Period Delay Treatment

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Period Delay

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Some women may wish to delay a period. This may be if a period is due at a time that would be inconvenient; for example, on a holiday, during an exam, for an event.

Delaying a period cannot be guaranteed but the following usually works.

If you are taking a fixed-dose combined oral contraceptive pill (cOCP - often just called 'the pill') then simply start the next pack without the usual 7-day break.

Taking two packs back-to-back in this way is safe if it is done occasionally. You still need to have a 7-day break at the end of these two packets.

If you are not taking 'the pill' then a hormone tablet called Norethisterone can be prescribed. If you are at risk for blood clots, have a history of breast cancer, have focal migraines with aura, undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, then norethisterone must not be used.


Common Symptoms

Common symptoms

  • delayed menstruation
Common Treatments

Possible treatment we prescribe if clinically appropriate:

Norethisterone 5mg One Tablet Three Times Daily - Start 3 days before expected period and continue for the duration you wish to postpone your period for up to a maximum of 3 to 4 weeks.

  • 30 Tablets £2.02
  • 60 Tablets £4.04
  • 90 Tablets £6.06

*Prices shown are cost price of the medication, taken from the British National Formulary 2018, and are given as a guideline. Pharmacies will add a dispensing fee to this which will vary considerably, so it is worthwhile phoning around to compare prices. The medication is paid for at your chosen pharmacy. 

Please click on the medication above to read the Patient Information Leaflet for important information.


Information about norethisterone

Norethisterone 5mg taken three times a day, may be used to delay your period. It should be started 3 days before your period is due, and continued until you want your period to restart. You should normally notice your period return after 2 or 3 days once it is stopped.

Please fully read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with the medication before starting treatment. This will contain more comprehensive information and a full list of side effects. 

Take the tablets with a drink of water either before or after meals. Aim to take your doses at the same times of day, as this will help you to remember to take them.

It should only be used on an occasional basis and for no longer than 3 to 4 weeks for this purpose. It does not work as a contraceptive.

Norethisterone is a progestagen hormone, which helps the body maintain the womb lining. When the levels of Progestagen in the body fall, the lining of womb is shed and this results in a period.

It is important that you use contraception such as condoms whilst taking norethisterone to avoid pregnancy, as this medication can affect fetal development. If you need advice on contraception then speak to your nurse, doctor of family planning clinic.


 Common side-effects include:

  • bloating
  • Headache
  • nausea
  • spotting- small amounts of vaginal bleeding

Less common side effects include:

  • stomach upset
  • breast discomfort
  • reduced sex drive (libido)
  • dizziness
  • skin reactions

The side effects will often improve as the body gets used to the medication. 

Do you wish to delay a period?

We could assess you and send you a treatment plan with a prescription, if appropriate, within an hour.