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Is it safe to delay your period?

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There are several methods to delay your period, skip periods, or even stop having periods altogether. These can be hugely helpful for women who find periods painful, limiting or just downright inconvenient.

However, the increase in these types of period suppression has led to debate about the possible health risks of interfering with your natural menstrual cycle.

Is it safe to delay my period using Norethisterone?

Norethisterone is a prescription-only pill which can be used to delay your period by up to 17 days. You start to take it three days before your period is due, and can then continue to take it for a maximum of 20 days. You will get your period two to three days after you stop taking Norethisterone.

Norethisterone contains the hormone progesterone. By artificially keeping your natural progesterone levels up, it stops the lining of your womb from shedding and delays your period. It is available from your GP, or you can order it directly from our online service.

Norethisterone is not safe for some women to take, particularly women who have a personal or family history of thrombosis (blood clots), so it is important to check with your doctor before you start taking it. If you want to order it through our online service, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to enable our doctors to assess your suitability.

Norethisterone is safe for most women to use on an occasional basis. It should not, however, be taken regularly. It is also not a contraceptive and as such should not be used to prevent pregnancy.

For more information visit our online Period Delay clinic, or visit our article How Can I Delay my Period?

Is it safe to delay my period using the combined contraceptive pill?

Woman choosing pills 2 - period delay - picture

Women who take most brands of the combined contraceptive pill can take two packets back-to-back to skip a period, by missing out the 7-day break. See The Contraceptive Pill and Period Delay for more information.

Most brands of the combined contraceptive pill can be used in this way, including Microgynon, Rigevidon, Cilest and Yasmin. If you use phasic pills, however, you should consult your doctor before using this method to delay your period (see below).

Taking two packets of the pill back-to-back keeps the levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body high, preventing your womb lining from shedding. When you finish the second packet, your hormone levels will fall and you will have your period as usual.

It is safe to take back-to-back packets occasionally, but only up to three packets. However, some women may experience breakthrough bleeding and spotting, and can feel bloated with this regime.

For more information on the different brands of the combined contraceptive pill, see our online clinic.

Is it safe to use the mini pill and never have periods?

Around 20% of women who use the mini pill (otherwise known as the progestogen-only pill) never have periods. The mini pill should not be used specifically for this reason, however, as the other 80% of women who use the mini pill have either regular or erratic bleeding.

There is no need to worry if you have found that your periods have stopped after being prescribed the mini pill, as this is perfectly normal.

Is it safe to delay my period using a phasic pill?

Phasic combined contraceptive pills contain different quantities of hormones in each pill, meaning that you cannot simply take two packets back-to-back to delay your period. If you have been prescribed a phasic pill brand you should talk to your doctor before attempting to delay your period.