In cases where it may be inconvenient to have your period when it is due, for example if you have a holiday, wedding or exams, you can consider period delay medication. This is especially true for women who experience excessive amounts of pain and discomfort during their period.
In order to delay your period you need to know when it is due, and can be prescribed tablets which can postpone its start by preventing the shedding of the womb lining. You will need to take the tablets for as long as you would like to delay for, which can be up to 20 days. If you are already using the contraceptive pill, you can use your pill to put off your period.
Below are some common period delay medicines. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and other non-medical methods may be more suitable. If you would like to learn more about these options, then please click here. Before receiving medication you must answer a number of questions to asses your suitability. All questions are reviewed by a GMC registered doctor before a final decision is made. All medication is dispensed via a full regulated and registered UK pharmacy.
Our Health Care Team
"If you are looking for a safe way to postpone your period for a few weeks that will be guaranteed to work, you should use Norethisterone. Contains the hormone progestogen, and can safely postpone your period upto 17 days. You should begin taking the tablets three times a day a few days before you expect your period to be due, and your period will begin three days after you stop taking the tablets. If your period is not appear you should speak to your doctor as you may have become pregnant."
No woman enjoys getting her period. They can be painful, messy and get in the way of life. Although there is the idea perpetuated by tampon and sanitary pad company adverts that periods only last three days and aren’t an inconvenience, the truth is usually far from it, and most women would rather they didn’t have to deal with them. For most, the only good thing about getting your period is the small comfort of knowing you’re not pregnant. However, not everyone gets their period evenly or regularly, or at all. You won’t get your period once you go through the menopause, and they often don’t settle properly until you’re 18 or so. Your period is also somewhat dependant on your weight. For example, women who suffer from anorexia or bulimia, eating disorders which mean the sufferer may be severely underweight, don’t necessarily get periods. This is because the body decides that as it is too thin, it could not properly support a baby if it go pregnant, and that getting pregnant would put both the baby and mother in danger. Therefore, the menstrual cycle is stopped until the woman returns to a healthy weight. Occasionally, women who suffer from an eating disorder for a long time find it more difficult to get pregnant later in life as their fertility has been compromised, even once their periods return.
Why might my period change?
There are many reasons that your periods may change during life. These can be emotional difficulties such as stress or anxiety, or changes in medications which may affect your hormones. If you start to take some kind of hormonal contraceptive, this may have an impact on your bleeding, too. For example, taking the POP (progestogen only pill) may increase or reduce your periods, or they may disappear altogether. Some women choose to take the combined pill (with a seven day break) to control or manage the pain and heaviness of their period. Many women also experience changes in their period when they make huge lifestyle changes, such as suddenly taking up a lot of exercise, or going on a crash diet. Stressful life events events, such as getting married, moving house or starting a new job may also cause your period to be delayed. In the vast majority of cases, your period will settle soon afterwards. If you regularly experience excruciatingly painful and heavy periods, you should make an appointment to see your doctor as you may be suffering from endometriosis. This is a condition where tissue that should be inside the womb grows outside of the womb and can be extremely painful, but can be cured by removal of the excess tissue.
Many women have their own tips and tricks that they find help delay their period, such as sucking on a lemon, changing when they consume caffeine or how much they drink, or upping the exercise they take, but there is little evidence which supports these theories and makes them totally reliable. But there are ways to delay your period for a few weeks, if you want to.
Why would I want to delay my period?
There are many reasons why you might want to delay your period. It could be that you have an important or special day coming up, such as an exam or your wedding, or you’re going on holiday and don’t want to risk having your period spoiling the fun. But as long as it is done in moderation and safely, there’s no need to have a special big reason to want to delay your period - it could just be that you have a party coming up and the only outfit you want to wear is all pale colours - we’d all rather be safe than sorry.
How do I delay my period?
There are two main ways you can delay your period, depending what contraceptive you are currently using.
- If you are not taking the combined contraceptive pill.
If you are taking the combined contraceptive pill, you will know when you are going to bleed - in the seven day break. It is relatively straight forward to delay your period, just start the next pack without a break, instead of waiting seven days. This will not only delay you period for up to a month, it will also keep you protected from risk of pregnancy. You can take up to three packets consecutively, although it is advised you only take two in a row.
If you are taking a pill which includes seven inactive tablets, you throw these away, and instead start the next packet right away, and again it will not affect the contraceptive aspect, whilst keeping your period away.
If you are taking a pill which has several types of pills in, it is slightly different. These types of pill have different ratios of hormone in to reflect the different stages of your hormonal cycle. Speak to your doctor about which pills you should take and which you should skip to ensure you are protected from pregnancy whilst you are delaying your period.
- If you are not taking the combined contraceptive pill.
If you are not taking the combined pill, you will need to take another type of medication to prevent your period. The most common of these is Norethisterone, which you can purchase from Doctor-4-U. It contains an active ingredient of the same name, which is a synthetic strain of the naturally occurring progestogen hormone. Take one tablet three times a day, starting three or four days before you know you period is due. You should stop taking the mini pill or POP (if you are taking it) whilst using Norethisterone. Bear in mind that although you are putting a hormone into your body, Norethisterone should not be used as a form of contraceptive. You should use another kind of contraceptive whilst taking Norethisterone, such as a condom. Your period should appear three days after you stop taking the tablets, and you should speak to your doctor if it doesn’t appear as you may be pregnant. You can take Norethisterone for up to twenty days in a row to delay your period.
This medicine should not be used by everyone and there may be certain circumstances with your health or other medications you're taking that means you cannot use it. You should not take Norethisterone if you have diabetes, you suffer from migraines, you have high blood pressure or if you or anyone in your family suffers from blood clots. Always read the patient information leaflet before taking this medication.
If you want to stop your period on a more long term basis, there is an operation that can be done for this, but bear in mind that it is not reversible and not usually available on the NHS.