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Can you delay your period for a few days — because you have an important sports event or a vacation coming up, for instance — or can you bring your period on early so that it will have finished in time for a certain event?

This is a question women have asked through the ages, and alongside one particular modern way of manipulating the timing of menstruation, there are also many home remedies. Though unproven, many women find these methods work for them. Some are completely safe, while others need to be used with extreme caution or not at all. 

Delaying Menstruation

Women who are already taking oral contraceptives have a sure-fire way to manipulate the timing of their period. Should you be using birth control pills that contain a series of inactive (placebo) pills, you can simply skip those and reach for the next active pill. If you are taking a monophasic pill that would normally require you to take a break, skip that break and move on to the next packet. Women who plan to manipulate the timing of their period this way should ideally check in with their healthcare provider before taking this step. 

In addition, there is also norethisterone. This is an ingredient in many birth control pills, but as a stand-alone drug, it serves the purpose of treating menstrual abnormalities. It can also be used to delay periods. Ask your doctor about this option if you are interested. 

Other, more natural but unproven ways to delay your period include upping your amount of exercise in the days prior to menstruation, eating gram lentils for a week before your period is due, and increasing your water intake. Then, there is the fact that being stressed can delay the onset of your period. Of course, stressing yourself out on purpose is both difficult and not exactly recommended!

Inducing Your Period Early

Inducing your period early, too, can have the effect you are after — that is, not being on your period on a certain date. Substances that induce menstruation are called emmanagogues, and many natural ones exist. 

To induce your period a little earlier, you may try drinking ginger tea or simply placing fresh grated ginger in a large glass of water and drinking it. Parsley leaves, too, are said to induce menstruation, along with an increased intake of spicy foods. There is no scientific evidence that these things work, but you may like to try and will experience no harm from these substances. 

Other herbal remedies used to induce menstruation include Pennyroyal, Tansy leaves, Angelica leaves and even large doses of vitamin C. The list goes on. Traditional midwives, some of which still practice today, will tell you that these substances cannot only induce a menstruation that was already on its way a little earlier, but they can also terminate a pregnancy. Therefore, I caution you to stay away from these remedies. Pregnant women seeking a termination should not experiment with herbal remedies (unless they have absolutely no access to safe and legal abortion) and most women who would like to bring their period on a little early have no intention of inducing an abortion. 

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