Will Norethisterone Stop Me Getting Pregnant?

Norethisterone is a progestogen which copies the effects of the hormone progesterone.  As well as treating women with recurrent miscarriages and uterine bleeding it also delays periods. There are many reasons women choose to delay their periods including; their wedding day, honeymoon, the holiday of a lifetime and sporting events. Menstrual bleeding is inconvenient, messy and not conducive to wedding dresses, swimming pools and the jungle.

The hormone progesterone plays an important role in the menstrual cycle.  Every month the lining of the womb thickens in preparation for pregnancy. If there is no fertilized egg the level of progesterone decreases and the womb lining sheds causing a period to start.  An average menstrual cycle lasts for twenty-eight days with seven days menstrual bleeding. Regular periods are a sign of good health but are also inconvenient.

Contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg so it can’t meet a sperm.  Women on the pill delay periods by taking two packets back to back without a break. Norethisterone delays the release of an egg but does not prevent pregnancy because it is not a method of contraception.

What Is The Menstrual Cycle?

Most women are very familiar with the menstrual cycle because it affects them every month.  It is the body’s way of preparing itself for pregnancy. Each cycle starts on the first day you start bleeding this is known as your period.  A typical period lasts for seven days and is a relief for most women unless they are trying to get pregnant.

Each cycle lasts for approximately 28 days with the most fertile times 10 - 16 days before the next period.  The ovaries release an egg during that time which lives for 24 hours. If the egg is not fertilized by sperm progesterone levels drop and the body prepares for menstruation.

Women miss periods if they are pregnant or have conditions affecting the hormones such as the menopause, PCOS, are very underweight or ill.  The side effects of periods are; bloating, stomach pains, headaches, low mood, hunger and generally feeling lousy. Menstrual bleeding usually causes the most inconvenience.

What Is Norethisterone?

Norethisterone is a progestogen that delays periods by mimicking the effects of the hormone progesterone.  It delays periods by stopping the womb lining from shedding. You start taking it three days before you expect your period to start.  The dose is to take one pill three times a day until you are ready to start having periods again.

It is not a contraceptive pill and will not prevent pregnancy. You must use an alternative method of contraception to prevent conception.  Condoms, IUD and diaphragms are reliable non-hormonal contraceptives. If you do have unprotected sexual intercourse while taking norethisterone emergency contraception will prevent pregnancy.

Delaying your periods this way is only a short-term measure and should only be reserved for special occasions.  Your menstrual cycle will be slightly different once it resumes but will settle eventually. If you wish to delay your periods for much longer you should visit your doctor.  

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