Medicine to Delay Periods

If you have something important to do and “Aunt Flo” is on the way, you may be wondering if there is a medicine to delay periods. You may feel like this will be an inconvenience if you are going to be swimming, intimate, or wearing white clothing. Thinking of spending time basking on a sunny beach in a bikini without the threat of accidents? You may want to delay your monthly period until after you return home. Getting married soon and want to have a romantic honeymoon? There may be something that can help and this article will explain more about how you can delay your cycle.

Is There Medicine to Delay Periods?

There is a way to delay your cycle by using birth control pills. This is up to you and your doctor and some doctors don’t agree with using birth control just for this purpose. You need to take the initiative to bring it up to your doctor and discuss if this is a reasonable option. Armed with the knowledge of what may work for you, you can bring it up at your next appointment and see if this will work for you. Here are a few ways to help delay your period:

If You Are on Birth Control

If you are on birth control pills, you can take your pills “back to back” without using the 7 inactive pills that are designed to lower your hormone levels so that your period starts. You will notice in the pack that there are 21 pills that are one color and 7 pills that are a different color. The 7 pills of a different color are the “inactive pills” with no hormones.

  1. Take 21 days of “active” pills. One month before your plans take your 21 days of active pills from your pack and stop at the 7 day “inactive” pills.
  2. Open a new pack. Start again on the new pack of 21 days of active pills without skipping any days or taking the “inactive” pills. If you skip a day, you may start your period. You may also notice some spotting for the first few days of the month.

Points to remember:

  • This isn’t always effective for everyone. It depends on how sensitive your body is to hormonal changes and it may not respond to the second pack of pills and you may have your period anyway.
  • Remember to take your “inactive” pills after you return from vacation or honeymoon so that your body can clean out your uterus and have a normal cycle.
  • Make sure that if you do not use the whole extra pack and you no longer want to delay your period, throw out any unused pills from a partial pack to avoid confusion.

Another way of using medicine to delay periods is to work with your pills over a few months to “adjust” your dates when you have a period. This way you can schedule certain things during the 21 days you are taking your “active” pills and not having a period during the 7 days of “inactive” pills. You will need an extra pack of pills to do this.

  1. Plan your event. You will need to set your date when you know you will be on the 21 “active pills” but you need to add 10 days to adjust your cycle. For instance, if you will be starting your period October 15th, you can hold your period off until October 25th.
  2. Start adjusting six weeks before the date. If you need to be period free October 15th, start your new pack of pills on September 1st, and take all 21 “active” pills. On September 22, you will take 10 more days of “active pills” from a new pack and toss it out. On October 2, you will start a new pack of “active pills” and take the full 21 days. You will skip your period for the month of October and then when you finish the 21 “active” pills, go ahead and take your 7 days of “inactive” pills and allow yourself a withdrawal bleed.

If You Are Not on Birth Control Pills

If you are not taking birth control, here are some of the different types you can discuss with your doctor:

  1. Extended cycle pills or shot – You can ask your doctor about extended cycle birth control, these are medicine to delay periods, but also a type of birth control. There are shots “Depo-Provera” or pills that will only cause you to cycle every 90 days. You take pills for up to 12 weeks and then allow yourself a withdrawal bleed. You can also take the “Depo-Provera” injection and your periods will cease for 12 weeks. You may still have some slight spotting with these methods, but most women experience the absence of bleeding.
  2. Norethisterone – Please note that using this hormone is not considered a form of birth control. It is only the progesterone hormone and you may not have a period, but you may still ovulate on this medication. It is merely a medicine to delay periods and not protect you from pregnancy.

How to take: For people who are not using birth control, you can ask your doctor about norethisterone. You take it only prior to your period to delay menstruation for up to two weeks. Keep track of your cycle and take 5 mg three times daily a few days before you are supposed to start your period. Keep taking the medication as long as you want to delay the start of your period, for up to two weeks. Then you can stop the medication when you are ready to start your period and it should return within 2 or 3 days.

How it works: Norethisterone works by keeping the lining of the uterus intact. It is only the hormone progesterone, so it does not prevent ovulation it only prevents you from shedding the lining in a monthly period. Prior to your period, your progesterone levels drop which causes you to start your period. Norethisterone keeps your progesterone levels high enough to prevent your period from starting.

Warning: If you have a family history or personal history of blood clots, you should not take norethisterone due to a risk of developing deep venous thrombosis or DVT. Discuss the use of this medication with your doctor and disclose all medical history. Side-effects include nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, and low sex drive.

Missed period after stopping Norethisterone: It is normal to not start your period right away after stopping norethisterone. Your period should start within two to three days after stopping. It may take up to one week. If your period does not start after one week you should take a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant.

Drug interactions with Norethisterone: Norethisterone does not work well or can have serious drug interactions with the following medications: seizure medications, antibiotics, antiviral medications, cancer drugs, certain herbal remedies, immunosuppressants, blood pressure medications, blood thinners, other sex hormones, and cholesterol lowering drugs. 

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