What Is Involved in Inducing Menstruation?

Prolonged stress may cause menstrual disruption.
Female athletes who spend a lot of time working out may notice menstrual disruptions.
Birth control pills may be used as a way to induce menstruation.
An woman with an eating disorder may experience amenorrhea.
An abnormal menstrual cycle could indicate a case of endometriosis or other underlying cause.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Christina Hall
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are several different ways to induce menstruation, and a lot depends on the reasons why the process is necessary. The first step any healthcare provider will generally take is to analyze the woman’s situation to determine why she isn’t getting regular periods. The simplest interventions involve basic lifestyle changes, particularly where exercise and diet are concerned. Hormone therapy and pharmaceutical drugs designed to stimulate ovulation and uterine balance may also be used, while for other women more natural herbal tinctures or teas may be the best course. In most cases, forcing a period in order to terminate or prevent pregnancy requires a different course of action and isn’t usually treated the same way.

Analyzing the Problem

There are many reasons why women don’t experience regular periods, and some are more serious than others. Medical professionals don’t always agree when it comes to a woman’s need to bleed each month, but most acknowledge that irregular or missed menses can be a sign of a deeper problem. Otherwise healthy women who simply don’t get a monthly period are often diagnosed as suffering from amenorrhea and typically receive treatment to bring their cycles back. Those who get periods but experience them infrequently or irregularly are also good candidates for treatment, since unpredictable cycles can lead to unstable blood chemistry and can also interfere with many women’s schedules and general sense of well-being.

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One of the first things a doctor or clinician will do when evaluating a woman for menstruation induction is try to understand why she isn’t getting periods. Sometimes the answer has to do with environmental or lifestyle choices, or it may be a result of other unrelated medications a woman is taking. More serious medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also be to blame. In most cases, the how of forcing menstruation is dictated in large part by the reason it’s needed.

Lifestyle Changes

Women who do not seem to have any medical reason for their missed or irregular periods can often bring their cycles back on track through a variety of lifestyle changes. Eating a more balanced, regular diet is often a big part of this. Women and girls who eat too few calories often force their reproductive systems into a sort of hibernation, and upping the amount and the quality of food consumed can often fix things almost instantaneously. On the other end of the spectrum, people who are obese often have difficulty regulating their monthly cycles because too much weight puts similar pressures on the sex organs. In these cases, induction is often a matter of getting weight back into a healthy range.

Exercise may also be to blame. Endurance athletes and others who spend a lot of time working out sometimes miss periods, but toning back regimens — or supplementing with calories to make up for those lost — will typically bring regular menstruation back.

Prolonged stress or emotional anxiety can also cause menstrual disruption. Women who are able to overcome these issues, be it through changing their circumstances, seeking therapy, or taking mood-regulating medications, are often able to induce menstruation simply by stabilizing their mental health.

Pharmaceutical Solutions

When irregularity is owing to a hormone imbalance, which is common with PCOS or certain blood problems, the best course of action is usually a pharmaceutical hormone replacement or supplementation regimen. The well-known birth control pill is one example of this sort of medication, and is commonly prescribed to induce menstruation in women who may or may not also need protection against pregnancy. These pills usually work by regulating and normalizing a woman’s reproductive cycle such that a period is essentially forced at a certain time each month.

Hormone therapy doesn’t normally work for women who are suffering from other, larger conditions like hyperthyroidism or pituitary dysfunction, however. These and other more serious medical conditions can sometimes cause amenorrhea, but this is usually a side effect rather than a primary symptom. Infections can also be to blame. In most cases, curing the underlying condition, whether with antibiotics or other specialized drugs, will work to induce menstruation, too. Medical professionals usually start by ordering a blood test and performing a complete health examination, and will make a diagnosis from there.

Herbal and Natural Remedies

Herbal remedies can sometimes work for women who don’t have any serious medical complications, but want more regular or predictable periods. These sorts of remedies are known as emmenagogues, and while they are generally considered safe, anyone looking to begin using them should usually talk with a medical professional since even the most natural of herbs can exacerbate certain medical conditions or interfere with unrelated prescription medications.

Parsley and yarrow, both mild emmenagogues, are common frontline remedies. When taken in high concentrations parsley can cause mild uterine contractions that help menstruation to begin, and yarrow contains sterols that mimic the action of female hormones that work to regulate menstruation. These can be administered by infusion, tea, or oral capsule.

Inducing menstruation can be as much a matter of timing as having a monthly period can. If ovulation has not occurred when a woman uses an emmenagogue, the herbal treatment is not likely to be effective, and medical intervention may still be necessary.

Pregnancy Interruptions

Some women wish to induce menstruation as a means of terminating a pregnancy or, more frequently, as a way of ensuring that they don’t become pregnant after unprotected intercourse. This typically requires a strong dose of various hormones that basically force the uterine lining to separate, shedding any and all matter inside. Drugs in this class must typically be used within the first 72 hours of pregnancy to be effective, and are not legal in all places.

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Discuss this Article

SarahGen
Post 3

@turkay1-- The morning after pill adjusts certain hormones in the body that trigger menstruation.

It work quite well. I've used it before to reset my normal period cycle. It's also effective for preventing conception and is meant to be taken the morning after sexual activity at the latest. It triggers menstruation and prevents fertilization.

candyquilt
Post 2

Has anyone tried the morning after pill to induce menstruation? How does it work?

fBoyle
Post 1

Sage tea is very effective at inducing menstruation. My mother learned about it from her mother and told me.

Whenever I'm stressed or worried, there is a delay in my monthly menstrual cycle. This causes a lot of frustration for me. I experience serious PMS symptoms when this happens.

Drinking a cup of sage tea is very helpful. It contains natural estrogen which helps my menstruation begin. Within a day or two after having sage tea, I will get my period. It's a great herb.

If anyone has high blood pressure though, I wouldn't recommend it because it can increase blood pressure. I don't think breastfeeding women should have it either.

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