How To Delay Your Period For Holiday

In this article, we’ll provide information on period delay tablets and how they work. We’ll also discuss your options for delaying your period if you’re on the pill.

How to Delay Your Period

If you’re planning a holiday for summer but don’t want your period to get in the way, you may be thinking about if, and how, you can delay your period. Luckily, there is a range of options available that can help you to delay your period, but this can depend if you're on the pill or not.

The most convenient option is period delay tablets, but you can also delay your period by taking contraceptive pills - such as a combined pill - back-to-back. So, which option is right for you?

Period Delay Tablets

Period delay tablets allow you to stop your period; typically for up to 17 days. Norethisterone – also sold under the brand name Utovlan in the UK – is a medication that can delay your period.

Our medical team can prescribe you norethisterone, which you would usually start taking three to four days before your period is expected to begin. The normal dosage of norethisterone is 3 tablets per day. After you stop taking norethisterone, your period should arrive within two to three days.

Norethisterone, which contains a synthetic form of progesterone – one of the two main female hormones – delays your period by stopping the lining of the womb from shedding. It does this by keeping your progesterone levels up, tricking the body into waiting longer before starting your next period.

Medroxyprogesterone – also sold under the brand name Provera in the UK – is another type of period delay tablet that also contains a synthetic form of progesterone.

How Long After Taking Norethisterone Will My Period Start?

Norethisterone can be taken for a maximum of 17 days to delay your period. You start taking the tablets three to four days before your period is expected to begin. While norethisterone is typically prescribed for 20 days, it could delay your period for longer if you continued to take the tablets. However, if you wish to delay your period for over a month, you should consult with your doctor, who may recommend a combined contraceptive pill like Rigevidon, which contains a combination of estrogen and progesterone.

Once you stop taking norethisterone pills, your period should arrive in two to three days.

Can Norethisterone Stop a Period Once Started?

Norethisterone, or any other type of medication, can’t stop your period once it has started. That’s because your womb lining has already begun shedding as your progesterone levels have dropped, leading to the bleeding that happens during a period.

Are Period Delay Tablets Safe?

If you have a consultation from a doctor or pharmacist, receive the correct guidance and take the medication as instructed, period delay tablets are safe. However, there are some contraindications of norethisterone – you may be unsuitable for period delay tablets if:

  • You are hypersensitive to lactose, maize starch or magnesium stearate
  • You are pregnant
  • You have impaired liver function
  • You have undiagnosed irregular vaginal bleeding
  • You have or have recently had angina or myocardial infarction
  • You have blood clots in your veins

There are also some side effects to consider. Among the more common potential side effects of norethisterone, which can affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 users, are:

  • Spotting or breakthrough bleeding
  • Your periods stopping
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Less common side effects of norethisterone include:

  • Skin reactions
  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Migraine
  • Oedema (fluid retention that causes swelling)
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia

Is Norethisterone a Contraceptive?

As norethisterone doesn’t act as a contraceptive, you can still get pregnant while you are taking the drug. That means you would need to use another type of contraceptive like a condom.

How to Use Norethisterone

Norethisterone for period delay comes in 5 mg tablets. Starting three days before you are expecting your period, take one tablet three times per day with a meal. Ideally, you will take each dose at the same time every day. You shouldn’t use norethisterone for more than 20 days.

If you wish to delay your period for any less than 17 days, you may take it for less time. If you miss a dose of norethisterone, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for the next dose. In this case, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the normal time. Don’t take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose.

Delaying Your Period With the Pill

Contraceptive pills may also be used to delay your period. The combined contraceptive pill - commonly known as ‘the pill’ and containing synthetic versions of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone – can delay your period, although this method is not 100% reliable.

Using contraceptive pills to delay your period usually involves taking packets back-to-back; skipping the break of a few days that is scheduled to coincide with your period. If you choose to use contraceptive pills to delay your period in this way, it will not affect their effectiveness as a contraceptive.

Combined Pill

The combined contraceptive pill works by stopping sperm from reaching an egg by keeping them apart or preventing ovulation (the release of an egg).

There are various types of combined contraceptive pills available, including:

  • Monophasic 21-day pills (taken 21 days on, 7 days off), including brands such as Microgynon and Yasmin
  • Phasic 21-day pills (containing pills in various colours, that are taken in a particular order) including brands like Qlaira
  • Every day (ED) pills (which include 7 days of dummy pills)

You could take up to three packets of combined contraceptive pills back-to-back in order to delay your period. But do not try to delay your period for this long without consulting your doctor first.

Where Can I Buy Period Delay Tablets?

Period delay tablets such as norethisterone are not available over the counter in the UK. You can purchase period delay tablets from Cloud Pharmacy after taking an online consultation. Once your prescription has been issued, we can dispense your tablets and send them to your door in discreet packaging. At Cloud Pharmacy we offer next-day delivery, allowing you to receive your pills in plenty of time before your holiday.