How to Change Your Menstrual Cycle

There are many reasons for a woman to change or alter her menstrual cycle--vacations, weddings or other important events are all common reasons. A woman's average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days--from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. During menstruation the body is shedding the lining of the uterus to prepare for the next month's period of fertility. The menstrual flow typically lasts from 3 to 5 days. The entire cycle is dependent upon hormones and their fluctuations, so to change the cycle you'll have to play around with your hormones a bit.

How to Change Your Menstrual Cycle

Step 1: Make a visit to your health care provider before you alter your body's hormone patterns. Sharing your reasons for altering your period with your doctor and asking for advice on the best way to do that are both important reasons, but so is getting a general physical before you monkey with your hormones. You'll want to see your provider several months before you'd like to change your cycle, because it does take time.

Step 2: If you are not already on birth control pills, your provider will likely suggest you start taking them. Altering your cycle begins with changing your hormone pattern and the easiest way to do that is by taking birth control pills. Remember that birth control pills, though common, are medication and may cause side effects. You'll have to weigh possible side effects against your desire to move your period before you begin taking the medication.

Step 3: Plan ahead. Birth control pills are generally organized in a 4-week cycle: 3 weeks of pills containing hormones and 1 week of placebos. A placebo is a pill you take that causes no effect on your body. Whether you've just started the pill or you're already on birth control pills, your provider may advise you to skip the fourth week of a cycle (the placebo week) and continue on with the pills for your next month's cycle. This will eliminate your period for 1 month and move it for the next month.

Step 4: Once you've begun the next month's pill pack, continue with them--including the placebo week--as scheduled. Generally women only need to move their period by a few days or 1 week. Altering your birth control pill schedule in this manner should do just that.


Do not alter medications prescribed by a physician without first talking with your health care provider.
You may experience some breakthrough bleeding after altering your cycle.

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