Period of duration

  • By Dr. Shalini Kapoor

Delaying periods is a common thing, especially for women who are involved in high profile careers that require them to be physically active all the day through. Some professions such as dancing or playing sports require a woman to be 100 percent fit so that they can give their best. Naturally, if you are an athlete scheduled to participate in a marathon, you cannot let the periods ruin the dream of winning it. At such times, delaying periods can be the only solution. However, misusing the medications that postpone your periods and using them beyond prescription repeatedly can lead to serious health consequences. There are different methods of delaying periods that mostly depends on whether you are on contraceptive pills or not.

Delaying Periods if you are taking Contraceptives

There are many ways of delaying periods with various contraceptives:
If you are using monophasic 21-day pill you usually take the pills for 21 days and then go without pills for seven days when you need to bleed. If you want to delay your periods you should start using the new packet straightaway without taking a break. This will make you miss the seven day break and will extend your periods further.

In case you are using ED or everyday pill: you must be taking pills in combination. The first 21 tablets are the active pills whereas the next seven tablets are dummy or inactive pills during which you have your periods. To delay your period, instead of starting the dummy pills after 21 days, start the new course of 21 tablets immediately.

In case of progesterone contraceptive pills, you might be already facing irregular periods or they may have stopped coming altogether. Hence, it is not possible to delay your periods in such a situation. Instead, you should ask your general practitioner to find a way out for you to extend the periods.

Delaying periods if you are not taking contraceptives

Talk to your GP to prescribe you medications commonly used for delaying periods. But you should continue using these; medications only until the prescribed limit. Mostly you have to take the tablets three days prior to your expected date of periods if you want to extend the periods. Menstruation starts 2 to 3 days from stopping the tablets.

Side effects of period delaying pills

Never overrule the prescription of the GP, this could turn into serious health problems. You should stop taking the pills only when advised. As you keep on taking pills, the lining inside your wombs keep on building up and you may have to face side effects such as:

  1. Breakthrough bleeding due to the shedding of your womb lining
  2. Stomach pains
  3. Bloating

Safety concerns that you should never overlook

Breaking the natural rhythm of menstruation can affect the reproductive capacity of women and delay her pregnancy.
Taking menstrual suppression pills can be a reasonable option for women who are comfortable with their birth control contraceptives, however it’s a practice supposed to come with caution. However, delaying periods for long duration can ultimately lead to risks and side effects such as nausea, headaches, stroke, breast tenderness and blood clots. Smoking addicts face even greater risks. Moreover, the effect of contraceptives and period delaying pills have not been studied completely and hence medical science do not have much idea how these tablets affect your bone health, fertility, heart health and cancer risks. There are cases of women who have successfully suppressed their menstruation for a year, but then the recent studies show that it’s such women who now face the risk of losing bone density. An extreme form of this deficiency leads to osteoporosis in later life, but may come very soon if precaution is not taken. Not just this, but regular use of period delaying pills also reduces the chances of pregnancy.