Delaying Your Period with the "Honeymoon Pill"

Have a vacation, wedding, or other big events coming up and want to delay your period? In the following post, we'll discuss the different options and methods along with their respective risks and common concerns to help you manage your menstrual cycle.

Why Delay a Period?

While the reasons for delaying menstruation can be deeply personal, some common reasons include:

  • Religious Commitments: Activities like the Hajj pilgrimage in Islam require participants to be free from menstrual bleeding.
  • Special Events: Many choose to delay their period for significant life events like weddings, honeymoons, or vacations.
  • Recreational Activities: Extended camping trips, visits to water parks, or beach holidays are more enjoyable without the worry of menstruation.
  • Convenience: Some individuals prefer to have control over their cycles, particularly if they experience heavy or painful periods.

Understanding the Pill Options for Delaying Menstruation

NETA (Norethisterone Acetate):

NETA is a potent synthetic progesterone. While our bodies naturally produce progesterone, taking NETA in pill form provides a higher dose that tricks the body into thinking it's pregnant, thus preventing the shedding of the uterine lining. It's effective for various treatments, including addressing menstrual disorders, managing endometriosis, and, notably, for delaying menstruation.

MPA (Medroxyprogesterone Acetate):

Another synthetic form of progesterone, MPA functions similarly to NETA. It is available both as an injectable contraceptive and in oral form. When taken orally, MPA can effectively regulate menstrual cycles and delay periods by stabilizing the uterine lining.

Combined Oral Contraceptives (COCs):

Commonly referred to as birth control pills, COCs contain a blend of estrogen and progestin. By taking them continuously, without the typical seven-day break or placebo pills, you can effectively delay menstruation. While there is no long-term harm associated with this, the longer you go without menstruating, the more likely you are to experience spotting, or breakthrough bleeding.

Speak with our physicians to see which option is right for you.

Addressing Common Concerns and Considerations

Impact on Fertility:

A common concern is the potential long-term impact on fertility. The good news is that using any of the methods mentioned above does not have a long-term adverse effect on fertility. Once you discontinue the medication, your fertility will revert to its baseline.

'Off-label' Use:

The term 'off-label' can be daunting for many. Using NETA or MPA for menstrual suppression is considered off-label, meaning the medication isn't explicitly approved by regulatory agencies like Health Canada for this use. However, this doesn't mean it's unsafe. It's essential to understand the implications and potential risks associated with off-label use.

Long Term use:

NETA and MPA should not be used indefinitely as they are associated with greater side effects with prolonged use, unlike birth control.

Potential Side Effects:

All medications come with potential side effects. For NETA and MPA, these can include mood swings, bloating, increased appetite, breast tenderness, and occasional acne outbreaks. It's also possible to experience mild spotting or bleeding. Being aware of these can help you manage them better should they arise.

Making an Informed Decision: Benefits, Risks, and Recommendations

Benefits of COCs over NETA/MPA:

One might wonder why one would opt for birth control pills over NETA or MPA. COCs can be used over more extended periods, are suitable for family planning, and often come with fewer side effects than progesterone pills.

Risks and Contraindications:

It's vital to be aware of the potential risks associated with these medications. Certain conditions or medical histories might make their use unsafe. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any medication.

Spotting Concerns:

Breakthrough bleeding or spotting can be concerning for many. While NETA and MPA are usually effective at preventing this, there's always a slight possibility, especially when starting the regimen.

Can Plan B pills delay your period?

While Plan B pills (levonorgestrel) can delay your period (usually between 2 to 7 days), it is not recommended as you may also get your period earlier than expected.

Recommendations from Healthcare Professionals:

When choosing between NETA and MPA, it's essential to consider individual health needs. Some of the hormones in NETA are converted into estrogen by the body, which carries associated risks. Therefore, MPA is often the preferred choice unless there are specific medical contraindications.

See our FAQ for additional information on suppressing your menstrual cycle.

How much does it cost?

The cost of delaying your period depends on which medication you choose and for how long. NETA costs about $1.50 per pill and you need to take it three times a day. On the other hand, MPA is cheaper at $0.25 per pill and you only need to take it twice a day. So, MPA ends up being considerably less expensive.

  • NETA: $4.50 per day
  • MPA: $0.50 per day

So a 10 day trip would be $45 using NETA vs. $5.00 with MPA.

Conclusion

The power to control one's menstrual cycle offers a level of autonomy that can be life-changing for many. With the options available today, it's possible to delay menstruation safely and effectively. However, as with all medical decisions, it's crucial to be informed, understand potential risks, and consult with a healthcare provider. By making informed choices, you can enjoy the benefits these medications offer while ensuring your overall well-being.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for personal health concerns.