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  • Michael Frey, MD

How To Delay Your Period

Delaying a menstrual period is a common practice. People do this for a variety of medical or personal reasons such as vacation and marriage. There are two methods to delay your period. You can use Norethindrone pills or you can use traditional birth control and skip the placebo.

Norethindrone Period Delay

NE is a hormone that stops uterine bleeding. By taking Norethindrone, the levels of progestogens are kept artificially high, and so the period does not start.

To delay your period, one tablet should be taken three times a day. You should start to take the tablets three days prior to the expected start of your period and keep taking it until you wish your period to resume. A normal period should occur 2-3 days after you stop taking the tablets.

Birth Control Period Delay

You can delay your period by using hormonal birth control. If you use birth control to prevent pregnancy, you will typically still have a monthly period. The bleeding you have once a month comes when you have a hormone-free week. This is “withdrawal bleeding.” But you can manage your hormones to delay your withdrawal bleeding. This allows you to skip your period. There are several ways to use hormonal birth control to delay or skip periods. Options include:

  • Birth control pills

  • Contraceptive patch

  • Vaginal ring


Birth control pills

Birth control pills usually come with 21 active pills (pills that contain hormones) and 7 placebo pills (pills without hormones). You can skip your periods by throwing away the placebo pills and starting the active pills of a new pack of pills. When you want to have a period, you can finish the pack by taking your placebo pills or no pills at all that week.


Not every birth control pill is the same. Some birth control pills are "extended-cycle" pills. This means they have 3 months of active pills. If you use them as directed, you will have a period once every 3 months. Other birth control pills only have active pills. This means you can skip your periods by going right into a new pack.


Contraceptive patch

The usual way of using a contraceptive patch is to apply a new patch once a week for 3 weeks. You then have a patch-free week that allows you to get your period. If you want to skip your period, you can go right into your next pack of patches instead of having a patch-free week.



Vaginal ring

Typical use of a vaginal ring is to insert it into the vagina for 21 days and then remove it for 1 week. If you want to skip your period, you can put in a new ring instead of having a ring-free week. The Annovera ring is reusable, so you can use it up to 1 year before you need to replace it.


What Are Natural Ways To Delay Your Period?

There’s no evidence that any natural supplements or foods can help you delay your period.


What Are The Benefits Of Delaying Your Period?

Some people have a very challenging monthly cycle. This may be true if you have premenstrual (PMS) symptoms, like heavy bleeding and cramping. Sometimes these symptoms interfere with your normal daily activities. So skipping periods can include a better quality of life and fewer absences from work or school due to your period.

Other reasons you may want to skip or delay your period are:

  • Medical reasons: Delaying a period can treat some conditions that hormones trigger. This can include endometriosis, migraines, fibroids, or acne.

  • Personal hygiene: If you have disabilities or developmental delays, it may be easier to skip periods.

  • Personal preference: Some people prefer to have fewer periods or to avoid them when it’s convenient.

  • Vacation or marriage

How Long Is It Safe To Delay Your Period?

Using the Norethindrone pill, you can delay your cycle up to 20 days.

Using birth control to delay your period, you can delay your period for as long or as little as you like. But there can be side effects from delaying your period.

The most common side effect of skipping periods is breakthrough bleeding. This is a small amount of bleeding when you don’t expect it. Breakthrough bleeding is common in the first few months that you skip your period. This may improve as your body adjusts to the hormones.


Does Skipping Your Period Affect Your Fertility?

Short answer...no. If you have used birth control to skip your periods, there’s no need to worry about your fertility. After you stop using birth control, your body will resume monthly cycles, and you may be able to conceive. Most people are able to get pregnant within 12 months of stopping any kind of hormonal birth control. The average time to return to your previous level of fertility ranges from three to six menstrual cycles.



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