Having a period at any time is an inconvenience for most women, but if it coincides with a holiday, then it can be even more frustrating than usual. Tablets are available to avoid this problem, conveniently delaying your period for your holiday, so that it’s one less thing to worry about while you’re away.

Some holiday destinations may not have the sanitary conditions you would like for regular tampon or towel changes, or daily showers. Many countries have inadequate toilet facilities, making it challenging to manage your personal hygiene. Rather than risking discomfort, unpleasant odours or even infection, it would be much simpler to delay your period while you are travelling.

If you’re planning a particularly active holiday, full of physical exertion like rock climbing, skiing, cycling or even lots of walking, you are likely to enjoy it much more without the cramps and discomfort associated with menstruation.

Even a relaxing beach break could be more fun without a period, as you may feel less self-conscious in your bathing suit, and you can enjoy swimming in the sea or pool without worrying about tampons.

Holidays often include long days out and about: exploring, shopping, and soaking in the sights. Having a period could make this more tiring, and may limit your choices for big outings, for example, would you have access to a toilet every few hours while on safari?

When you’ve worked hard for your holiday and spent so long looking forward to it, it would be a shame to let Mother Nature spoil your break with abdominal pain, hormonal stress, and the inconvenience of regular toilet trips.

What Are Period Delay Tablets?

Delaying your period for your holiday is possible with period delay tablets. They temporarily put your cycle ‘on hold’, so that you can enjoy your break without the inconvenience of menstruation.

The period delay tablets use a type of synthetic progestogen hormone called Norethisterone to achieve the period delay. Period delay tablets are sold under their generic name Norethisterone or the brand name Utovlan manufactured by Pfizer. Both medications contain Norethisterone 5mg as the active ingredient.

Where Can I Get Norethisterone (Utlovan)?

You can get Norethisterone by filling in a quick online consultation to be reviewed by one of the doctors at DrFelix, a convenient online doctor and pharmacy. It is a prescription medicine, so you will need to answer a few important questions to ensure that Norethisterone is safe for you to take. If appropriate, the doctor will issue a prescription that is dispensed from our NHS accredited pharmacy, and sent to you in plain discreet packaging.

Who Can’t Take Norethisterone?

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take the drug. Women with a history of thrombosis, liver problems, breast cancer or unexplained vaginal bleeding or spotting are not able to take this medication either. Norethisterone is to be used with caution in women with asthma, migraines, kidney problems, heart problems or epilepsy.

When Do You Start Taking Norethisterone?

You will typically begin taking the tablets three days before your period is due to start. You will take three pills a day, each containing 5mg of Norethisterone.

Taking Combined Oral Contraceptives to Delay Your Period

Women already taking the combined oral contraceptive pill may find it easier and cheaper to simply take two packs back to back, without the recommended 7-day break between them. This method will also delay your period until you have your next 7-day break.

Is Norethisterone a Contraceptive?

Norethisterone is not a contraceptive pill. It interferes with the hormone that initiates your period; it does not have any effect upon conception. 

How Long Can You Take Period Delay Tablets For?

Generally speaking, you will be able to use Norethisterone to delay your period by 10 to 20 days.

Are There Any Side Effects to Utovlan (Norethisterone)?

Side effects are uncommon, especially in short courses of the tablet. Still, you may experience headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, stomach or digestive problems, changes in sex drive, dizziness or fatigue.

As with any medicine, it is important to watch out for serious side effects. If you notice signs of the following, stop taking the tablets immediately and seek medical attention:

Allergic reaction (rash, swelling, itchiness, difficulty breathing)
Symptoms of thrombosis (sharp chest pain; shortness of breath; any localised numbness; sharp pain and / or hot, swollen area of leg or foot)

How Long Until Your Period Returns?

Your period should return within three days of ending the course of tablets. If it has not started within this time, see your GP to rule out pregnancy.

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