Can I Start Taking The Pill to Delay My Period?
Getting your period can be bothersome at the best of times, especially if it arrives at an inconvenient time. It’s totally normal for you to want to delay your period, especially if you have an important occasion coming up or are going on holiday. How might you do that?
Can I Take The Contraceptive Pill To Delay My Period?
This depends on the type of pill that you are taking.
If you are already taking the combined contraceptive pill, you can take two packets back-to-back, i.e., miss your pill-free break, or skip the placebo pills, to postpone your period by three weeks (until your next break is due). Taking two packets of the pill back-to-back maintains hormone levels in your body. This delays the shedding of the lining of your uterus and, as a result, the start of bleeding. Your period should start at the end of the second packet.
This can be quite handy for times when getting your period would be inconvenient, such as holidays, athletic events, exams, or special celebrations.
Taking your contraceptive pill back-to-back will have no effect on how they work as contraceptives.
It is important to note that this is not 100% effective for all patients, and some patients may experience spotting/ bleeding before the end of their second pill packet.
If you are concerned or have any questions about taking the pill to delay your period, you can speak to a GP online.
How Many Packets Can I Take Back To Back?
You may take up to three contraceptive pill packets consecutively. However, some women experience bloating and breakthrough bleeding or spotting.
In some situations, you can take more than 3 packets without a break, but you should speak with a doctor for advice before doing this.
Most combination contraceptive pills can be taken back-to-back to delay your period. Phasic pills*, on the other hand, contain varying amounts of hormones in each pill, and you should speak with your doctor before taking more than one packet in a row.
* Phasic pills contain 2 or 3 sections of different coloured pills in a pack. Each section contains a different amount of hormones.
Can I Delay My Period If I Am Taking The Progestogen-Only Contraceptive Pill?
If you’re taking a progestogen-only contraceptive pill, you cannot delay your period. This is a daily pill and does not provide reliable cycle control.
If you are unsure about the type of pill you are using, you should seek GP advice.
How Can I Delay My Period If I Am Not Using The Combined Contraceptive Pill?
Oral progesterone tablets are a prescription-only medication that can delay your period by up to 17 days.
Oral progesterone tablets contain a synthetic form of progesterone. Taking this medication before your period is due can artificially maintain higher levels of progesterone for longer, thus delaying your period.
You should begin taking it three days before your period is expected to begin and continue to take it three times each day for up to 17 days. Your period will arrive two to three days after you stop taking it.
It is important to note that period delay treatment, does not offer contraceptive protection.
How Do Period Delay Tablets Work?
Many hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone, play a role in regulating the menstrual cycle. During each cycle, the levels of these hormones fluctuate and cause changes, one of which is the start of your period.
The ovaries release oestrogen, which causes the womb lining to thicken during the first two weeks of your cycle. Progesterone levels rise after ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries), which helps to maintain the womb lining in the event that an egg is fertilised. This lining of the uterus is typically kept for two weeks in preparation for pregnancy. However, if the egg is not fertilised, progesterone levels drop rapidly, forcing the lining of your uterus to shed, resulting in your period.
This is where period delay tablets come in handy! Period delay medications contain a synthetic version of progesterone. Taking these before your period is due can artificially maintain high levels of progesterone and therefore delay your period. They will not delay your period indefinitely. The thickened lining of the uterus can only last so long. With period delay medication you usually only delay your period for around two weeks after it is due if the medication is taken correctly.
It is important to note that this medication is quite effective, but it is not 100% effective at delaying a period for all patients. Others may experience spotting/ light bleeding when taking it.
Please note that if your period has already started, this medication will not stop the bleeding.
If you start them less than 3 days before the expected date of your period, they are unlikely to work.
Can I Switch To, Or Start, The Combined Contraceptive Pill To Delay My Period?
If you are currently using another method of contraception, switching to the combined contraceptive pill will allow you to postpone your period.
If you do not already use contraception, you may be able to start taking the combined pill. However, you may need to begin taking this pill many weeks before you wish to delay your period, and it is not suitable for everyone.
If you’re starting or switching to the combined contraceptive pill, you will require additional contraceptive protection during the first seven days.
You can request a prescription for the contraceptive pill, patch or ring with Webdoctor.ie, or make an appointment for a video consultation to discuss this with one of our GPs.
Period Delay Treatment
Where Can I Get A Prescription For Period Delay Tablets?
You can request a prescription via our online Period Delay Pill prescription service. All you need to do is fill in a short and secure questionnaire. You can do this on your mobile, laptop or tablet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Then, one of our GPs will review your request to make sure the treatment is clinically safe and suitable for you. Once your request has been approved, we will send your prescription directly to an Irish pharmacy of your choice. No GP appointment required!
How It Works
Through an online medical questionnaire, face-to-face video consultation or home health test, our online doctors will review your case and prescribe the best treatment for you.