Can a UTI delay your period?

can a uti delay your period
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mandy Liedeman


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common among women, often causing discomfort and concern. While UTIs and menstrual cycles can coincide, they have no direct link. Menstrual irregularities may be influenced by various factors, including stress, lifestyle habits, and underlying health conditions, but UTIs themselves typically don’t directly impact menstruation. However, monitoring any changes in your menstrual cycle and seeking medical advice if concerns arise is essential. UTIs can be uncomfortable, but they usually won’t delay your period on their own.

What can delay your period?

Besides some specific medications, other factors can influence your menstrual cycle. Naturally, the most obvious one is pregnancy, which causes your periods to stop altogether. We also mentioned stress, which can be a big factor — even if it’s unrelated to a UTI on a period.

Sudden weight loss can also cause irregularities in your periods. Low caloric intakes are strongly related to the inhibition of specific hormones that are needed for menstruating. Similarly, being overweight can also cause hormonal imbalances that lead to delays in your menstrual cycle.

Other common causes of delays in periods include

If you are going through a UTI and notice period irregularities, it might be a good idea to review these causes first. A doctor can easily tell if medications, lifestyle habits, conditions, or other factors are causing the delay.

Delays in periods can be concerning. Get the right diagnosis and treatment to regulate your monthly cycle,

Can a UTI stop me from getting my period?

No, there is no evidence to support a direct link between UTIs and delays in your menstrual cycle. Yet, there may be some indirect relationship between the two, as research shows that stress and similar psychological factors can change your period’s timing.

While the topic is still being researched, a comprehensive 2006 review shows that stress can impair the ovarian cycle. This doesn’t always manifest as menstrual irregularity, but mental burdens can delay your period as long as stress remains present.

Mental and physical both types of stress due to a UTI can impair your normal menstrual cycle. Researchers suggest that this may happen due to the hormonal imbalance that stress causes. When sustained over time, the famous “fight or flight” response can release a specific type of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). In turn, CRH suppresses gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) activity, which regulates menstrual cycles.

Another 2015 study supports this theory, indicating that high stress levels can cause menstrual irregularities. Yet, its authors point out that stress doesn’t affect the period duration, amount of flow, and level of pain.

It’s also important to remember that prolonged stress can affect future periods, so it’s normal to remain irregular afterward.

It’s completely normal to feel anxious, afraid and stressed when going through a UTI during periods. Menstrual irregularities can intensify these emotions, so it’s important to discard other possible causes to relieve your mental burden.

What medications can delay your period?

The most common UTI treatment is antibiotics, which combat the bacteria causing the infection. Most antibiotics used to treat UTIs do not directly impact the menstrual cycle. However, the medication rifampin is an exception.

Certain medications, such as Rifampin, can interfere with your normal menstrual cycle. Rifampin is an antibiotic used to prevent and treat meningococcal infections. Although it’s not the most common choice for treating UTIs, some doctors may prescribe it if they believe the infection stems from these bacteria.

Rifampin is known to interfere with both menstrual and birth control pills. Therefore, taking this medication may lead to abnormal bleeding, absence of periods, and increased time between them.

Other medications, like antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and hormonal therapy, can also disrupt the menstrual cycle. If you take any of these, you should check with a doctor to determine if they cause the delay.

Didn’t get your period on time? Get personalized advice from a doctor for treatment.

What medication induces periods immediately?

Using hormonal birth control is the most reliable way to control your menstrual cycle. This might include oral contraceptives (the pill), patches, injections, and implantable devices.

The pill is the most common way women can manipulate their period to induce, skip, or delay it. The following are techniques to manage your period with oral contraceptives:

  • Make your period come faster: Stop taking the pill containing hormones or switch to the placebo pill (the pills in the pack contain no contraceptive).
  • Delay your period: Take the hormone pill daily and skip the placebo pills.

Consult a healthcare provider before manipulating your menstrual period with hormonal birth control. They will let you know if it is safe to do so and help you manage possible side effects. Not all oral birth control works the same, so your provider may need to switch your medication.

How can I make my period come immediately if it is delayed?

If your periods are delayed, you can try the following remedies to induce your periods: 

  1. Get extra vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin vital to your immune system and overall health. One study shows that combining oxaloacetate and vitamin C supplements can help alleviate PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms, anxiety, stress, and depression. While no scientific evidence supports the use of vitamin C for inducing menstruation, many people swear by this method.

The recommended amount of vitamin C is 75 milligrams per day (mg/day) for nonpregnant or non-lactating people. However, consuming extra amounts is relatively safe. Side effects of excessive vitamin C (over 2,000 mg/day) include diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.

Foods that are high in vitamin C include:

  • Oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, cantaloupe, and strawberries
  • Spinach and kale
  • Brussels sprouts and broccoli
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice

There are theories that extra vitamin C could induce a period because it has a similar effect on the body as the hormone progesterone. Progesterone levels increase after ovulation. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone and estrogen levels drop, triggering the menstrual period.

  1. Take Emmenagogues (Period-Inducing Herbs)

Some herbs are emmenagogues, meaning they induce a menstrual period. People who practice Eastern medicine commonly use these herbs to make their period come faster. Evidence of how emmenagogues work is purely anecdotal (based on personal observations), emmenagogue examples include:

  • Parsley
  • Ginger
  • Mugwort
  • Saffron
  • Cinnamon
  • Chamomile
  • Fennel
  • Sesame
  • Chaste tree (or chaste berries)
  • Temulawak or Java turmeric (Curcuma xanthorrhiza)
  • Common rue

Emmenagogues should be avoided during pregnancy as they could cause a miscarriage or developmental problems in the fetus.

  1. Eat Papaya or Pineapple

While scientific evidence is minimal, there is a long-standing claim that certain fruits, particularly papaya and pineapple, are natural emmenagogues. Papaya can affect progesterone levels, and pineapple may soften the cervix, triggering menstruation. Consuming papaya or pineapple in large quantities can cause diarrhea or an upset stomach.

  1. Manage Stress

Stress can delay your period by disrupting cortisol and endorphin levels, interfering with the hormones that regulate your period. You can manage stress by engaging in relaxation techniques such as:

  • Decreasing workload (especially working late into the night)
  • Using a heating pad or hot water bottle
  • Participating in hobbies or something fun
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Hot baths
  • Yoga

  1. Have Sex (or an Orgasm)

There is no scientific evidence that says sex or an orgasm speeds up your period, but it may be worth a try. Having sex or an orgasm may help your pelvic muscles relax and decrease stress. Evidence shows that an orgasm (from sex or masturbation) increases oxytocin, a natural hormone that causes the uterus to contract. Semen contains prostaglandins, which may help thin the cervix and help induce a period.

Exposure to semen would require sex without a condom. You should only do this if you are in a monogamous relationship in which each partner has tested negative for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.

  1. Exercise

Regular exercise can help regulate your menstrual cycle and release endorphins, which help relieve stress. It can also improve blood circulation, balance hormones, and relax your pelvic muscles. However, the body can interpret too much exercise as stress, which may lower your estrogen levels too much and lead to the absence of a period. If you’ve been intensely exercising lately, consider lighter exercises for a few days to see if that helps.

How long after the missed period should I worry?

Most of the time, there is no worrying cause. As long as you are sure you are not pregnant and you feel well, there is no need for concern if you miss one or two periods. If you don’t have a period for 3-6 months or have other symptoms, then you should consult a doctor.

Looking to regulate your menstrual cycle to normal? Get a prescription medication from an online doctor.

Consult a doctor

You should consult an online doctor if:

  • You’ve missed your period three times in a row.
  • Your periods have not started by the time you’re 16.
  • You’ve missed your period and have other symptoms like weight gain or loss, tiredness, hair growth on your face, and dry or oily skin.

FAQs about a delayed period

What is the maximum delay in periods if not pregnant?

If you don’t have any known condition affecting your menstrual cycle, your period should start within 24 to 38 days of your last period, depending on your usual cycle. It is considered late if you’re seven days past your expected due date. After six weeks, you can consider your late period a missed period.

Can a UTI cause period-like symptoms?

Some UTIs cause no symptoms at all. UTIs occur more commonly in women, and cramping can be easily confused with menstrual or pregnancy cramps. Other physical sensations associated with UTIs include pain, burning, urgency, pressure, and tenderness.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Knottnerus, Bart J., et al. “Women with symptoms of uncomplicated urinary tract infection are often willing to delay antibiotic treatment: a prospective cohort study.” BMC family practice 14 (2013): 1-6.
  • Epp, Annette, et al. “Recurrent urinary tract infection.” Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada 32.11 (2010): 1082-1090.
  • Nik-Ahd, Farnoosh, A. Lenore Ackerman, and Jennifer Anger. “Recurrent urinary tract infections in females and the overlap with overactive bladder.” Current Urology Reports 19 (2018): 1-5.
  • Fitri, Inayah, Zulfikran Moh Rizki Aziz, and Devis Ika Widyawati. “Effect of Check Delay Time Difference on Enumerating Bacteria in Patients with Urinary Tract Infection.” Jurnal Biologi Tropis 21.3 (2021): 720-725.

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