Dr Clare Morrison

Article by Dr Clare Morrison

Learn about how Norethisterone can help with Period Delay

Birthdays, holidays, Christmas/Easter and exams are a few examples of events that come in the year that can be stressful. The last thing you need when these are happening is the extra hassle of your period. Aches and pains along with stress and fatigue, can take their toll – especially if the weather isn’t great.

So why not opt for Period Delay tablets? Whether you’re going abroad, staying with relatives, or simply don’t want the hassle of your monthly flow; the most obvious benefit of taking medication to delay your period is the increased level of control over where and when your period will start.

Now for the science…

Period Delay tablets contain Norethisterone – a synthetic form of progesterone, a hormone secreted by your ovaries during the menstrual cycle after the egg is released. The aim is to make sure the womb lining is prepped for any egg that may get implanted.

The reason you have your period is because your progesterone levels drop – this is why Norethisterone stops you menstruating.

It’s important to remember that if you do this too often, you may get some unpredictable and erratic bleeding, and we would recommend that you don’t take it more frequently than once every six months. However, if you do want to take breaks on a regular basis, then another option would be to take a regular, low dose, contraceptive pill, every day, to avoid bleeding. If you do decide to take this path, we would advise discussing this further with your doctor.

How to take Norethisterone

⦁ Take one Norethisterone  5 mg tablet three times a day at the same time each day – one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night time

⦁ Take Norethisterone three days before your period is due to start and take it for the rest of your period

⦁ Norethisterone should be taken for up to 17 days – however the time scale could be different for every individual. You should keep taking the tablets until you are ready to start your period again

⦁ If you forget to take a tablet on one day, skip it and take the next dose as normal – but remember not to take two doses together

Side effects

Most people experience no side effects from Norethisterone – however, the most common side effects include:

⦁ Rashes

⦁ Dizziness

⦁ Bloating

⦁ Headaches

⦁ Depression

⦁ Nausea

More serious side effects can include:

⦁ Thrombosis

⦁ Jaundice

⦁ Fluid retention

⦁ Migraines

Can I get pregnant while taking Norethisterone?

As Norethisterone is not a contraceptive, it cannot protect against pregnancy. If you require contraception, please discuss the various options available to you with your GP.

If you need any further advice on period delay, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our team.

Dr Clare Morrison
Dr Clare Morrison
Experienced General Practitioner in Hampshire since 1995, with particular interest in Nutrition, Obesity and Smoking Cessation.
Originally published November 06 2017, updated September 27 2019