If you want to delay your period temporarily, perhaps for an event or a holiday, there are now plenty of options to do this safely, as long as you follow the instructions from your doctor or pharmacist.
It may be that you want to delay your period just for a short time due the convenience factor, or perhaps they are becoming painful or inconvenient and you just need some time to be able to sort things out in life without dealing with periods as well.
Norethisterone is a prescription only medication which you can safely use if you want to delay your period for around two weeks. You need to take it for three days prior to your period being due, and can take it for up to 20 days. Your period will then start a few days after you take the last dose.
How does period delay treatment work?
It works because it contains progesterone – the natural hormone found in women’s bodies. Taking the medication means your progesterone levels are kept high, which stops your body from shedding the womb lining, delaying your period.
It is a prescription only medication but can be obtained from your GP or by using an online prescription service. It is important to declare any other health issues or medications before taking Norethisterone as it can interact with some other medications.
Some of the common medications which interact include St. John’s Wort – a natural herbal remedy – as well as some antibiotics, HIV treatments, some cancer treatment and some types of pain relief. You should always tell your doctor about any other medication you are taking before using Norethisterone.
Are there conditions which would prevent it being safe?
It shouldn’t be used by women who have had a history of thrombosis, or have a family history of blood clots, so always check with your doctor prior to taking Norethisterone. If you are ordering it online you will need to fill in a very detailed online questionnaire so that your doctor can assess the safest way for you to delay your periods.
It’s important to realise that Norethisterone is only for occasional use and should not be used regularly or long term. It is also not a contraceptive and should not be used as one – it is only designed for temporary period delay.
Can I delay my period using the pill?
It is also possible to delay your period by using the combined contraceptive pill, by taking two packets in a row and not taking the seven day break, but you should speak to your doctor for medical advice before doing this.
It is safe to do this occasionally but it can have side effects including bleeding and spotting and a bloated feeling. You should never take more than three packs in a row in this way and always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
If you are using the mini pill or the phasic pill then you should not use these to delay periods as they work in a different way. If you are taking either of these types of pills then you should speak to your doctor about how to safely delay your period. These pills work with different hormone levels, in a different way to the combined pill.
If you are experiencing problems with period pain or discomfort, or you have any other period-related problems which are leading you to wish to delay your period then you should speak to your GP before taking any prescription medicine.
What about side effects?
There are potential side effects from taking Norethisterone, and there are some health conditions which would prevent you taking this medication safely, so you should not use it if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have experienced any unexplained vaginal bleeding.
It is not suitable for you to take if you have a history of blood clots or your family has, or if you have experienced liver problems. It is important not to use this medication if you have ever had a heart attack or angina, if you suffered from an itchy rash or jaundice during pregnancy, or if you have porphyria. It is also not suitable if you suffer from pruritus.
It can also cause side effects although these are quite rare. You should always read the patient information leaflet to make sure you are aware of the possible side effects. Potential effects include stomach problems, libido changes and bloating.
While it is possible to delay your period safely in a number of ways, you should seek medical advice before using any kind of prescription medication to do so, to make sure it is safe and appropriate for your particular circumstances.