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Pill To Stop Period

Periods are a part of life for most of us …unfortunately! Menstrual cycles and menstrual bleeding can vary greatly from one woman to another. For some, a two or three day painless light bleed is the norm but for others it can mean over a week of heavy, painful and uncomfortable bleeding that impacts on quality of life and activities of daily living.

Thankfully, there are options to help regulate cycles and provide women with some predictability when it comes to their menstrual cycle. The combined oral contraceptive pill or The COCP is the most commonly used method. This contains both oestrogen and progesterone. Then there’s the “mini pill” which contains progesterone only.

It’s also important to remember options like the coil, whether it’s the Mirena Coil or The Copper Coil. Then there’s the contraceptive bar (placed under the skin) as well as the contraceptive patch and the vaginal ring.

However, for women who aren’t on regular contraception and would rather not have their period for an event, whether it’s a wedding, a holiday or an exam, we can prescribe a pill that’s simply taken as a short course. It’s called Norethisterone.

Here’s all you need to know…

Who Can Take Norethisterone?

Women who aren’t on the oral contraceptive pill and who would like to delay their period for an event can be considered for Norethisterone. However, it’s not suitable for some women; the same restrictions as the combined oral contraceptive pill apply. This means we may not be able to prescribe it for women who have a high BMI, or those aged over 35 who smoke. You’ll also need to have your blood pressure checked before starting it. Your local pharmacy can do this for you.

How far in advance can I take it?

Give us notice so you can plan ahead! We’ve had women call us an hour before a flight or the day before their period. This is not ideal and can cause a great deal of stress for both the doctor and the patient! To delay menstruation, Norethisterone should be started 3 days before the date of expected period. The tablet is then taken 3 times a day and can be taken for up to 14 days. You should expect to get your period within 2-3 days of stopping the course.

Can Norethisterone also be used as contraception?

When used as a short course like this, it’s not a reliable form of contraception and therefore extra precautions i.e. condoms should be used.
I’m on The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill ….what can I do?

If you’re on the pill and would like to skip your withdrawal bleed, you can simply take your pill back to back without a break. Recent advice tells us that the 7 day pill break should be a thing of the past! For women who do want to take a pill break, 4 days is best. But, as we say, no break at all is ok too. Our doctors are happy to advise and discuss with you further. Tailored pill use to suit your lifestyle is the way of the future!

How do I get a prescription for Norethisterone?

You can call any of our doctors on videoDoc today to discuss.

Dr. Doireann.x

Reference re use of Norethisteone for delaying menstruation: BNF Sept 2019-2020. Page 764.

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