A viral tweet resurfaced a rarely-discussed method for lessening menstrual flow – and gynecologists told Insider it is valid, safe, and should be common knowledge.
"I learned that ibuprofen reduces menstrual flow BY 50%. We're such a misogynist culture, we can't talk about something that women have to deal with every four weeks for 30 years," Twitter user Holly Wood wrote in a post that had garnered almost 20,000 retweets by Wednesday, including from Neil Gaiman and Mara Wilson.
It's not a new finding – celebrity gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter spoke about it in her TED Talk, it's listed on the UK's National Health Service website, and rapper Cardi B told an interviewer last year that she took two ibuprofen (washed down with a drink of gelatin) to delay her period for a date.
Many women responded to the tweet saying they had no idea.
Ibuprofen can delay periods for up to 2 days by disrupting a chemical in the uterus "I've been advising this for years as a gynecologist," Dr. Lauren Streicher told Insider. "We know that ibuprofen can reduce menstrual cramps as well as menstrual flow."
Ibuprofen and naproxen are both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, that reduce the production of something called prostaglandins – the chemicals that cause the uterus to contract and shed its uterine lining monthly.
I heard that many, many years ago. Did not work for me at all. As for the safety of Ibuprofen, it might be safe for some to take occasionally. I have GERD now so can never take it. And NSAIDS are not safe for long term use. I can't remember the reason why as I no longer use it so it didn't apply to me.