So you’re really looking forward to an upcoming event — a vacation, a sexy sleepover, a wedding, even your wedding — and you realized that your period is due to make an appearance then and take a big chunk of the fun away. So, you buy new period panties, stock up on ibuprofen and hope things don’t get messy . .
Not so fast! Thanks to modern medicine you have options. As you may already know, if you’re on the combination birth control (one that contains both estrogen and progestin) you can skip your period by continuing to take your pill continuously. Simply skip the placebo pills and go straight to the next pack of active pills. If you use the ring, skip your ring-free week.
But even if you aren’t on birth control there’s a method of making your period stay away: Taking a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone can thin and stabilize the uterine lining and delay your period until you’re ready for it to return.
Birth control from Nurx costs as little as $0 with insurance or $15 per month without insurance.
Taking Progestin to Stop Bleeding
There are three synthetic progesterones (aka progestins) that can be used to delay your period: Norethindrone acetate (which goes by the brand name Aygestin) and Norethisterone and Medroxyprogesterone (brand name Provera). They’re similar to the synthetic progesterones found in all hormonal birth control, but prescribed in a higher dose that will prevent breakthrough bleeding. Nurx usually prescribes Aygestin or its generic version, because it generally works the best.
Your medical provider (or a member of the Nurx medical team) will prescribe progestin for you to take daily starting at least 5-7 days days before your period is scheduled to begin, and instruct you to keep taking it until you are ready to have your period. Typically you will start bleeding 2-3 days after you stop taking the medication.
While starting the medication a week before your period should be fine, it may work even better to start earlier. “If you are able to plan ahead, it’s ideal to begin taking the progesterone right after your period ends, so your uterine lining won’t thicken. Continue taking the medication daily until your vacation, wedding or special event ends, then once you’re ready you stop taking the progesterone and the uterine lining will begin to shed, and you’ll bleed, within a few days,” says Dr. Betty Acker, Ob-Gyn at Nurx.
If you aren’t able to plan in advance, you can still reduce or even stop bleeding once it’s started, though you may need to take a higher dose of progestin. “I have told my patients that they can take Aygestin three times a day to prevent bleeding or spotting as long as they can tolerate the side effects,” says Anila Wahid, MD at Nurx. “Some women find they can take it twice a day to keep from bleeding, and the 3rd dose is like an extra measure to make sure they don’t bleed.” Side effects of progestin can include stomach upset, mood swings and breast swelling and tenderness.
In some situations stopping bleeding is not just a preference but a religious matter. Dr. Wahid helps Muslim women prevent bleeding during the holy pilgrimage known as Hajj. “Aygestin is a safe and fairly reliable treatment to prevent bleeding during the pilgrimage, so that one can focus on their spiritual journey,” she says.
Using Regular Birth Control to Skip Periods
Of course, if you have a month of lead time and you could instead start taking regular combination birth control pills (“combination” contains both estrogen and progesterone) and take them continuously without a placebo week to skip your period, but if it’s your first month you may experience some breakthrough bleeding. Plus, many people want to skip or delay a period without committing to an ongoing birth control prescription.
It’s important to note that taking progesterone to skip your period is not an FDA-approved form of birth control so you should continue to take other measures to prevent pregnancy.
How to Get Progestin to Skip Your Period
If you’re interested in skipping or delaying your period, request birth control through Nurx and when you get to the section of the virtual assessment where we ask for more information, specify that you would like progesterone to skip or delay a period. If medically appropriate, a medical provider from our team can prescribe the medication to be picked up at a pharmacy near you.
However, if you want to skip or delay a period more than very occasionally, you should consider combination birth control, like the combination pill or ring, which allow you to reliably manage your periods while also preventing pregnancy. The Nurx medical team is here to help you find the right prescription for you.
To skip or delay your period, request birth control through Nurx any time.
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.