Is it safe to delay your period?
Yes, if you have spoken to your doctor and they have told you it is safe, you can delay your period using the combined contraceptive pill, patch or ring or norethisterone. You should only delay your period for as long as your doctor has told you to. This means you can delay your period for up to 30 days with norethisterone. These medications do have potential side effects including a small increase to the risk of having a blood clot, so we’d always recommend reading the patient information leaflet first to make sure you’re aware of any potential side effects.
If the combined pill or period delay medication is not safe for you to take, your doctor may recommend medroxyprogesterone acetate, but again, this is not suitable for everyone and can cause potential side effects.
Is it safe to delay my period more than once?
You should speak to your doctor if you want to delay your period more than once using period delay medication. You can use your monophasic combined pill, patch or ring to delay your period as and when you want to as long as you have discussed how to do so safely with a doctor.
Is it safe to delay my period for a long time?
Norethisterone is safe to use occasionally, but it should not be used regularly as it can cause side effects. The combined pill is safe to you to delay your period for a long time providing it’s suitable for you and you’ve already been taking it for a few weeks.
How long can I safely delay my period for?
You should only delay your period once using period delay medication, unless your doctor has told you it is okay to delay it for longer. You can use your monophasic combined pill to delay your period for as long as you want but you may find you get some breakthrough bleeding the longer you go without a break. To find out more about how to take your pill to delay your period, have a chat with your prescribing doctor or nurse.
Are there any risks?
Like with any medication, there are side effects and risks. You should not take any medication if you are allergic to any ingredients they contain. The combined pill and norethisterone are not suitable for women who are over 35 years old and smoke or women who have certain medical conditions or take certain medications. It’s also not suitable if you have a BMI >35.
Speak to your doctor to find out if these medications are safe for you to delay your period.
Are there any side effects?
Norethisterone may cause side effects such as:
- nausea (feeling sick)
- breast tenderness
- changes in mood or sex drive
- unexpected bleeding
When taking the combined pill, you may experience some side effects, such as:
- nausea or vomiting (feeling or being sick)
- breast tenderness
- mild headaches
- mood changes
- lower sex drive
- a change in your bleeding pattern (in the first 3 months of use)
Both the combined pill and norethisterone can increase your risk of blood clots but if you have no other risk factors for blood clots your overall risk remains low. A doctor will ask questions to check your risk of blood clots before prescribing either or these medications.
It’s important to always check the patient information leaflet for a full list of potential side effects before starting any medication, and to contact a doctor if you have any side effects that are unexpected, severe or last longer than expected.