What is ‘period delay’?
Period delay is when you choose to delay your normal monthly period. Sometimes, this is done by taking a period delay tablet called Norethisterone.
Why do women delay their period?
There are many reasons why you may choose to delay your period. Maybe you have a wedding or holiday planned and you want to delay your period until after the event. Likewise, you may wish to avoid the stress or discomfort of a period during a house move, job change or another stressful event.
What is a normal menstrual cycle?
A normal menstrual cycle starts on the first day of a period and ends on the day before the next period. During the first half of the cycle, the female hormone oestrogen levels begin to rise. Oestrogen makes the womb lining thicken in preparation for pregnancy.
The midpoint of the menstrual cycle is around 10 to 16 days after the period. An egg is released from the ovaries in a process called ovulation. This is when a woman is most fertile.
During the second half of the menstrual cycle, another female hormone, called progesterone, begins to rise which keeps the womb ready for possible egg implantation. If the egg is not fertilised, hormones levels decrease and the lining of the womb is shed. This is the menstrual bleed or period and the cycle begins all over again.
A normal menstrual cycle can last anywhere between 21 and 40 days.
How do period delay tablets work?
Period delay tablets work by mimicking the natural female hormone, progesterone. By keeping the progesterone levels raised, it stops the lining of the womb from shedding and this delays the period.
How long can I delay my period for?
Using the period delay tablet, Norethisterone, a period can be delayed by up to 17 days. The tablet needs to be taken from three days before your normally expected period.
Can I use period delay tablets while taking the combined pill?
No. You cannot take the period delay tablet Norethisterone if you are using the combined contraceptive pill. Instead, you can use two packets of combined pills back to back. However, some women may experience bloating, spotting or bleeding using this method. It is best to consult your GP or pharmacist before taking back to back contraceptive pill packets as the method may vary depending on which combined pill you take.
What are the side effects of delaying your period?
Taking the period delay pill is safe but should only be used occasionally. By delaying your period, you may experience increased breast tenderness, headaches, nausea and changes in mood. You may also experience a rash or dizziness.
Is the period delay tablet a form of contraception?
No. The period delay tablet is not a form of contraception and you can still get pregnant whilst taking it. You need to consider another form of contraception, such as condoms, whilst taking the period delay pill.