What is Norethisterone Used For?

When it comes to delaying your period, many people reach for Norethisterone. But what is period delay and what happens when you stop taking Norethisterone?

Let’s take a closer look at this medication and how it can help you manage your monthly cycle. This article will discuss what period delay is, what happens when you stop taking Norethisterone, and when to see a doctor. Find out 3 ways you can delay your period!

What Is Period Delay?

A woman’s menstrual cycle is regulated by a complex interaction of hormones that originate from the brain, ovaries, and uterus. The hypothalamus in the brain controls the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones control the production of oestrogen and progesterone, which are the hormones that regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle [1]

Period delay is a technique used by many women to postpone their menstrual cycle. This is achieved by taking synthetic hormones such as progesterone and/or oestrogen. These hormones work by safely stopping ovulation, as well as thickening the mucus within the cervix to help prevent sperm from entering. As a result, your body will not release the eggs from your ovaries. Depending on which contraception you are on you may be advised to take a break, for example, the combined contraceptive pill. Other varieties, such as the ‘mini pill‘, are taken daily and in some cases will prevent a period.

women doing athletics after taking norethisterone for period delay | e-surgery

There are many reasons why someone might choose to delay their period. Some people do it for athletic purposes, a social event like a holiday, while others might do it for medical reasons. By delaying your period, you can avoid the inconvenience of having your period during a busy time in your life. You can also avoid the pain and discomfort that often comes with menstruation. 

What Is Norethisterone? 

Norethisterone is a synthetic progestogen hormone that is used as a contraceptive and also to treat menstrual problems such as irregular or heavy periods. Sometimes doctors may also use Norethisterone to treat breast cancer and endometriosis. Norethisterone works by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries and also by making the womb lining (endometrium) less thick. This makes it difficult for a fertilised egg to implant in the womb. 

How Does Norethisterone Work? 

Norethisterone tablets are a prescription treatment, used to delay your next period for up to 17 days. They are in the group of medicines called progestogens, which is similar to the natural female hormone progesterone. This helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and can prevent ovulation. This allows women to have control and flexibility over their periods without using contraception (it’s important to remember that Norethisterone tablets will not prevent pregnancy unlike contraceptive pills such as Cerelle, Rigevidon or Yasmin). It can also be a way to delay your period and avoid some of the side effects of the pill, such as weight gain or acne.

Are you worried about coming off the pill? Here are 5 ways coming off the pill might affect your body.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Norethisterone? 

what happens when you stop taking norethisterone

Norethisterone is to be taken 3-4 days before your period [2]. They are normally taken THREE times DAILY, starting from 3 days before the expected onset of a period. They can be taken for up to 17 days, a good way to remember to take them is to take them with meals though this is not required. Once you stop taking the medication, your period will return in 2-3 days. It is important to take norethisterone exactly as prescribed by your doctor to achieve the best results. 


It’s very important to remember that period delay tablets and more contraception (other than barrier methods such as condoms) will not protect you from sexually transmitted disease/infections such as Chlamydia and Herpes.

What Are The Side Effects of Norethisterone? 

Like all medications, norethisterone has the potential to cause side effects. The most common side effects include stomach aches, headache, breast tenderness, mood changes, changes in sex drive, fluid retention, and nausea. 

Most of these side effects will go away once your body becomes used to the medication. If you experience any of these side effects, be sure to speak with your doctor.  

However, norethisterone can also cause some serious side effects.

These include:

  • Problems in breathing,
  • Wheezing,
  • Feeling dizzy or faint,
  • Swelling of face, tongue, feet, or hands,
  • Skin rash

It’s important to be aware of these side effects before you start taking norethisterone. If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking the medication and seek medical help immediately. 

What Is The Course Duration? 

The course duration for norethisterone is typically between 7 days and 17 days with 1 tablet to be taken 3 times daily. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the best dosage and course of treatment for each individual. 

Is Norethisterone Available Online? 

Yes, Norethisterone is available online at e-Surgery, a registered online pharmacy. e-Surgery offers a large range of prescription medications at affordable prices, and all orders are shipped discreetly and securely. Plus, e-Surgery is backed by a strong satisfaction guarantee, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible service. 

what happens when you stop taking norethisterone

Is Norethisterone Period Delay a Good Option?

So, if you are looking to delay your period, Norethisterone is a good option. It is quick-acting and most people find that it stops your period within two to four days. However, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects and to only take it for the prescribed time frame.  

It is important to speak with your doctor if you are taking any other medications, as they may need to be adjusted to avoid any interactions. Cross medication is a situation where a patient is taking more than one medication, prescribed by different doctors, that may have interactions with each other. This can be dangerous for the patient as the interactions between the medications may not be known and could lead to serious health complications. 


  1. Physiology of GnRH and Gonadotropin Secretion – Endotext – NCBI Bookshelf | NCBI 
  1. How can I delay my period? – NHS | NHS

Further Reading

  1. Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia) | Causes and Treatment | Patient.info
  2. How can I delay my period? | NHS
  3. Not just period delay: using norethisterone for menorrhagia | Femedic