Getting a Tattoo During your Menstrual Period

What May or May Not Be a Problem for Tattoos During Your Period

Were you thinking about getting a tattoo on your back and wondering if it mattered if you got tattooed during your menstrual period? Is there anything to be concerned about when you're on your period and getting inked? It can be an embarrassing question that you'd rather not have to discuss with the tattoo artist, and could potentially impact when you'll schedule your tattoo session.

Getting a Tattoo While on Your Period

All things being equal, a tattoo will not affect your period, and being on your period will not affect your tattoo.

However, there are two things to consider, which depend on how your period affects you and whether or not you take medication during your period.

Medications and Herbal Supplements May Affect the Tattoo

If you take over-the-counter pain medication or even some herbal supplements for menstrual discomfort, you may be inhibiting your blood clotting mechanism. This is commonly referred to as thinning your blood. In reality, many substances keep the platelets in your blood from properly clotting.

If your blood is thinned due to medications or supplements, you may bleed more during and after the tattoo process. You might also have more scabbing afterward due to this bleeding.

Aspirin is the most common culprit for blood thinning. But other common painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen also inhibit the platelets. These are often specifically recommended for menstrual cramps or are included in over-the-counter medications for menstrual cramps.

Brand names to avoid include Advil, Motrin, Aleve, and Naprosyn. Read the ingredients of any medication you take for your cramps.

Aspirin has an effect for five days. Naproxen has an effect for up to four days. Ibuprofen has an effect for one day. Also, alcohol has an effect, so if you use your period as an excuse to have a few drinks, this could affect clotting.

Herbal supplements can also reduce clotting. These include gingko, garlic, bilberry, ginger, dong quai, feverfew, ginseng, turmeric, meadowsweet, willow, and black tree fungus. If you are taking any herbal supplements, check them for these ingredients.

Pain Tolerance When on Your Period

The second thing you might want to consider is your pain tolerance. If you're already cramping and uncomfortable, you might not want to add the discomfort of a tattoo to that. You might already have enough underlying pain going on that the tattoo pain is made worse. Consider how much pain you felt with previous tattoos and whether you are getting an especially sensitive part tattooed. It might be acceptable for an upper arm tattoo, but not for more painful areas such as the lower back. If you are often cranky when you are pre-menstrual, that is also a consideration.

On the other hand, a tattoo is going to hurt no matter when you have it done. If you're already miserable, you might want to get all of the pain out of the way at once rather than having another painful day if you delay your tattoo until you aren't on your period.


Konkle BA. Acquired disorders of Platelet function. Hematology. 2011;2011(1):391–396. doi:10.1182/asheducation-2011.1.391.