Everything You Need To Know About Norethisterone, The Period Delay Pill

You’ve probably wished you could delay your period once in a while, like when you’re going on a hot date or jet-setting to an exotic island holiday. Maybe you’ve even done this by not taking the placebo pills in your birth control pack. However, now there’s a pill specifically for postponing your next cycle and it may be available over-the-counter sooner than you’d think. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. It won’t let you skip your period, just delay it for a bit. This pill can delay your period for various amounts of time. Otherwise known as Norethisterone, this pill has progestin in it, which is a hormone you’ve probably heard about because it’s in your contraceptive pill.
  2. So how does it work? You must take the pills three times daily and start using them three days before your period is scheduled to start. The medicine comes in three options: 30 pills, 60 pills, and 90 pills.  That doesn’t mean you can delay your period for that long, though. (Sorry.) You can only take the period delay pills for a total of 20 days. The maximum period of time that you can delay your period is 17 days.
  3. When will your period return? Your period will come about two or three days after you’ve stopped taking the pills, but be aware that you may have a pretty unpleasant side effect as a result.
  4. It can cause heavier periods. When your period does come back after you’ve sent it on holiday, it can be heavier than usual. That’s what one person who tried the period delay pill discovered. Her period also lasted longer than normal, which is pretty annoying.
  5. It’s not a contraceptive pill. Wait, what? While you might think that Norethisterone is just like your regular birth control, it’s not. You still need to take your hormonal (or other) birth control even when you’re taking the pills, otherwise, you could still get pregnant.
  6. It has birth control side effects, though. Progestin aside, Norethisterone sure seems to have similar side effects as your birth control. These include headaches, mood swings, and nausea. Some women experience period cramps even though they don’t bleed. WTF?
  7. You might not be a good candidate for them. You can’t take these pills if you have had health conditions such as blood clots. In addition, if you suffer from epilepsy or migraines, then it might not be safe for you. Again, it’s pretty similar to what you deal with in your birth control, which means it’s not safe for all women. Bummer.
  8. It might not be worth the drama. While saying goodbye to your period for a while might sound like absolute bliss, it’s no fun if you’re still going to be experiencing side effects such as those reported with using the period delay pill.
  9. You have to time it right. As mentioned earlier in this article, you have to take the period delay pills three days before your period comes. That means you can’t just take the pills whenever you feel like it, which is a bummer because it doesn’t let you be spontaneous.
  10. You might not really need to delay your period. Although delaying your period is not necessarily dangerous, provided you consult with your doctor and avoid period-delaying medication if you have other health conditions, ask yourself: is it really necessary to delay it? After all, having your period doesn’t mean that you can’t do everything you normally do when you don’t have it. Who says you can’t wear a bikini and swim in the ocean or have amazing sex with someone just because you have your period?
  11. Is it dangerous to skip a period? While it’s not harmful to skip one period, you don’t want to do it regularly. As reported by The Sun, “Norethisterone is safe for most women to use on an occasional basis. It should not, however, be taken regularly.” There you go. Why mess with your body’s natural functioning, right? By skipping periods, you can also increase spotting. A concern with regularly delaying your period is that you won’t know right away if you happen to fall pregnant.
  12. The long-term effects aren’t known. One of the concerns with using period-delaying medication is that experts are still not sure about the long-term effects that come with using hormonal pills to delay periods. There’s still not enough evidence. But if you’re cool with that, then at least you know there is an option available to you if you decide to send Aunty Flo away for a while.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.