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Is it safe to delay my period?

Periods. They’re certainly not bad, but there’s no denying that they’re bloody annoying at times, especially if you have painful cramps or a heavy flow. Whether you’re on hormonal contraception or not, you might have toyed with the idea of delaying your monthly visitor, especially around holidays and special occasions. But just how possible is it, and is it safe?

Through women and babies’ health charity Wellbeing Of Women, we spoke to Sangeeta Agnihotri – a consultant in gynaecology and obstetrics – to find out the options. Here’s what she had to say…

Hi Sangeeta! Can I run my pill together without a break if I want to avoid my period over the holidays?

“It is safe to run a combined pill back-to-back and – if you take it without a break for three months/cycles – it’s known as tri-cycling. This may be recommended by your doctor if you have exams or a sporting event coming up, or if you suffer from endometriosis.”

Great! How long is it safe to do this for?

“A withdrawal bleed (a period when the pill is stopped) is advised after three months and then the pill may be continued, either monthly or tri-cycled again.”

What if I wasn’t on the pill? I’ve heard of something called Norethisterone for delaying periods…

“Norethisterone is a hormone, but it is a progesterone, not oestrogen. This maybe prescribed by your GP, family doctor, or gynaecologist to postpone a period. In that case you must begin taking it three days before the period is expected to start, but it can also be used to stop heavy bleeding during a period.”

How safe is it?

“It is safe and the side effects may be nothing. However, if taken for a long period of time, you may experience water retention, weight gain, breast tenderness and/or constipation.”

Are there any other methods of period delay available?

“Nothing more other than variations of the progesterone [Norethisterone].”

Thanks, Sangeeta!

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