From dance crazes to food trends, TikTok is known for its evolving creativity. Now, users on the app are pushing the boundaries — and their periods — with the latest health trend.
Mixing two shots of lemon juice, a dash of popular seasoning Tajín Clásico and a pinch of salt, to taste, users of the app have been trying to end or delay their menstrual cycle early. As more TikTokers began filming themselves drinking it, questions emerged about the origins of the trend, whether it works while you’re on your period — and, most importantly, whether it’s safe.
“Not me at 2 am trying to stop my period early because ticktock said so,” one user @jaymelynn11 wrote on Jan. 3. “I’ll update tomorrow to let ya’ll know if it worked.” In a follow-up video, she reported that the method reduced her bleeding "significantly."
For Jayria Daniel, the lemon juice trick is tried and true. Three years ago, the Detroit native drank lemon juice shots for several days to delay her period upon returning to her alma mater for homecoming.
“I went to the Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and I didn't want to be cramping and on (my period) during my homecoming. That's the one weekend of the year that I asked for, and mother nature wanted to come in,” 30-year-old Daniel said with a laugh.
Before the emergence of TikTok and after going down a rabbit hole on Google, the lifestyle blogger was introduced to this trick while searching for remedies to manage severe cramps.
She expected her period to arrive on Friday, so Daniel said she took one shot of lemon juice every day prior — and her period didn't come. She continued to drink lemon juice throughout the weekend and didn’t start bleeding until the day she returned from the celebration.
The lemon juice shot isn’t effective for everyone, nor is it a method endorsed by OB-GYNs. On @jaymelynn11's video, 26-year-old Karla Jiménez commented, “Us Mexicans learn this combo very early on in life. It doesn’t work for stopping period or anything tho, it’s strictly for taste (laughing crying emoji).”
The Georgia-based esthetician and makeup artist stumbled across the video on social media and initially thought the trend was funny. Although Jiménez never drank the shot to delay her period, she felt like she had been “doing that (her) whole life” since the flavor combination wasn’t new to her.
Jiménez said, “I think a lot of Latinas related to (my comment) too. We put lemon, salt and chili powder on everything, but usually mix it in with other foods like popcorn or fruit. I do have a friend who does (the shot) all the time because she loves acidic foods.”
The origins of the menstruation trick are still unknown and are not tied to a certain region or belief system. According to Dallas-based gynecologist Dr. Jessica Shepherd, the trend is likely rooted in widespread cultural beliefs that promote natural remedies such as mint tea, chamomile tea, Epsom salts and more.
With over 15 years in practice, Shepherd warns that there is no substantial evidence that lemon juice will impact how hormones trigger your uterus to shed your endometrial lining.
Shepherd said, “There are no studies to support that lemon juice deters or halts your period. There are anecdotal reports that something very high in acid, like citrus fruit, can help push back bleeding. Remedies can work as far as changing pH and helping ease some of the dysmenorrhea, which is menstrual cramps.”
Although some users commented that their bleeding intensified following the shot and they experienced other effects, every body and every individual reacts differently to what they consume. Shepherd said that the drink is not inherently harmful because its contents are natural, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with delaying your period.
“We are able to do that by manipulating hormones, but there's no harm in doing that. Under guidance, I think it can be done,” Shepherd advised. “The way and the frequency at which we would give birth control pills is a way to do it.”
While neither Jiménez nor Daniel would recommend trying to delay every period, both agree that the overwhelmingly positive, lighthearted response to the TikTok trend is fostering a sense of vulnerability and community to reduce the stigma around period health.