Medications that can delay a period

Medications that can delay a period

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For one reason or another, sometimes women will wish to delay a period. The monthly nuisance of menstruation is a fact of life that most women are used to. For some, periods are light and painless. For others, they are severe and debilitating, with labour-like cramps, heavy bleeding, diarrhoea and faintness. For most, it’s probably somewhere in the middle. But for all women who menstruate, it’s an inconvenience and requires a certain level of thought and planning. Of course, women just get on with things and do what must be done, as they have for millennia.

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delay a period

But when a big event like a wedding, exam or a much-anticipated holiday crops up, and a period is due slap-bang in the middle of it, it can be particularly frustrating- it may affect how a woman feels physically and mentally, what activities she can partake in, and what clothes she can wear! Women quite often come to their doctor to ask for ways to stop or delay a period in such situations. So, what are the options and do they work? Well there are actually a few, depending on the circumstances, time-frames involved, a woman’s preferences and medical history.

How to delay a period

The combined oral contraceptive pill (commonly just called “the pill”) may be a good option for some, provided it’s started in time. If an event is a few months away, it may be possible to start the pill in advance and then try skipping the sugar pills (i.e. take pill packs “back to back”). For many women, this will prevent a period. It doesn’t always work, so it’s a good idea to try it out ahead of the event or holiday. But if contraception is also needed, it’s certainly worth considering. A doctor or online doctor can go through a series of questions to make sure it’s a safe and suitable option.

If the pill is not suitable, not desired, or the important event is too soon, Norethisterone is an alternative method to delay a period. This is a progesterone hormone tablet, which works well in most but not all cases.  It must be started 3 days before a period is due, and then taken three times daily, usually for a few weeks. When it’s stopped, a period will occur within a few days. It is NOT a contraceptive, so it will not prevent pregnancy.  It is safe in most cases, but if a woman has certain health issues, such as an increased risk of clotting, it may not be the right choice. A doctor or online doctor will guide you through a series of questions if you’re considering it. It’s usually well tolerated, but side effects can include stomach upset, bloating, breast tenderness and reduced sex drive.  The main advantage is that it can be used at short notice, if you need to delay a period that is only a week or two away.

delay a period

Some women find that their periods stop if they use long term contraceptive options such as the Mirena Coil or long-acting progesterone injection. However, this varies from woman to woman, and it often takes a few cycles for it to happen, so it’s not very helpful if the event in question is very soon.

The good news is it’s now possible to obtain the contraceptive pill and Norethisterone from an online doctor. At Qoctor, we are excited to launch this service in the coming weeks. We hope it will be a simple and convenient option for women seeking a practical solution to the hassle of an unwanted period.

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About the Author:

Aifric Boylan
Originally from Ireland, Dr Boylan is an experienced GP based in Melbourne. She is also committed to innovation in the area of online medicine and health technology. Aifric is a keen distance runner, and plays the violin, but not at the same time…