Title: Delaying Your Period: A Solution for Menstruation Troubles and Travelers
Subtitle: How to Delay Menstruation and Potential Effects on Health
In recent years, the trend of delaying menstruation has gained popularity among women who experience extreme discomfort or inconvenience during their menstrual cycles. Additionally, travelers who would rather not deal with the hassle of menstrual bleeding while on a trip are also seeking ways to postpone their periods. But what exactly is involved in delaying menstruation? And is it harmful to one’s health? We spoke to Paula Kragten, a renowned menstruation expert, to shed some light on this topic. Kragten is the founder of online magazine Period! and author of the book “Beautiful Red is Not Ugly.”
According to Kragten, many women are already unknowingly delaying their periods through the use of hormonal contraception. By preventing ovulation, hormonal contraception effectively stops the occurrence of a natural period. The bleeding that takes place during the stop week of contraceptive pills is actually a withdrawal bleeding. Contrary to popular belief, there are no negative health implications if one skips the week off and immediately starts a new strip of pills.
For women who are not on hormonal contraception, there are options to temporarily delay their periods. A doctor can prescribe a contraceptive pill, which needs to be started at least two months before the expected start of the period. Another alternative is taking a progestin pill, such as lynestrenol or norethisterone, about a week before the expected start of the period. This can delay menstruation by two to three weeks, and once the progestogen pills are stopped, the period will resume within two to three days, often accompanied by more intense blood loss. It is important to note that the progestogen pill is not a contraceptive.
The method of delaying menstruation varies depending on the type of contraceptive pills used. For single-phase combination pills, a new strip should be started immediately after completing the previous one, without taking a break week. This is considered safe for up to a year without a week off in between. For two-phase combination pills, the pills from the new strip with the same color and composition as the last pills from the previous strip should be continued without a break week. However, for three-phase or multi-phase pills, delaying the period becomes more complicated due to the varying amounts of hormones in each phase. It is advised to consult a doctor for guidance on preventing unintended pregnancies. It is also recommended to take a break week after two to three strips, as a prolonged delay in menstruation using oral contraception increases the risk of breakthrough bleeding.
Other forms of hormonal contraception, such as patches and rings, can also be used to postpone menstruation. For patches, one can stick them on for an additional one to two weeks without a patch-free week. Similarly, with hormone rings, a new ring should be inserted immediately after three weeks without a ring-free week. However, it is important to consult a doctor regarding the duration of use without a week off, as these methods have a slightly higher risk of thrombosis compared to the pill. Unfortunately, there are limited options to postpone periods with the progestogen-only method (minipill, hormone IUD, progestogen implant), although periods are typically minimal with these methods.
On the other hand, some women may prefer to bring their period forward and experience a withdrawal bleed to reduce the risk of breakthrough bleeding. This can be easily achieved through the use of single-phase contraceptive pills. By reducing the number of stop days between two strips or stopping a strip sooner, bleeding can be initiated after two or three days. It is important to always take the pill for at least 14 days in a row and never extend the stop week beyond seven days, as it may decrease the pill’s reliability.
While delaying or advancing one’s period can be a convenient option for some women, it is essential to consider the individual’s health and seek guidance from a healthcare professional. Taking hormones continuously without a break may increase the risk of breakthrough bleeding, and certain forms of hormonal contraception have an elevated risk of thrombosis. Ultimately, the decision to delay or advance menstruation should be made in consultation with a doctor to ensure the best possible outcome.
– Paula Kragten, founder of online magazine Period! and author of the book “Beautiful Red is Not Ugly”
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice.]