Period delay: do you know your options?

Period delay is useful to keep it from ruining beach holidays

Photo by CC user Petr Kratochvil on

From summer beach breaks to important social events, there are lots of occasions that periods have the potential to spoil. The good news is, there are ways to stop your menstrual cycle from muscling in on your plans. This brief guide talks you through the best options for delaying your monthly visitor in a healthy manner


You might never have heard of it, but the prescription medicine norethisterone is a popular and effective period delay treatment. It contains a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone and it works by stopping your womb lining from shedding. You have to start taking it three days before your period is due to begin and you’ll need to take three tablets a day. You can use norethisterone to delay your period for a total of up to 17 days and, once you stop taking it, you can expect your period to arrive within two or three days. The medicine is available from doctors and online health specialists like Europa Pharmacy.

Bear in mind that norethisterone doesn’t work as a contraceptive and it’s not suitable for everyone. For example, you should not use it if you have a history of blood clots. Also, some women who take it experience side-effects like breast tenderness, bloating, nausea and headaches.

The combined contraceptive pill

If you are on the combined contraceptive pill, the easiest way to delay your period is to take two packs back to back. Simply start your new pack the day after you’ve finished your current one, rather than having a seven-day break. Although it’s not completely guaranteed, this should stop you bleeding until you’ve finished the second pack of pills.

It’s important to be aware that unless your doctor advises otherwise, you shouldn’t take more than two packs back to back. If you do, you risk experiencing stomach pains, bloating and unexpected bleeding. Also, you can’t use this approach if you’re on the progestogen-only pill.

Whether you’re on the combined pill and think this could be an effective way to delay your period or you want to try norethisterone, it’s vital that you make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice. If you’re unsure about anything, speak to a healthcare professional such as your doctor or a pharmacist. Also, make sure you read the instructions provided with these medicines carefully. Period delay treatments are only effective when you use them correctly.