people who regularly have their period, if you go without it for 6 months, you may have amenorrhea. This condition affects about
Amenorrhea can be caused by conditions that may include:
- low or high body weight
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- hormonal contraceptives
- chronic conditions such as diabetes or celiac disease
- certain acute illnesses
- thyroid issues, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
- hormonal issues, such as those caused by the pituitary gland or hypothalamus
- tumors affecting the ovaries or pituitary gland
- chronic ovulation
Girls who haven’t started their periods by the age of 15 or 5 years after initial breast development are considered to have primary amenorrhea.
There are several possible causes of delayed or missing periods:
- anatomical differences, such as those that can cause a vaginal blockage or the absence of a vagina or cervix
- injury to the reproductive organs, such as Asherman syndrome or cervical stenosis
- elevated levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- hyperprolactinemia, or having high levels of the hormone prolactin
- pituitary gland issues
Substances that can help induce a period are called emmenagogues. Be aware that some emmenagogues are also abortifacients, which is a substance that can cause miscarriages in pregnancy.
If there’s a chance your period is late because you are pregnant, using emmenagogues to induce a period may terminate your pregnancy. This can be dangerous. If there’s a chance you are pregnant, do not take these substances.
If you are trying any herbs, be sure to get them from a reputable source. The U.S.
There may be concerns with quality, purity, or dosage. They may contain more or less of the ingredients on the label.
It is best to look for herbal supplements that may be verified by a third party, such as ConsumerLab or USP.
Because the absence of your period may be due to another condition, treatment typically involves first determining the cause. Once the cause is treated, your period may return.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries and small cysts. If it is the reason for your missed periods, doctors may recommend treatments that include:
- oral contraceptives or progestin-containing birth control
- metformin (Glucophage, Riomet, Glumetza) for insulin resistance to prevent diabetes
- weight loss
- medications called statins to prevent or treat high cholesterol
If you have hypothyroidism, it means your thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can affect your body’s functions, including metabolism, and lead to weight gain, fatigue, and depression. The most common cause is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto thyroiditis.
Treatment for hypothyroidism can include taking a thyroid hormone replacement to increase your levels.
Conversely, if you have hyperthyroidism, it means your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. This can lead to weight loss, anxiety, and an irregular heartbeat.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism can involve medication, radioactive iodine to damage the thyroid — and cause it to produce less thyroid hormone — or surgery.
Hyperprolactinemia can occur when you have high levels of prolactin in your blood. This hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and is involved in stimulating breast milk production.
It can be caused by certain medications, like antidepressant and antihypertensive medications, and health conditions. The most common cause is a noncancerous tumor in the pituitary gland.
Treatment for hyperprolactinemia may include:
- changing medication
- medication to reduce prolactin levels, such as bromocriptine (Parlodel, Cycloset) or cabergoline
- radiation therapy
- surgery to remove pituitary gland tumor
- thyroid hormone therapy
Ovarian insufficiency, sometimes called ovarian failure, can occur when the ovaries stop working before the age of
This condition can be caused by having the ovaries removed, cancer treatments, or other health conditions. It can also be caused by issues with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.
The primary treatment is hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.
If the reason you’re experiencing ovarian insufficiency is due to hypothalamus or pituitary gland issues, doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, such as nutrition guidance, or hormone therapy.
Some people believe that vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, can induce your period. But there is not reliable scientific evidence to back up this claim.
It’s thought that vitamin C can elevate your estrogen levels and lower progesterone levels. This causes the uterus to contract and the lining of the uterus to break down, leading to the onset of menstruation.
To try this method, you can take vitamin supplements or simply eat foods that contain vitamin C. Citrus fruits, berries, black currants, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, red and green peppers, and tomatoes are all good sources of vitamin C.
If taking supplements, be careful to stay within the recommended safety limit — too much vitamin C can be dangerous.
Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme believed to affect estrogen and other hormones.
A 2017 study suggests bromelain may help reduce inflammation. This means it could help causes of irregular periods related to inflammation.
However, there’s no scientific evidence that suggests pineapple or bromelain supplements will induce a period.
Ginger is a traditional remedy for inducing periods and is believed to cause uterine contractions. However, this remains unproven by scientific research.
Ginger may have anti-inflammatory properties, and it is used to treat stomach pain and menstrual pain, according to a 2015 review.
In a 2016
Ginger can be unpleasant to eat raw, so the easiest way to take it is to make ginger tea. To use this method, boil a fresh piece of peeled, sliced ginger in a pan of water for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain and sweeten the tea to taste, if needed, before drinking.
Parsley contains high levels of vitamin C as well as apiol, which may help to stimulate uterine contractions. However, apiol is also
To make parsley tea, simply pour a cup of boiling water over a couple tablespoons of fresh parsley and allow it to steep for about 5 minutes before drinking.
Turmeric is another traditional remedy believed by some to be an emmenagogue. It’s supposed to work by affecting estrogen and progesterone levels, although scientific research is lacking.
There are many ways to include turmeric in your diet. You can add it to curries, rice, or vegetable dishes. Or you can add it to water or milk with other spices and sweeteners for a warming drink.
Dong quai, also known as female ginsing or angelica sinensis, is an herb native to China and a
It may not be safe to consume in large doses or if you are pregnant or nursing.
Dong quai may be made into a tea and is frequently sold in mixtures with other herbs.
Black cohosh is another herbal supplement that may help regulate the menstrual cycle. It’s said to help tone the uterus and promote the shedding of the uterine lining.
Short-term use of this herb
Black cohosh is known to interact with many medications. It’s not recommended for people who are on blood pressure or heart medications or who have a history of liver problems.
Stress can sometimes be the cause of a delayed or missed period.
An increase in stress hormones may affect those hormones that are needed to maintain a regular menstrual cycle.
There are many ways to relieve stress and promote relaxation, and what works best will vary between individuals. Ideas can include:
- reducing workload or other stressors, if possible
- spending time with friends and family
- yoga and breathing techniques
- engaging in an enjoyable hobby
- using meditation or mindfulness techniques
Warm compress or bath
A warm bath may help relax tight muscles and relieve emotional stress. Perhaps this is the reason for anecdotal reports that this can help to bring on your period.
You can try adding some relaxing scented oil to a bath. You could also try using a warm compress such as a hot water bottle by applying it to the abdomen.
Heat may help you relax. It may also help increase blood flow to the area, thus gently accelerating the menstrual cycle. However, research is needed to support this.
Regular sex can also reduce the effects of stress and help to promote a healthy hormonal balance.
Reducing exercise if you’re an athlete
People who limit their food intake and engage in extreme exercise, with or without the use of laxatives, may develop amenorrhoea. This may be considered a warning sign for other health issues associated with low energy, such as poor bone accrual and low bone mineral density, both of which are associated with decreased bone strength.
If you may have amenorrhoea due to low energy availability, it is best to reduce the amount of exercise you do on a daily basis. You may want to see a doctor or trainer to determine how much exercise is safe for you to perform.
A more long-term solution to the problem of irregular periods is to use a hormonal contraceptive. By controlling the levels of hormones in the body, these contraceptives can bring a degree of certainty over when your period will arrive.
These can also come with side effects. Speak to your doctor before deciding if this is something you would like to try.
It’s important to remember that missing or delayed periods may be symptoms of an underlying problem. You should seek medical advice if:
- you suspect you may be pregnant
- you miss three periods in a row
- your periods stop before the age of 45
- you’re still having periods after the age of 55
- you experience bleeding in between periods or after sex
- your periods suddenly change, become much heavier, or are more erratic
- you experience postmenopausal bleeding (bleeding more than 12 months after your periods have stopped)
- you experience bleeding while on hormone replacement therapy
If you don’t already have an OBGYN, our Healinggeeks FindCare tool can help you connect to physicians in your area.
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