04 Oct 2018

What You Should Know About The Period Delay Pill

Periods can be a pain. For some people, a nasty period can disrupt their personal and professional lives for a few days a month, which, over time, can result in a build up a dread every time your period approaches. But, there are ways to regulate and control your period beyond taking the contraceptive pill. Period delay medication can give you control over your menstrual cycle, so it doesn’t have to get in the way of holidays, a stressful time at work or a special occasion that you would rather be able to experience without the hassle of a period. Here is everything you need to know about the period delay pill. 

What is the period delay pill

The period delay pill is a form of medication that can be used to delay the onset of your period. It is called norethisterone, and can come in handy for all of those times when you wish your period wasn’t just around the corner. Maybe you have exams coming up and need to feel 100%. Or maybe you’ll be traveling in a remote area that won’t have ideal facilities. The period delay pill can be a saving grace in these instances, by allowing you the freedom to choose when and where you get your period.  

How Norethisterone works

Norethisterone contains hormone progesterone, which is also present in contraceptive pills. Norethisterone, like the contraceptive pill, artificially elevates your progesterone levels to stop the shedding of the womb lining. No lining shedding, no period! With norethisterone, your period can be delayed for up to 17 days, a divine intervention from the biology gods.

How to take Period Delay Pills

You should start taking the period delay pill three days before your period is due, so this means that you also must be keeping track of your menstrual cycle (always a good idea). Take one 5g norethisterone pill three times a day for a maximum of 20 days, which includes the three days before your period is due to start. Use a period tracking app such as Clue or Period Calendar to keep tabs on your flow, then you can plan in advance when you want to start taking the period delay pill

How you can get Period Delay Pills

The period delay pill is available to buy with a prescription. A doctor’s appointment purely to get a prescription can be costly in Ireland, with GPs often charging between €40 and €65 for the appointment alone. However, with the advent of new medical platforms and apps online, it is cheaper and easier than ever to have a consultation with a GP over Skype. MyClinic offers hassle free services for a range of medical requirements, from psychology to sexual health. The cost is substantially less than visiting your family doctor, and patients can talk to a GP for just €35 seven days a week. Booking is available online, after which you have your consultation and then receive your prescription in the post, or faxed straight to your local pharmacy if needed urgently. 

To browse services, please visit MyClinic's online prescriptions page.

Period delay pill vs Contraceptive pill

Both norethisterone and combined contraceptive pills can be used to delay your period, but in different ways. Women using the combined contraceptive pill can run up to three packets together without taking the seven day break between packs to safely delay a period, while women who are not on the pill might want to take norethisterone to stave off their period for a few weeks. Women taking the mini-pill, or progesterone only pill, take one pill every day with no seven day break, and as such many never have a period. Because of this, the mini-pill cannot be used to delay your period. 

While norethisterone does contain progesterone, it is not a method of contraception. Taking the period delay pill alone will not prevent you from getting pregnant, so you must use other forms of contraception if you are going to be sexually active while delaying your period. 

Period Delay Pill Safety considerations

When you have the consultation with your GP, whether in person or online, you will be asked questions about your medical history to determine whether or not it is safe for you to use the period delay pill. For women who have a history of thrombosis, or blood clots, norethisterone is not safe to use. The period delay pill should only be used occasionally in special circumstances, and not as a regular means of delaying your period. 


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