Delaying Your Period: The Safest Methods

Periods can happen at the most inconvenient times, but delaying your period can be safe and effective using the right methods. Here’s how.

Updated: Friday 28 July 2023

delaying your period

There’s no perfect time to have a period, but they always seem to start when it’s most inconvenient. Whether you’re going on a holiday or attending an important event, delaying your period ensures you get to enjoy this time uninterrupted.

With plenty of questionable information circulating online on topics like, ‘how to delay your period with home remedies’, we cut through the noise by exploring optimal ways to stop your period whether or not you’re using contraceptive pills.

Delaying your period if you aren't using contraceptive pills

The period delaying process differs depending on whether or not you’re taking contraceptive pills. If you aren’t taking birth control pills and you want to delay a period, consider using a synthetic progestogen such as Norethisterone[1] that can delay periods on specific occasions.

How to delay your period using Norethisterone 5mg

Norethisterone 5mg is a period delaying medication that mimics a hormone called progesterone to prevent the body from shedding the womb lining.

If you want to postpone your period using Norethisterone 5mg, start taking it 3 days before the expected onset of your period and continue until you want your period to resume[2] for up to 17 days.

On the other hand, if you want to prevent bleeding during a menstrual cycle, take Norethisterone 5mg tablets three times a day from day 5 to day 26 of the cycle.

What happens if you take Norethisterone too early?

Norethisterone tablets are usually prescribed up to 4 days before the expected start of a period. The effects of taking this medication earlier than this time frame are unclear.

We recommend consulting your GP irrespective of how early you plan to take Norethisterone to maximise the results.

What happens if you take Norethisterone too late?

Taking Norethisterone after your period has begun will not cause it to stop. Norethisterone is most effective when taken 3 days before the expected start of a period.

Please also note that taking Norethisterone too late may not prevent your period from starting.

Can Norethisterone stop a period once started?

No. Norethisterone works by maintaining the body’s progesterone levels. If you take it after your period has begun, your body’s progesterone levels won’t be high enough to stop the shedding of the womb lining.

Recommended reading: Norethisterone - What it is and Why it’s Safe

Delaying your period if you are using contraceptive pills

If you’re currently using combination contraceptive pills[3], it’s possible to delay your period by taking the pills back-to-back. This is achieved by skipping the 7-day break between two or three cycles of monophasic 21-day pills or every day (ED) pills[4].

If you are using phasic pills (pills that have different doses of hormones in each active pill), please consult a pharmacist or your GP before taking them back-to-back to delay your period.

How long can you delay your period on the pill?

It depends on how many courses you take in succession. Taking three back-to-back courses will delay your period for longer, but it can also cause an excessive buildup of the womb lining. This may result in spotting or breakthrough bleeding.

Please note that taking more than one back-to-back course of contraceptive pills is not recommended without consulting a pharmacist or your GP.

Can delaying your period using contraceptive pills result in 2 or 3 periods in one month?

There is no evidence to suggest that using contraceptive pills to delay periods results in multiple periods in one month. However, it may cause irregular bleeding patterns or changes in your normal cycle length.

If you encounter these symptoms, notify your GP immediately.

Is it safe to delay periods using contraceptive pills?

Delaying your period using contraceptive pills is safe for most women, but doing it regularly or for long periods is not recommended.

We recommend consulting your GP before using contraceptive pills to stop a period. Furthermore, we advise reading all labels and information leaflets thoroughly before taking any medication.

Some of the common side effects of delaying your period using contraceptive pills include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood changes
  • Acne
  • Fluid retention
  • Loss of libido
  • Spotting or breakthrough bleeding

Can you get pregnant while using contraceptive pills to delay your period?

No. Using contraceptive pills for period delay does not impact their effects on birth control provided they are taken correctly without any doses missed or delayed.

Can period delay medicine like Norethisterone be used as a substitute for contraceptives?

No, it’s not possible to avoid pregnancy by taking period delaying tablets such as Norethisterone.

Delaying periods naturally: fact or fiction?

Many websites claim to provide accurate information on how to delay periods naturally. Some sources recommend drinking lemon juice and apple cider vinegar while others champion exercise as a way of stopping periods.

However, there isn’t enough empirical evidence to support the efficacy of natural ways to delay periods[5]. The best way to delay your period is by taking clinically-proven treatments like Norethisterone.

Period delay frequency and length

If you’re interested to know how to postpone periods safely, it’s important to consider two factors - how frequently you intend to delay periods and how long you want each period postponement to last.

Can I delay my period frequently?

We do not advise delaying your period frequently as it may cause some side effects such as hormonal imbalances and blood clot risks.

Is it safe to delay periods for a long time?

It depends on the method used. If you’re using a synthetic progestogen treatment like Norethisterone 5mg, you can delay your period for up to 17 days.

On the other hand, if you’re taking back-to-back courses of contraceptive pills, you can delay your period for up to 20 days.

No matter which method you use, we strongly recommend consulting your GP about delaying your period for an extended period.

Delay your period safely with the help of our professional medical team

At Pharmica, we pride ourselves on relentlessly innovating our services to deliver exceptional patient care. We provide convenient online consultations for period delay treatments and deliver all medication to our patients’ doorstep discreetly.

With over a million patients served and a 4.9 out of 5 rating across more than 160,000 independent reviews, we’re at the forefront of revolutionising the online pharmacy experience in the UK.

Explore our full range of treatments today.

Sarah Bessell

Written by: Sarah Bessell

Pharmacy Manager

Originally from Australia, Sarah joined the team in 2018 as Pharmica’s Pharmacy Manager. Her job is to manage the dispensary team and the day-to-day running of the pharmacy.

Sarah ensures all our patients receive their orders in a safe and timely manner, and that we continue to provide outstanding patient care.

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