It is not possible to stop a period once it starts, but some birth control therapies can help to reduce or stop periods altogether.

While a person can participate in these activities during their period, some people are not comfortable doing so and wish to stop their period temporarily.

This article discusses if and when it is possible to stop a period for a night safely.

person looking into a mirror while washing their handsShare on Pinterest
Getty Images

A small study on approximately 450 physically active young women reported that up to 74% of study participants manipulated their menstrual cycle, and 29% did it at least four times over a year. The reasons for this manipulation included holidays and sports events.

If a person wishes to delay the start of their period or skip their period altogether, they can talk with their doctor about using some form of hormonal birth control.

If a person uses birth control pills far enough in advance, they can use them to delay their period by skipping the inactive pills and taking the active pills from a new pack.

Taking a progesterone pill may stop a person’s period for a one-off event. A person should be aware that taking a progesterone pill may not work for them, but it is an alternative to long-term birth control.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs), such as the Mirena, may also reduce or prevent periods in some people.

Talk with a doctor to determine the most suitable options.

Once a person’s period has started for the month, it is not possible to stop it.
However, they can take steps to slow the flow or lessen its effects in the following ways:

Take ibuprofen

Ibuprofen can help with pain and cramping associated with a period.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ibuprofen can also help reduce the amount of bleeding associated with a period. However, ibuprofen might also increase the amount of bleeding.

Another article indicates that a person likely needs about 800 milligrams (mg) or four over-the-counter pills of ibuprofen three times a day to see about a 30% decrease in period blood volume.

However, they warn that ibuprofen can irritate the stomach lining and say people should always take it with food.

Anyone considering taking ibuprofen to control their period should speak with a doctor first.

Apply heat

Heat can be an effective way to reduce pain associated with a period.

According to a 2018 review, applying heat may effectively treat the pain associated with a period. However, the review stated that most studies on the topic were small, and researchers need to carry out further studies into the effects of applying heat.

Try using heating pads, warm baths, hot water bottles, or heat wraps to apply the heat.

There are no studies indicating heat can slow bleeding. However, a reduction in pain may make the period more manageable.

Menstrual cup

Menstrual cups are a lesser-known option for managing period bleeding.

According to a 2019 study, menstrual cups are just as effective as tampons and other sanitary products at preventing leaks.

The study sought to address the stigma associated with using an insertable form of period control.

A menstrual cup will not affect the amount of blood. However, it may help stop unwanted leaks and allow a person better control over removing period blood.

Lady’s mantle

Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) is a plant from the rose family.

According to a 2019 study, practitioners of traditional medicine have long used lady’s mantle to help with menstrual issues, such as heavy bleeding.

It is possible that using a tea or supplement containing lady’s mantle may help reduce the heaviness of period bleeding.

Light to moderate exercise

Light to moderate exercise can help alleviate period cramps by causing the body to release natural pain-suppressing chemicals known as endorphins.

The Office on Women’s Health suggest that exercise during menstruation may have many benefits, including reducing cramps. They add that doing light exercise, such as walking, will make a person feel much better during their period.

They also warn, however, that too much exercise can cause periods to stop. If this happens, talk with a doctor or another health professional, as this can lead to other health issues.

Certain forms of birth control cause periods to stop for months at a time.

Most doctors and health professionals consider it safe for a person to stop their period for one or more months by using birth control.

An older study found that using oral contraceptives continuously had no adverse long-term effects.

The only noted side effect from the study was mid-cycle bleeding or spotting, which faded or reduced over time.

Otherwise, people could choose to use oral contraceptives continuously to prevent their period for many months.

A 2014 study found similar results. Study participants experienced unwanted mid-cycle bleeding or spotting as a side effect of stopping a period.

The study found that stopping periods from occurring may have potential health benefits in certain populations, such as in people living with diabetes.

People should talk with their doctor about why they want to stop their period to determine the best method for them.

If a person is interested in stopping their period, they may consider talking with their doctor about doing so safely.

A doctor can suggest different birth control methods that stop a period altogether or only allow it to occur four times a year.

A person should also ask their doctor about the risk associated with taking ibuprofen. Ibuprofen can cause damage to the stomach lining, and a person should avoid taking high doses unless a doctor advises them to do so.

Once a period has started, it is not possible to stop it.

Some home methods may help reduce the amount of bleeding that occurs for a short time, but they will not stop the period altogether.

People who are interested in preventing their period for medical or personal reasons should talk with their doctor.

They may be able to use birth control methods to prevent their period or limit the number of periods they experience.