The Dangerous Hack Sydney Sweeney Used to Try to Stop Her Period

The Dangerous Hack Sydney Sweeney Used to Try to Stop Her Period

by Sue Jones
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In a new interview with Cosmopolitan, 24-year-old actor Sydney Sweeney opened up about her start in the industry, playing Cassie in Euphoria, and getting her period on the same day as an important lingerie photoshoot. 

The candid back and forth with writer Jessica Goodman, published on February 7, included Sweeney discussing a distressing moment she had on Instagram Live in May 2021. In the Live, Sweeney had started crying when talking about her struggles with cyberbullies. Then, in her Cosmo interview, she revealed that day had been even worse than it sounded. 

“That morning, I had a campaign shoot for a lingerie company. I started my period and I did not want to put a tampon in because I didn’t want to be bloated in the photos,” said Sweeney. “I Googled that you could take, like, three or four pills of birth control and mix it with Advil or Tylenol and it’ll make you stop your period. I did that and went to the photo shoot an hour later and started feeling dizzy and nauseous.” She continued: “I was like, Fuck, maybe I need to eat something. I had a muffin and it did not make me feel good. All of a sudden, I threw up in the middle of this shoot, everywhere.” Sweeney was deeply embarrassed. The event contributed to her headspace later that night when she wound up crying on Instagram Live as trolls degraded her appearance. 

Before we unpack the various reproductive health nuances here, a few things. First, we can’t exactly blame Sweeney for trying to skip her period. You can probably relate to that sinking feeling of your period announcing its unwanted arrival at the most inconvenient time. It’s also not fair to lambast Sweeney for trying a potential period hack that, as we’ll explain shortly, unfortunately doesn’t work and could even be somewhat harmful. Who among us hasn’t Googled and occasionally followed health advice that turned out to be misguided? 

Okay, moving on. First things first: Sweeney noted she wanted to avoid a tampon to then prevent bloating. So, is it actually common for tampons to lead to period bloating? Some people, including Sweeney, anecdotally report exactly that. But there’s no clear medical mechanism that would lead a tampon to cause significant enough bloating that it would be apparent in photos. This is especially true because tampons sit within the vaginal canal and are blocked by the cervix from progressing farther into the body, while the bloating and gas many people experience as part of their periods tend to be centered around the pelvis. (There’s a similar explanation for the reason why tampons don’t appear to exacerbate period cramps, which is another common concern some people have—period cramps originate from the uterus.)

Bloating is a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS, which happens in the days leading up to a period) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD, a very severe version of PMS). Period-related bloating, also known as premenstrual water retention, can happen because of hormonal fluctuations, according to the Mayo Clinic. During that time of the month, decreased progesterone levels trigger the body to retain higher amounts of water and salt, which can cause that completely normal yet potentially uncomfortable bloated feeling. 

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