Delaying your period

Written by: Editors

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How to manage your period on vacation

We've all been there. An important appointment, a date or a beach holiday coinciding with our menstrual cycle. Having a period can be annoying, especially if it comes at the worst time and the last thing you want to do is think about sanitary pads and tampons. Is it possible to postpone your period, and what is the right time to do so safely and responsibly? This blog post tells you all you need to know.

You’re not on the pill

If you have an IUD or don’t use any contraception at all and you’re 16 or older, you can take tablets that delay your period by up to two weeks. To delay menstrual bleeding you should take Primolut three days before the start of your period. Keep taking the tablets for two weeks at most. Two to three days after you stop taking Primolut, the delayed period will arrive.

You can also take Norethisterone to postpone your period. Norethisterone contains the same active ingredient as Primolut, norethisterone, which is an artificial version of progesterone. Like Primolut, you should take Norethisterone three days before your period is due. Take the tablets for as long as you want your period to be delayed, up to a maximum of two weeks. Of course, each woman is different, so the effectiveness and timing of the delay can vary a little from person to person.
Don’t start taking Primolut or Norethisterone more than two or three days before your period is due as this may cause inconvenient breakthrough bleeding.

If you are not on the pill, there are of course many other methods of contraception that you can use to prevent pregnancy. For instance, a vaginal ring (NuvaRing) or contraceptive skin patch. These methods can be used without a seven-day break in which you have a withdrawal bleed. NuvaRing needs to be removed every three weeks, but how quickly you place a new ring will depend on whether you want to have periods while using the ring. With contraceptive skin patches, you simply replace the patch with a new one.

So, there are many forms of contraception to choose from.

You’re on the pill

If you're taking a monophasic pill, delaying your period is as easy as 1-2-3. Normally, you take a pill every day for 21 days, then stop seven days and on the eighth day you start the next strip.

To delay your period, simply take two strips back-to-back, without a pill-free break. With monophasic birth control pills, each tablet contains the same amounts of hormones. In contrast to monophasic pills, biphasic, triphasic or multiphasic pills have varying amounts of oestrogen and progestin in the pack of pills. These types of contraceptive pill are colour coded based on how much active hormone they contain. To delay your period, you continue with the same colour tablets from the last phase of a new strip after you have finished a strip. In other words, you need to ‘close’ the phase by taking the appropriate pill from (the end of) the next strip pack. If you are unsure, read the package leaflet carefully or contact your doctor.

Is it safe to delay your period?

The experts are divided about taking the pill back-to-back to delay or skip periods, whether it’s the monophasic or multiphasic variant. Some say that delaying your menstrual cycle is safe and effective, while others are more concerned about potential long-term health consequences. Some women have breakthrough bleeding for a long time when trying to skip periods while others don't. It all depends on your body. Therefore, it’s important to listen to your body and not force things. If you have any doubts or want to know more about delaying your period, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

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