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Period delay tablets can help you temporarily skip your period – here’s how they work

Creator : Susan Walker, Reader in Contraception, Reproductive and Sexual Well being, Anglia Ruskin College

There’s an underlying regulation of the universe which dictates a girl’s interval will all the time arrive simply in time to disrupt vital plans. For any girl who’s ever had a particular journey or occasion spoiled because of the arrival of her interval, having a method of skipping it quickly can be life-changing.

Customers of the mixed contraceptive capsule are capable of postpone or skip their interval by beginning their subsequent packet of contraception as a substitute of taking the break week. For girls on several types of contraceptives (or no contraceptive in any respect), they’ve had no selection however to cope with their interval and all its inconveniences – at any time when it arrives. However not too long ago, an increasing number of high-street pharmacies have began promoting interval delay tablets on prescription – which can simply be the answer many ladies have been ready for.

Delaying your interval

For a few years, docs have been capable of prescribe a course of hormone tablets to delay a interval. However extra not too long ago, retail pharmacists within the UK (reminiscent of Boots) have began promoting the interval delay pill Utovlan by way of on-line session with a physician.

These tablets include a man-made hormone, just like the physique’s progesterone, which helps to delay the top of a pure cycle – in the end delaying a interval. These capsules are solely designed for use by girls not already taking the mixed oral contraception capsule.

Quarter life, a series by The Conversation

This text is a part of Quarter Life, a collection about points affecting these of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of starting a profession and caring for our psychological well being, to the thrill of beginning a household, adopting a pet or simply making mates as an grownup. The articles on this collection discover the questions and convey solutions as we navigate this turbulent interval of life.

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The timing of intervals is managed by hormonal adjustments which occur each month. In easy phrases, the hormone oestrogen – produced by the ovaries – causes the liner of the womb to thicken within the first two weeks of every month. After the girl has ovulated, progesterone (one other hormone) maintains that womb lining for the subsequent two weeks to arrange for the arrival of a fertilised egg. But when being pregnant doesn’t occur, progesterone ranges drop steeply – inflicting the womb to shed its lining and the girl’s interval to start.

Interval delay tablets include norethisterone, a man-made model of progesterone. These work by preserving the progesterone ranges within the physique artificially greater for longer – in the end delaying the arrival of a interval. However there’s a restrict to how lengthy the thickened womb lining might be maintained – so often it’s solely doable to delay a interval utilizing these tablets for about two weeks after it was due.

A box of the period delay tablet Utovlan.
Utovlan is the interval delay pill out there within the UK.
Physician 4U/ flickr, CC BY

Anybody who needs to make use of a interval delay pill might want to begin them about three days earlier than their interval is due. They might want to take the tablets thrice a day for so long as they need their interval to be delayed (as much as a most of 17 days of tablets). The delayed interval will arrive about two or three days after stopping the norethisterone tablets. In fact, every girl is totally different, so the effectiveness and timing of the delay can differ a bit from individual to individual.

Not a contraception

Whereas interval delay tablets could quickly delay your interval, it isn’t a contraceptive technique and can’t be used to stop being pregnant. Ladies who don’t use contraception or use non-hormonal contraception (such because the copper IUD) might want to proceed to taking measures to stop being pregnant whereas utilizing interval delay tablets in the event that they don’t need to turn into pregnant.

There’s nearly no proof about what occurs if a girl utilizing progesterone-only contraceptive strategies (reminiscent of the implant or progesterone-only capsule) takes a interval delay pill. It’s doubtless that it gained’t be dangerous to mix these on a once-off foundation – however it must be mentioned first with the physician who’s prescribing them.

Ladies utilizing mixed oral contraception mustn’t use norethisterone to delay intervals. In the event that they need to delay their interval, they’ll skip their pill-free break and begin the subsequent pack. This isn’t dangerous and doesn’t have an effect on how effectively the mixed capsule works as a contraceptive.

Unwanted side effects and dangers

Like every medicine, norethisterone can have some negative effects. The most typical ones are zits, menstrual recognizing (mild bleeding), low temper, lack of libido, breast ache or nausea. Not everybody will expertise these.

Nevertheless there are some girls who mustn’t use norethisterone to delay a interval. These are girls who’re or might be pregnant, girls who’ve simply given start and ladies who’re breastfeeding. In addition they aren’t appropriate for girls with liver tumours, breast most cancers and another unusual medical situations.

The best way that norethisterone is metabolised within the physique may additionally improve the chance of blood clots. So girls who’ve had blood clots earlier than or are at the next threat of clotting ought to keep away from utilizing interval delay tablets. For a similar cause, it’s vital for any girl who takes interval delay tablets to remain hydrated and transfer round typically, particularly on lengthy aircraft flights. Norethisterone may work together with some prescription drugs (reminiscent of anti-epileptic or anti-TB medicine) and the physician prescribing the interval delay tablets will test what different medicine is being taken.

Most girls will need to delay a interval every now and then, and interval delay tablets are a technique to do that. As a result of they don’t seem to be appropriate for each girl, and so they nonetheless must be prescribed after a session with a physician. However the choice to delay a interval on occasion, and the comfort of doing this by a high-street pharmacist, provides girls management of their menstrual calendar.


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