Young woman holding up simple calendar, 3 ways to delay your period image header, e-Surgery

For many women, delaying their period can be beneficial for a variety of reasons – from avoiding menstruation during a special event like a wedding or vacation, to managing certain medical conditions that can be exacerbated by menstrual bleeding. While it’s generally recommended to let your menstrual cycle follow its natural course, there are safe and effective options available for temporarily postponing your period. 

In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the various methods for period delay, their effectiveness, potential side effects, and important considerations to keep in mind. We’ll also address common concerns and provide tips for a successful experience. 

Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle

Before we dive into period delay methods, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the menstrual cycle. The average menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman, but the average is to have periods every 28 days, however regular cycles that are longer or shorter than this, from 23 to 35 days, are normal. 

The menstrual cycle is the time from the first day of a woman’s period to the day before her next period. 

During each cycle, the body goes through a series of hormonal changes that prepare the uterus for potential pregnancy.  In each cycle, rising levels of the hormone oestrogen cause the ovary to develop and release an egg (ovulation), and the womb lining also starts to thicken. 

In the second half of the cycle, the hormone progesterone helps the womb to prepare for implantation of a developing embryo. The egg also travels down the fallopian tubes. If the pregnancy doesn’t occur, the egg is reabsorbed into the body. The levels of oestrogen and progesterone fall, and the womb lining comes away and leaves the body as a period. 

Methods For Period Delay

There are a few options available for women looking to temporarily postpone their menstrual period. This depends on individual needs, preferences, and guidance from a healthcare provider. 

Hormonal Birth Control 

Hormonal birth control methods, such as combination birth control pills, the patch, or the vaginal ring, are among the most effective and widely used options for period delay. These methods work by introducing synthetic hormones (oestrogen and progestin) into the body, which prevent ovulation and can delay menstruation. 

In order to delay your period using hormonal birth control, you would skip the placebo week (or the week you typically have your period) and immediately start a new pack of active pills, a new patch, or a new ring. This can safely postpone your period for as long as you continue taking the active hormones. 


Norethisterone is a synthetic progestogen that can be used to delay your period. It works by mimicking the effects of progesterone, a hormone that plays a crucial role in the menstrual cycle. 

Typically, it is taken three days before your expected period and continued until you want your period to start. The dosage and duration of treatment may vary based on your specific needs and your healthcare provider’s recommendations. 

While norethisterone is generally well-tolerated, potential side effects may include nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, and irregular bleeding. 

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) Agonists 

In some cases, particularly for managing certain medical conditions, these may be prescribed to temporarily delay periods. These medications work by suppressing the production of hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. 

GnRH agonists are typically used for a short period and can effectively postpone periods for several months. However, they can have significant side effects, such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and bone loss, and are generally reserved for specific medical scenarios under close medical supervision.

Considerations & Precautions

While period delay methods can be useful in certain situations, it’s important to consider potential risks and side effects. Here are some important points to keep in mind: 

  1. Consult with a healthcare professional: before attempting to delay your period, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess your individual circumstances, recommend the most appropriate method, and provide guidance on proper usage and potential risks.
  2. It’s a temporary solution: period delay methods are intended for temporary use and should not be used as a long-term solution for managing your menstrual cycle – they can have negative impacts on your health.
  3. Breakthrough bleeding: depending on the method used and individual factors, you may experience breakthrough bleeding or spotting while attempting to delay your period. This is generally harmless but can be inconvenient.
  4. Contraceptive considerations: if you’re using hormonal birth control to delay your period, it’s important to remember that the effectiveness of these methods for preventing pregnancy may be reduced if you don’t follow the instructions carefully.
  5. Medical conditions: certain medical conditions, such as hormonal imbalances, blood clotting disorders, or certain cancers, may impact the suitability of period delay methods.
  6. Side effects: all period delay methods carry the risk of potential side effects, which can vary depending on the method used and individual factors.
  7. Long-term effects: while period delay methods are generally considered safe for short-term use, the long-term effects of repeatedly delaying periods are not fully understood.

By being well-informed and following professional advice, you can minimise risks and increase the chances of successful period postponement when needed.

Tips For A Successful Period Delay Experience

In order to optimise your experience when delaying your period, preparation and diligence are key. 

One of the most important steps is to start the chosen method at the appropriate time based on your menstrual cycle and the instructions provided by your healthcare provider. Keeping track of your cycle can help you better anticipate your next period and plan accordingly for the delay method. 

It’s also crucial to carefully follow the dosage and usage instructions. By deviating from the recommended guidelines, it can increase the risk of side effects or reduce the effectiveness of the method. If you have any confusion about the instructions, don’t hesitate to clarify with your doctor or pharmacist. 

While period delay medications are generally effective, it’s important to manage your expectations. There may be instances of breakthrough bleeding or spotting, and the delay may not be as precise as desired. Staying well-hydrated can help minimise potential side effects, such as headaches or nausea, associated with some period delay methods. 

Additionally, open communication with a healthcare professional is key. If you experience severe side effects, prolonged or heavy bleeding, or any other concerning symptoms while attempting to delay your period, seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor can evaluate your situation and provide guidance on adjusting the method or stopping the delay if necessary. 

With proper planning, following instructions, and open communication with your doctor, you’ll be better equipped to delay your period safely and successfully.

Next Steps

Delaying your period can be a convenient solution for certain situations, but it’s crucial to approach it with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. By understanding the various methods, potential risks, and precautions, you can make an informed decision and have a successful experience. 

Remember, period delay methods are intended for temporary use and should not be relied upon as a long-term solution for managing your menstrual cycle. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor. 

At e-Surgery, we offer a range of safe and effective period delay medications, including Norethisterone, to help you manage your menstrual cycle with confidence. We also offer a completely free ‘Ask-a-Pharmacist‘ service where you can receive professional healthcare advice from a UK trained pharmacist. We are always happy to help!