Apr 21, 2022 Period Delay
Regular periods usually indicate good health and period delay is uncommon in healthy women. If your period is delayed or late, it can be a sign of either pregnancy or an underlying health condition. However, there are a number of other reasons why period delay can occur and if it continues a visit to the doctor might be necessary.
The most obvious reason healthy women miss a period is due to pregnancy. This is because the fertilized implants into the womb lining prevent menstruation. Over the counter pregnancy tests confirm if this is the cause of the period delay. If you have an unexplainable period delay, get in touch with your doctor as it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.
Other reasons for period delay can include:
During menopause it can be confusing as periods become erratic before they stop completely. Some women can accidentally fall pregnant during this time because they believe they are no longer fertile. Menopause usually occurs in women in their early fifties and involves missing periods for a number of months. A blood test confirms if this is the case.
Most women are aware they are nearing menopause due to the symptoms they experience. Symptoms of menopause include; irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, chills, night sweats, difficulty sleeping and weight gain. These symptoms occur as hormone levels change and the body prepares itself for no longer being able to conceive children. (Source: Mayo Clinic). Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps women delay menopause symptoms until they are older. A consultation with your doctor confirms suitability for HRT.
Stress can also significantly alter your menstrual cycle either shortening it, lengthening it or making periods more painful. Some women can even miss a period due to immense stress. The most effective treatment is to try to reduce stress levels may be by exercising more, sleeping well and eating healthily. Advice from your doctor regarding coping strategies is very beneficial too. (Source: Medical News Today)
Women suffering from eating disorders or who lose a significant amount of weight in a short time can experience period delay or lose their period completely. This is due to fluctuations in hormone levels, malnutrition, and low-fat levels. It is important to seek medical advice because being very underweight for a long time causes damage to the body. Losing a lot of weight unexpectedly suggests you may have an underlying health condition so it is important to make an appointment with your doctor. (Source: Medical News Today)
Obesity also disrupts hormone levels and can cause period delay. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) causes extreme weight gain and a host of other symptoms. Women with PCOS suffer from the following symptoms; hirsutism, irregular periods, hair loss, difficulty getting pregnant and acne. (Source: Medical News Today)
Hormone contraception such as the Mirena coil, contraceptive jab and taking the pill without a break delay periods. They work by maintaining hormone levels so the ovaries don’t release an egg and prompt bleeding. Antibiotics make this type of contraception ineffective so missing a period after an illness may be due to pregnancy. (Source: Medical News Today)
Deliberate period delay requires the drug Norethisterone which maintains progesterone levels so the womb lining doesn’t shed. It is a short-term solution and doesn’t affect fertility. This treatment is not a contraceptive and will not protect you from pregnancy.
Norethisterone is a treatment that enables period delay. Norethisterone works in a similar way to the contraceptive pill by working on the receptors in the body to copy and exaggerate the presence of progesterone. When progesterone levels drop, the womb sheds its lining causing menstrual bleeding. Maintaining the progesterone levels causes period delay.
Minor side effects include; bloating, stomach pains, bloating and breast tenderness. Less common side effects include; difficulty breathing, wheezy chest, feeling faint, swelling and skin rash.
Norethisterone works in a similar way to the contraceptive pill by releasing progesterone which prevents the womb lining from shedding. You are advised to start taking it three days before your period is due and up to 17 days afterwards. If you are prone to deep vein thrombosis you will be advised against taking it. You may encounter side effects such as; bloating, breast tenderness, loss of libido and stomach pains. This treatment will only delay your period and is not a form of contraception
One 5 mg Norethisterone tablet is taken three times a day to prevent a period from starting. The course should be taken between 4 and 5 days before your period is due to start. Once you stop taking the medication your period should start within 2 to 3 days.
Continue taking Norethisterone for as long as necessary your periods will return three days after you stop taking it. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully or it may not work.
If you forget to take the correct dose of Norethisterone your period may start earlier than expected. This is because your body will not be able to maintain a high enough level of progesterone to delay your period. If you make sure that you follow the instructions properly then the medication should work correctly.
Some women also take Norethisterone to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis. This is a condition where menstrual bleeding occurs outside the womb. The intention is to stop the bleeding and relieve the pain. However, this solution does not always work for everyone who takes the medication and can sometimes make the symptoms worse. If you are finding that you are suffering discomfort even when taking Norethisterone you must consult your doctor.
If you are undergoing fertility treatment you may also be prescribed Norethisterone regulate your periods.
You may find that after delaying your periods for a significant amount of time that it takes time for your body to adjust. This may mean that your periods don’t start when you would expect them to. If you are worried please ask your doctor. Sometimes medication just doesn’t work for some people in the way it should. This could be due to the way your body responds to the drugs or you may have an underlying health condition that requires investigation.
If you have any concerns about any side effects or whether Norethisterone is working please contact your doctor. If you would like to review or order Norethisterone please click here.
It is safe to delay your period for short lengths of time but it should not be practised in the long term. Anything that alters your body’s natural cycle could have a negative effect eventually, so keeping it to a minimum is much safer. Often methods used to delay your period can be as uncomfortable as the period itself (without the bleeding). Norethisterone is only available on prescription so you will not be able to use it unless your doctor thinks it is safe to do so. So if you need to delay your period for an occasion, you will really benefit from taking Norethisterone.
Some people have a greater risk of blood clotting as a result of a period delay in this way. If you are overweight, have a history of blood clots, are immobile or have a history of miscarriage this medication may not be suitable for you. This type of medication is not a contraceptive so you will still need to use either condoms, IUDs or other barrier methods to prevent pregnancy.
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