Periods start at puberty and end after the menopause on average women has 450 periods during their lifetime. A period delay is rare in a healthy woman and is usually due to pregnancy, or contraception. Some women choose to delay their periods for special events such as their wedding day, honeymoon or holiday of a lifetime.
Women who take the contraceptive pill can initiate period delay by not taking a break between packets. Periods start when progesterone levels go down causing the womb lining to shed. There are natural methods that allegedly delay periods but they are mostly unsuccessful. The only way to ensure period delay is by maintaining the level of progesterone so that the womb lining doesn’t shed.
If you do not use a hormone contraceptive you can use Norethisterone which is a period delay treatment. It is not a contraceptive so you can still get pregnant taking it. Many women worry if there are long-term effects of delaying their periods using hormones.
The Menstrual Cycle
The average menstrual cycle lasts twenty-eight days but it is also normal for it to be 21 or 40 days long. Each cycle prepares the womb for pregnancy. The female reproductive organs are; the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix and vagina.
Eggs are released from the ovaries and travel down the fallopian tubes in order to be fertilised by sperm. If there is no sperm present the womb lining sheds and the woman has a period. A fertilised egg attaches itself to the womb lining and will eventually become a baby.
As well as bleeding women experience, abdominal pain, stomach pain, bloating, swollen breasts, bad skin and low moods during their period.
Hormone contraception such as the pill, Mirena coil or injection can delay periods. Some women are unable to take hormone contraception due to health reasons or because they don’t want too. Home remedies for period delay vary in their success and cannot be relied upon.
Altering hormone levels is the only guaranteed way to delay periods. Norethisterone is a treatment that is a progestogen which acts on the receptors that produce progesterone. It tricks the body into believing that progesterone levels are high and prevents menstruation.
Norethisterone must be taken up three or four days before a period is due and three times a day until you want to stop. It will only stop the bleeding and not the other unpleasant side effects such as pain, bloating and low mood.
Many women worry about the long terms effects of period delay because they worry that it is going against nature. There are two lines of thought regarding period delay using hormones. Some doctors are concerned about the effects of changing the body’s cycles while others don’t see it as a problem. Before contraception women used to miss periods all of the time due to frequent pregnancies.
You should not use period delay treatment for long-term use. You are not likely to suffer long-term effects if you only delay your periods on special occasions. Your doctor can only prescribe period delay treatment so you will only be able to take it if the risk to your health is low.