How to delay your period
There are many reasons why you would want to delay your period. Whether it’s because your period will come at an inconvenient time, or you have a difficult and painful period, it’s normal to want to stop or postpone it.
There are ways to delay your period, with some methods that work for longer than others.
How you delay your period can depend on whether or not you are on the combined contraceptive pill.
Can I postpone my period?
Yes, you can postpone your period if you know that it’s coming up soon and you do not want it to happen.
How long you can postpone your period for, is different based on the method you use. You can choose from these 3 medicines to delay your period:
- the combined contraceptive pill
- norethisterone (Utovlan)
- medroxyprogesterone (Provera)
How to delay your period
There are several ways you can delay your period depending on whether or not you are taking the combined contraceptive pill. You can skip your 7 day break by starting your next strip of combined pills and this will delay your period for 3 weeks.
If you are not on the combined pill you can speak to a doctor about alternatives to help delay your period. They may suggest using Provera or Utovlan (norethisterone) which are tablets you can take before your period starts.
How to stop your period while taking the pill
If you are taking the combined pill, you can delay your period by taking 2 packs continuously. Continuous pill-taking means skipping the inactive pills or skipping the pill-free break.
This is completely safe and you will still have contraceptive protection, as long as you do not miss any pills.
If you continue to take your pills without a break you may experience some breakthrough bleeding, but this is not your period. You might also feel sick or have diarrhoea when taking the combined pill continuously.
Biphasic and triphasic pills, such as Qlaira or Logynon, contain different amounts of hormones in each pill. This means you must take the pills in a specific order. Speak to a doctor to find out if you can delay your period if taking a phasic pill.
As the mini pill (progesterone-only pill) is taken every day without a break, it’s common to not get your period at all while on it.
Sometimes you might get a breakthrough bleed on the mini pill, and if it lasts longer than a few days you need to see a doctor. As it’s difficult to tell when breakthrough bleeds might happen, you should not use the mini pill to delay your period.
How to stop your period when you aren’t taking the pill
If you are not on the combined pill, you should speak to a doctor if you want to stop or delay your period. You can do this through Asda Online Doctor and we can help you make an informed choice.
Both these medications contain a hormone similar to progesterone, which is found naturally in your body. By providing a steady dose of a progesterone-like hormone, these medicines will stop the menstrual cycle to prevent a period.
With either Utovlan and Provera, you should:
- take 1 tablet 3 times a day
- start taking the tablets 3 days before your period is due
- keep taking them until you want your period to start again
Your period will start within 3 days after you stop taking the tablets.
Utovlan contains 5mg of norethisterone in each tablet. You can get both Utovlan or generic norethisterone from Asda Online Doctor.
Provera contains 10mg of medroxyprogesterone in each tablet. Provera is not normally prescribed to delay periods, but a doctor can recommend it if you cannot take norethisterone.
You should speak to a doctor to find out which method to delay your period is best for you if you:
- are over 35
- have had breast cancer
- have had blood clots
- have liver problems
How long can you delay your period for?
You can delay your period for various lengths of time depending on the method you choose to use.
If you are using the combined pill, you can keep delaying your period as long as you skip the inactive pills or skip your pill free break. Whilst this is a safe and effective way of stopping your period, you might have some breakthrough bleeding.
If your doctor prescribes you Utovlan or Provera, you can delay your period for up to 27 days if you take all the pills perfectly.
If you want to delay your period further or stop it altogether, speak to your doctor about starting the combined pill or the mini pill.
Dr Kathryn Basford
Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.Meet our doctors
Article created: 26 Nov 2021
Last reviewed: 21 Mar 2022
(Reviews are for ZAVA UK)