Can a Pill Delay My Period?


Have you heard about this?! If you’re reading this article, you are likely stressing about an upcoming date or event, a period that is likely to crash the event and wondering if there’s any way to fool Mother Nature.  Good news.  There might be a solution as tiny as your perfectly-manicured fingernails!   


Whatever your reason for wanting your cycle to visit later than usual, we have compiled a list of frequently asked (and answered) questions around the pill that makes delaying your period a possibility.


Though our cycles are unique to our bodies, they also react to exterior forces, some of which can induce your period to come early and, in this case, to come later – like 17 days later!  Do keep in mind that this may not be the most ideal option for you and to consult with a professional before taking this route.


There are times when it can be inconvenient to have your period. That said, there is an option to delay your period during such times, depending on whether or not you are already taking the contraceptive pill.


If you’re NOT on the contraceptive pill, you can use a newer medicine known as Norethisterone for up to 17 days' delay.  Like birth control, it comes in tablet form and requires taking them 3 days prior to your normal cycle start date.  From there, you up your dose to three tablets per day, up to and not to exceed twenty days (granting you up to 17 days period-free).

Within two-to-three days after you stop taking Norethisterone, you should see signs of spotting or menstrual flow again.


Given the nature of this hormone-affecting medication, Norethisterone is a prescription-only option. Norethisterone was previously available alone in 5 mg tablets under the brand names Norlutin in the United States, but this formulation has since been discontinued in this country. However, NETA remains available alone in 5 mg tablets under the brand name Aygestin in the United States.


Here are the most common questions surrounding the pill and practices:


How does Norethisterone work?

Norethisterone contains the hormone progesterone. By artificially keeping your natural progesterone levels up, it stops the lining of your womb from shedding and delays your period.


How effective is Norethisterone?

Most women find that Norethisterone prevents their period from starting until they choose to stop taking the tablets.  However, some women find that they have spotting or breakthrough bleeding while they are taking it if they fail to take it three days prior to their period start date.


Can anyone take Norethisterone?

Most women are able to take Norethisterone, but its best to talk with your healthcare provider. There are contraindications for those with liver problem, history of thrombosis (blood clots),  or those who have had angina or a heart attack.


Can I take it with contraceptives?

 Women taking the contraceptive pills with delay-cycle meds should be able to take 2 packets back-to-back to delay their period (skipping the 7-day break during in which you normally get your period). However, there are no guarantees as some types of combined contraceptive pills contain a different mix of hormones in each pill. For this reason, you should consult with your doctor before attempting to delay your period with this option.


Do you often want to delay your period?

It is not advised to use Norethisterone regularly. Walk with your provider to look for more permanent options that may reduce or stop your period altogether for longer durations of time, like IUDs and other methods.


Think you’d give this a try? When have you had to delay your cycle?

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