delaying your periodThere may be some situations – such as going on holiday, having important exams or a special occasion like a wedding – where you may wish to temporarily delay your period.

More women are now looking for safe and reliable methods to control or stop their periods, otherwise known as menstrual suppression, for relationship and lifestyle reasons.

Delaying a period cannot be guaranteed but the following usually works:

1. Taking the combined oral contraceptive pill
If you are taking a fixed-dose combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP – often just called ‘the pill’) then simply start the next pack without the usual 7-day break. Taking two packs back-to-back in this way is safe if it is done occasionally. You still only need to have a 7-day break at the end of these two packets.

2. If you don’t take a contraceptive pill
See your Doctor for advice if you want to delay your period and you are not taking the combined contraceptive pill. They may be able to prescribe medication called norethisterone to delay your period. Your Doctor will advise you when to take norethisterone and for how long.

3. With the patch or ring
If you use a contraceptive ring such as Nuvaring as a method of contraception, after three weeks simply pop a new ring in place instead of having your seven day break. If you use a contraceptive patch such as EVRA, you can skip your patch free week to miss your period. Just like the pill, Dr Gigi Taguri recommends skipping your period for no longer than three months with these contraceptives.

What are the benefits of delaying your period?
Delaying your period can treat or prevent various menstrual symptoms. It might be worth considering if you have:

* A physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to use sanitary napkins or tampons
* A condition worsened by menstruation, such as endometriosis, anemia, asthma, migraines or epilepsy
* Breast tenderness, bloating or mood swings in the seven to 10 days before your period
* Headaches or other menstrual symptoms during the week you take inactive birth control pills
* Heavy, prolonged, frequent or painful periods

Is it safe for all women to delay menstruation?
If your doctor says it’s OK for you to take birth control pills, it’s probably safe to use them to delay your period. Not all doctors think it’s a good idea to delay menstruation, however. Even those who support the option may not mention it unless you bring up the topic. If you want to try delaying your period, you may have to take the lead. Ask your doctor which option might work for you.