How to Stop Your Period Early: What Works According to Science

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How to Stop Your Period Early? What Works According to Science
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Menstruation is a regular part of every woman’s life and sometimes you may want to know how to stop your period early. Many women suffer from heavy blood flow and painful cramps during their period. If this is true in your case, then knowing how to shorten or lighten your period can give welcome relief. Or, it could be that you have planned a vacation or some other event and want to try and stop your period early.

There are a number of ways that can help to make your period lighter and possibly shorter as well. For example, ginger, chasteberry, and having a healthy diet may help to reduce the number of days in your cycle and make your period lighter. However, according to science, the only way to control your menstruation and make your period stop early is to use birth control pills.

In this article, I will look at what scientific research says about how you may be able to stop your period early or at least shorten it. In many cases, having a lighter period that only lasts a few days can help to relieve some of the discomfort that menstruation brings.

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Factors that Affect the Length of Your Period

The length of your period depends on a number of factors, most of which are connected to your hormones. The American Journal of Epidemiology reports that the menstrual cycle is mainly controlled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. However, other factors can also affect the length of menstruation and the menstrual cycle.1

Estrogen and progesterone usually peak around the time of ovulation, and the lining of your uterus thickens to prepare for the possibility of pregnancy. According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, if no implantation happens, your uterus lining is shed with vaginal bleeding and this is the first day of your period and the start of your menstrual cycle.2  

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Each woman’s menstrual cycle is different, as well as the length of their menstrual bleeding. Mayo Clinic staff say that for some women, their period can stop as early as 2 days. However, some women have menstruation that lasts for as long as 7 days. As part of your normal menstrual cycle, you might have a long period with heavy flow and painful menstrual cramps. Or, for you, a normal period may last a shorter time and have little to no abdominal cramping.2

Hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle are also responsible for changes in your breast size and tenderness, cramping before your period, or abdominal spasms after your period has ended.

Reasons to Make Your Period Stop Early

What are the reasons you may want to shorten the length of your period? One of the most common reasons why many women want to get rid of their period faster is because they suffer from menorrhagia.

According to expert in gynecology and obstetrics Dr. Julia Shaw, menorrhagia is a heavy menstrual blood flow that lasts excessively long. Dr. Shaw says that this is one of the most common complaints that women have with regard to their period.3 This can cause vaginal bleeding that lasts longer than a week or you may have to change your sanitary pads frequently.

Some women also experience bleeding between periods if they have menorrhagia. Other complications of heavy menstrual blood flow that lasts a long time are anemia, tiredness, and fatigue.

So, knowing how to make your period stop early can help to reduce the problems that heavy blood flow causes. A shorter and lighter period can help you go about your daily activities without suffering the discomfort that abnormal menstrual bleeding brings.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that other reasons why you might want to stop your period early are if you are going on vacation, planning a trip, or have an important event to attend. Also, if you suffer from iron deficiency due to heavy menstrual flow, making your period cease for a few months can help to prevent anemia.4

How to Stop Your Period Early: What Works and What Doesn’t Work

There are many remedies purported on the internet that claim to make your period stop early. However, many of claims are not backed up by research and don’t appear to do anything to shorten your period.

Let’s look in more detail at the ways you can stop your period. You will find out what medical research says about the natural remedies that can help to lighten menstruation or help shorten the length of your period.

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Birth control

The best way to stop your period is to use hormonal contraceptives to regulate and control your menstrual cycle. Although not a natural home remedy to make your periods stop, it is the only medically proven way to allow you to stop your period early and control menstruation.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, oral birth control pills can delay or stop the menstrual period. For example, some hormone pills can make a period stop for up to 3 months and some will even get rid of your period for a year.4

Doctors from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals say that injectable birth control methods can also make your period go away. In fact, it is reported that by 12 months, 70% of women using injectable birth control have amenorrhea – that is a complete stop of their menstrual period.13

Hormonal birth control can also help to improve conditions like heavy menstrual bleeding because it shortens the period and makes it lighter. Some women also take birth control to relieve painful menstruation.

If they are planning a trip or vacation, some women take birth control pills to temporarily stop their period.

Ginger

It is claimed that ginger is a natural remedy that can make your period go away faster. Although it may not be able to stop your period in a day, there is evidence that ginger can help to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding and make your period shorter.

Using ginger to lighten your period does have scientific research backing these claims. For example, a study carried out in 2015 found that ginger is among the natural herbs that can treat gynecological issues. Researchers found that supplementing the diet with ginger capsules helped to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding. There was a greater decrease of blood loss and the women in the trial experienced lighter periods due to the ginger supplement.5

The way that ginger reduces bleeding during menstruation is connected to prostaglandin enzymes that have an anti-inflammatory effect. Scientists say that these compounds help to reduce blood flow during heavy menstruation.6

You can incorporate more ginger into your diet, but you should also be aware that certain people should avoid taking too much ginger. If you take blood clotting or diabetes medications, have gallstones, or take high blood pressure medication, you should avoid using ginger as a health supplement.

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Chasteberry (vitex agnus castus)

Taking chasteberry extracts (or vitex agnus castus) can help to make your periods lighter and regulate your menstrual cycle naturally.

Various scientific studies into the hormone-regulating effect of chasteberry have found that it can help alleviate abnormal menstrual bleeding. For example, in one study nearly half of women taking chasteberry reported that they had lighter periods with less bleeding.6

It is thought that chasteberry helps to regulate the balance of progesterone and estrogen and inhibits the release of follicle stimulating hormones.

Researchers say that if you use extracts from the chaste tree to help shorten and lighten your period, you should see some results after a few months of continued use.

Shepherd’s purse

Shepherd’s purse is a natural herb that is traditionally used to lighten menstrual bleeding and ease the symptoms of menstrual cramping.

According to the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, shepherd’s purse can help to manage and prevent heavy menstrual bleeding. Most practitioners use shepherd’s purse with other natural remedies to lighten bleeding during a period. It may take some months of treatment for the herb to show results.6

Vitamin A

In some cases, taking vitamin A may help to slow down your period and make it lighter.

The reason that vitamin A helps some women get lighter periods is that a vitamin A deficiency is linked to heavy menstrual bleeding. For example, the South African Medical Journal reported that vitamin A can help to boost levels of estrogen. In one study, boosting vitamin A helped to lighten menstrual bleeding in most of the patients.7

Vitamin C

The claims that vitamin C can help stop a period seem to be based on research connecting it to helping to reduce heavy periods.

There has been limited research into using vitamin C supplements to reduce heavy bleeding. For example, one small study found that vitamin C along with bioflavonoids could help reduce the symptoms of menorrhagia. It is thought that vitamin C strengthens the capillaries and helps to prevent heavy bleeding.6

Also, vitamin C and help with iron absorption and can help to prevent anemia in women who suffer from heavier than normal periods.

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Diet

Having a healthy diet is essential for your health in general and also to help keep your menstrual cycle normal.

Some studies have shown a connection between heavy menstrual bleeding and diet. For example, the journal Epidemiology reported on a one-year study of women with excessive menstrual bleeding. It was discovered that dieting to lose weight helped to slightly reduce the length of menstrual bleeding.8

Other studies have shown that a diet that is low in animal fat and high in fish oils can be a beneficial therapeutic approach to treating and managing heavy menstrual bleeding.6

Can Ibuprofen Stop your Period?

Contrary to many claims, ibuprofen won’t stop your period, but it could help lighten heavy menstruation.

Some small studies indicate that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help alleviate heavy menstrual bleeding.9 One study showed that taking 1200 mg/day ibuprofen for heavy periods could help reduce bleeding in women with menorrhagia.10

However, it’s important to remember that large doses of ibuprofen and NSAIDs are associated with potential health risks. For example, in my article on the best natural alternatives to ibuprofen, you can read how NSAIDs have been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and abdominal pain.

Interestingly, one of the natural treatments that helps to shorten a period and make menstrual bleeding lighter is ginger. Scientific studies have shown that ginger is as effective as NSAIDs like ibuprofen.

For example, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that ginger is just as effective as ibuprofen in treating menstrual problems. In fact, 250 mg of ginger taken 3 times a day has the equivalent effect of 400 mg ibuprofen 3 times a day in treating menstrual cramping.11

As already mentioned, ginger can be used as a supplement to shorten periods and make them lighter. The journal Phytotherapy Research reported on clinical studies showing that ginger can help to shorten the menstrual duration and reduce blood flow.14

When to See a Doctor

Knowing when to see a doctor if you want to stop your period early means that you know what is normal for your regular menstrual cycle. Therefore, it’s good to keep a menstrual diary to be able to spot any changes to your menstruation.

In some cases, heavy menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days could be a sign of another health issue. Dr. Jacqueline Brooks on WebMD says that heavy periods could be a sign of endometriosis, uterine polyps, or fibroids. In most cases, addressing those health issues will stop the abnormal menstrual bleeding.12

Of course, if you need your period to stop because you have a heavy flow and a lot of menstrual pain, you should see you doctor for an examination and to find out the best course of treatment.

Read my other related articles:

Medical Sources

  1. Am J Epidemiol.2004 Jul 15;160(2):131-40.
  2. MayoClinic. Menstrual cycle: what’s normal, what’s not.
  3. Medscape. Menorrhagia.
  4. MayoClinic. Birth control pill FAQ.
  5. Phytother Res.2015 Jan;29(1):114-9.
  6. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2007 Dec; 51(4): 235–246.
  7. S Afr Med J.1977 Feb 12;51(7):191-3.
  8. Epidemiology. 1994 May;5(3): 352-355.
  9. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2000;(2):CD000400.
  10. Br J Obstet Gynaecol.1986 Sep;93(9):974-8.
  11. J Altern Complement Med.2009 Feb;15(2):129-32.
  12. WebMD. Period problems.
  13. ARHP. Choosing a birth control method.
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2 Responses to How to Stop Your Period Early: What Works According to Science

  1. sylvia says:

    Hi. Ive just raad the article. my period lasts 8-9 days. Although its not realy heavy flow. And my cramps is’nt so bad. Should I be concerned?

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      Some women have longer periods and this is normal for them. Rather than worrying about the length of your period, you need to consider whether anything has changed. For example: if you used to have short periods and recently it became longer and heavier, or if you experience a lot of pain, or bleeding between periods, or your periods used to be regular, but they’ve become irregular. Any period issue that is out of the ordinary for you warrants a call to your doctor.

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