There are many circumstances in a woman’s life when she may wish to postpone her period. A beach holiday or a romantic weekend away are the two most common reasons, but women who have very heavy or painful periods may also want to delay their monthly bleed if they’re facing a big day at work or they have an event to attend – where cramps and bloating aren’t desirable.
Whatever the reason, delaying your period is actually a perfectly safe thing to do, provided you use the correct methods. The important thing to remember is that when using medication specifically designed for period delay you are not protected against pregnancy and you will require contraception such as condoms during sex.
To find out more about delaying your period and avoiding pregnancy safely, read on.
What is period delay medication?
To delay your period using norethisterone, you will need to take one tablet three times a day. You should start your course of norethisterone three days before your period is due to start. After the course has finished, your period should start within three days.
If you may already be pregnant…
…you should not take norethisterone, as the hormones could affect the development of the baby. If there is any doubt in your mind, you should take a pregnancy test before seeking a prescription for norethisterone. If you are unsure when you visit the doctor, they may ask you to take a test then and there.
If you are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant…
…you should make sure you are sufficiently protected against pregnancy whilst taking norethisterone. This is because norethisterone is not a contraceptive. Women who are not using any other form of contraception should not mistake period delay medication for the contraceptive pill. They should use barrier contraception such as male condoms or a diaphragm, whilst using Norethisterone, or consider hormonal contraception.
If you already on the pill, patch or ring…
…you should usually be able to delay your period using your regular contraception.
How can you delay your period with contraception?
If you are using the combined pill, the vaginal ring or the patch as contraception, you can delay your period by “running together” two or three packs – provided that your contraception is prescribed in 21-day courses, followed by a break of seven days.
To delay your period with the combined pill, take it for three weeks as normal, and then start taking your next pack the following day. Do not take a week’s break as normal. If you take two packs together in this manner, your monthly bleed will not occur.
To delay your period using the vaginal ring, put in a new ring as soon as you have taken out the old one, without taking the week’s break.
To delay your period using the patch, do the same, replacing your patch straight away without taking a break of seven days.
You can do this safely for up to three months. Towards the end of your second or third pill pack, ring or patch, however, you may experience some breakthrough bleeding, spotting and bloating.
Is it possible to get pregnant when delaying your period?
If you delay your period by running together your contraception, in the method described above, then you will not be at risk of pregnancy. However, make sure that you take your pill every single day.
If you delay your period by taking period delay medication, you will not be protected against pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex whilst taking norethisterone, you could become pregnant.
How will I know if I am pregnant?
After your course of norethisterone has finished, your period should come within three days. If your period does not arrive then this could be a sign of pregnancy. You should take a pregnancy test or check with a doctor to make sure that you are not pregnant.
A prescription for norethisterone can be ordered by UK patients from the Online Doctor clinic. Women based in Ireland should speak to their doctor about period delay medication.