Picture this, Covid has ended, flights are embarking, beaches are filling and you have booked a beautiful well-deserved week-long trip to sunny Santorini. 5 days before you leave, your trusty period app reminds your period if coming up right smack in the middle of your holiday. Periods are not hassle-free, and the last thing we want when we’re lying on a beach, but something we learn to put up with. But when it coincides with a holiday, that is when I refuse to let it ruin my fun. The same goes for you!
Period delay tablets such as Norethisterone and Utovlan have been designed to do just such, delay our periods. It is by no means meant to be used on a daily basis but one-off here and there on occasions.
Norethisterone is a hormone that is used in period delay medications. What norethisterone does is dupe your body into thinking you are pregnant which then prevents the womb lining from breaking down and shedding as a period. It is a synthetic form of the naturally occurring progesterone hormone in our body. When the body detects a high level of progesterone in the body, it stimulated the thickening of the lining of the womb as it prepares for the implantation of a fertilised egg. After ovulation, if there is not a surge in progesterone levels in the body, it knows that you are not pregnant and hence this is when you have a period. So essentially norethisterone helps maintain this high level of progesterone in the body, leaving the womb lining intact delaying your period.
Norethisterone cannot be taken on a regular basis and does not get rid of the period, just delaying it until you are off the medication. It also cannot be used as a contraceptive option so make sure you use protection. Norethisterone can be taken for up to 20 days if prescribed for period delay purposes.
Utovlan is a branded version of the norethisterone medication. It releases a one-off surge of norethisterone in your body to delay your period. It works in the same way stated above. Utlovan can also only be used for up to 20 days and is not a contraceptive pill. You should continue to use effective and safe birth control while taking the medication.
Period delay medications are only prescribed for short term use as they interfere with the naturally occurring hormones in your body. Continually introducing these additional hormones to your body can put you at an increased risk of side effects. These medications do not have an effect on your fertility but make sure to discuss your concerns about family planning with your doctor.
If you are already on birth control pills like the combined pill you do not and should not use period delay medications. Contraceptive pills already contain the hormones so you will be just adding more of them into your body which can be harmful to you. There are ways to delay your period using the combined pill by skipping your monthly pill-free week and starting a new pack right after you finish your previous one.
You can use period delay medication while taking the mini-pill however this will need to be assessed by your prescribing doctor to make sure your risk of blood clots is not too severe.
We here at Dr Felix can offer you Norethisterone (generic version) and Utovlan (branded version) for your period delay needs. We have a dedicated page to help you get a better understanding of period delay tablets.