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Delaying menstruation with a medi-cocktail - Expert advises against it

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Menstruation is a natural process, yet it often comes at inconvenient times. According to TikTok, a mix of ibuprofen and gelatin can delay menstruation. Is this healthy? Dr. Johanna Janku provides insight.

Just as the romantic weekend at the wellness hotel with your new flame approaches, an unwelcome guest announces its arrival: your period. There couldn't be a more inconvenient time.

But TikTok wouldn't be TikTok if it didn't already have a solution to this problem: a cocktail of ibuprofen and gelatine is said to delay menstruation.

At least, that's what numerous TikTok users claim. But what does medicine have to say about it? We asked gynecologist Dr. Johanna Janku.

Dr. Janku, what is ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen belongs to the group of NSAID medications, which stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Its effects are based on inhibiting prostaglandin production through enzyme inhibition (COX-1 and COX-2), which has three main effects on the body: it relieves pain, reduces fever, and inhibits inflammatory processes.

What should be considered before taking it?

The side effects. In the gastrointestinal tract, it can lead to damage to the gastric mucosa and thus cause abdominal pain, even ulcers. Additionally, the bleeding time can be prolonged because blood platelets cannot clot. With repeated use, this can lead to increased or chronic blood loss. NSAID medications also reduce blood flow to the kidneys, which can cause kidney damage, including kidney failure.

What effect does ibuprofen have on menstruation?

Ibuprofen inhibits prostaglandin production, which also plays a role in the uterus. In particular, contractions, the tightening of the uterus, are reduced. Inhibiting contractions is relieving for women who experience severe cramps during their period.

And on the menstrual cycle?

Cramps are inhibited, and pain diminishes. There are fewer symptoms during the menstrual period. By inhibiting prostaglandins, bleeding also becomes lighter, which is well-known.

And this can delay menstruation?

Under certain circumstances - but it's not always guaranteed. We're talking about a maximum delay of 24 to 48 hours. However, it's not guaranteed and varies greatly from person to person. For gynecologists, this is not the preferred method for delaying menstruation. If this effect is desired, it would require a high dosage, and one must not forget the side effects.

What is the preferred method for gynecologists?

Again, it depends on the patient and the situation. If the patient is taking the conventional birth control pill, for example, one can skip the pill-free interval after taking a blister and continue with the second blister immediately. This way, there won't be a withdrawal bleeding, and the bleeding will only occur after finishing the second blister.

And if one is not using hormonal contraception?

There is a medication that can be used to postpone menstruation. Of course, consultation with a specialist is important before taking it.

What about the gelatine?

Gelatine is a protein made from animal collagen. We know it as a carrier in desserts. However, there are no studies on whether it can delay the timing of menstruation or have any effect on menstruation at all."

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