Although your menstrual period typically begins every 28 days, it is possible to suppress the hormonal cycle that brings it about, to delay, skip, or stop your menses.
Menstrual periods are not necessary for a good health or your physical function as such, though a prolonged postponement of your period for several months or years could lead to loss of your bone strength.
There are many reasons you may want to prevent your monthly period, including if you have:
The following are sure ways to postpone or delay your period. We would discuss their pros and cons, which you can further explore with your own doctor.
As you know, there are two main female hormones - estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen is what makes the lining of your womb grow thick, while progesterone is what makes the lining shed its blood and become thin. These two hormones have been likened to the fertilizer (estrogen) that you place on your lawn (the lining of your womb) to make it grow, and your lawn mower (progesterone).
Progesterone only pills are birth control pill that contains only progesterone.
They are very commonly used to delay or prevent onset of menstruation if you are not already on any form of birth control pill.
If your doctor is willing to prescribe norethindrone or norethisterone to delay your period, it is usually taken at a dose of 5 mg tablet, three times a day for about 21 days. Start taking it three days before you expect the menstrual period you are seeking to delay and continue until you are ready to have your period again. You will typically start bleeding two to three days after you stop taking this pill.
So make sure you time when you start taking this to correspond with when you do not want your period.
This pill is not advised in women with a history of:
Other progestin-only methods of suppressing menstrual bleeding include depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, which is administered as an intramuscular injection every three months, or the progesterone- only IUD.
Even with use of progestin-only methods, 80% of women will have breakthrough bleeding or irregular periods long term.
Oral contraceptive pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone are known as combined oral contraceptives.
Pills that come in a pack of 21 pills all contain active hormones.
In packs of 28, the final seven pills are inactive and used as a spacer.
In either case, after you stop taking active pills on day 22, you will experience withdrawal bleeding in response to decreased hormone levels.
If you continue to take active pills by starting a new pack of 21 on the day after you complete your packet or if you skip the inactive pills in a 28 day pack and begin a new pack immediately, you will not experience the withdrawal bleeding that mimics the menstrual period.
If you would like to use combination oral contraceptive pills to prevent onset of your menstrual period, you should ask your doctor about this, since each combined contraceptive pill has a unique combination of estrogen and progesterone.
Most experts recommend limiting use of this method to 2-3 months.
If you would like to avoid a menstrual period for a longer time, say for 6 to 12 months, your doctor may prescribe one of the monophasic or continuous or extended-cycle birth control pills. These combination pills contain ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel and they are prescribed for longer periods of time to delay or suppress the menstrual period.
Use of continuous or extended-cycle contraceptive pills is associated with no greater risk than use of cyclic pills that result in monthly bleeding.
In fact, benefits include:
Brand names include:
Seasonale is prescribed for thirteen weeks, but the thirteenth week of the prescription contains inactive pills. This results in a menstrual cycle approximately every three months. Seasonique is prescribed for 13 weeks.
The pills prescribed during the initial twelve weeks contain progesterone and estrogen and the final week contains a small dose of estrogen only. During the final week, withdrawal bleeding occurs but low dose estrogen may prevent some of the unpleasant symptoms associated with the menstrual period, including bloating and heavy bleeding.
Quartette contains a gradually increasing dosage of estrogen in addition to a constant dose of progesterone and prescribed for a 91-day period. With this pill, you will have a period every three months and the increasing dosage of estrogen may reduce breakthrough bleeding.
Lybrel is a different combination pill that contains low doses of both estrogen and progesterone. It is prescribed for a year, taken continuously.
Breakthrough bleeding may decrease with continued usage.
You should not use combination oral contraceptive pills, if you have
Smoking not only increases the risk of breakthrough bleeding, it also increases cardiovascular risk, including stroke and heart attack. Cardiovascular risk is further heightened in women over the age of 35 who smoke.
If you prefer, other options for use of combined contraceptive treatments include transdermal patches and transvaginal “vaginal ring” contraceptives, although neither of these methods are as effective.
This is especially if you are already using contraceptive patches or nuvaring for birth control.
The patch can be put on for 6 weeks straight without a patch-free period. You should resume your normal menstrual period at the end of the sixth week.
This is not a recommended way to stop your period.
Anti-inflammatory pills like ibuprofen, naproxen, ketorolac or diclofenac at a high dose can stop your menstrual period.
It is usually not recommended because the dose that will help stop your period is almost certain to cause irritation to your stomach and even make you bleed internally.
A dose of ibuprofen at about 800 mg taken four times a day has been reported by the Cleveland Clinic to stop menstrual period.
To know more on how to delay your menstrual period for your particular medical situation and history, it is best to speak with your doctor or reach out to us online here.