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Is It Safe to Delay Your Period?

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There are many reasons why you may opt for a period delay. But what are the safest ways to do so?

Why would you need to postpone your period?

Whether it's in the middle of a meeting, on a camping trip in the middle of nowhere, on a first date or doing a few lengths of the pool somewhere tropical, the intrusion of Mother Nature is an inconvenient inevitability!

On average, a woman will spend 3,500 days of her life menstruating. But there are understandably some days where this is more inconvenient than others. Even with the most meticulous planning, more than 40% of women are caught out by their periods, making holidays, activity days, job interviews, long haul flights and special occasions (the number one reason to delay a period was for a wedding day) less of a pleasure and more of a discomfort.

More than 50% of all women would like to stop their menstrual cycle or opt for a period delay, and in the majority of cases and with the right techniques, stalling your cycle and all the associated symptoms is completely safe.

How can I delay my period?

There are a number of techniques that can be used to delay a period, however, ensuring your chosen method is safe and undesirable side effects, like breakthrough bleeding, are kept to a minimum is important.

Norethisterone is considered the most reliable way to supress a period and can do so for up to 17 days, providing a welcome break for you to enjoy holidays, festivals, first dates, important meetings and special occasions without the inconvenience of bleeding, cramps and other symptoms.

This prescription pill is available via a GP or through a pharmacist, and delays your menstrual cycle by artificially heightening your natural progesterone levels. Norethisterone should be taken three days before your period is due, and every day for a maximum of 20 days. After a woman stops taking Norethisterone, the onset of a period can be expected within two to three days.

Like many period supressing medications, Norethisterone is not recommended for women who have a personal or family history of thrombosis. This pill should only be used occasionally, and it is important to remember that this is not a contraceptive so does not prevent pregnancy.

Can contraceptive pills be used to skip a period?

Whilst Norethisterone is often considered the most reliable way of delaying a period without any undesirable effects, your combined contraceptive pill can also be used to safely postpone your period. By skipping your 7 day break and taking two packets of your combined pill back-to-back you can safely delay your period. However, joining two packets should be done no more than three times as you will put yourself at greater risk of experiencing breakthrough bleeding, spotting and bloating.

The mini pill can also be used to stop periods altogether, however, this contraceptive should not be used for the purpose of delaying a period. Over 20% of women using this progesterone-only pill will have no periods at all, whilst the remainder may experience regular or erratic bleeding.