If your period’s about to get in the way of a big event or occasion, find out what you can do to help delay it

Having a period can be annoying for some women, especially if they’ve got something exciting around the corner – such as a wedding, a long-haul flight to an exotic destination or a music festival. It’s times like these when some women choose to delay their period for a short time.

What can I take to delay my period?

It's possible to delay your period by taking a medicine that contains the synthetic hormone, norethisterone. Norethisterone is a prescription-only medicine available as a generic or as a branded medicine. 

One of the branded versions of norethisterone is called Utovlan. You can access Utovlan through the Boots Period Delay Online Clinic* if you’re aged between 16 and 54 and aren’t currently taking the contraceptive pill or any other form of hormonal contraception (other eligibility criteria apply). 

You’ll need to have an online consultation and answer a few questions. One of our clinicians will review your answers and, if the medicine’s suitable for you, you’ll be able to choose from a range of delivery options. 

If you’re 55 or over, are still having your periods and want to delay them, speak to your GP. You should also speak to your GP if you’re currently taking the contraceptive pill and are considering postponing your period.

How should I take Utovlan?

You should take Utovlan (norethisterone) three times a day, starting three days before your period’s due. You should keep taking Utovlan (norethisterone) until you’re ready to have your period, up to a maximum of 17 days in total. Your period will usually arrive within three days after you stop taking the tablets.

Be aware that Utovlan (norethisterone) is not a contraceptive, so you’ll need to use some form of contraception, such as a condom.

Utovlan works better for some women in delaying periods than others. 

How does Utovlan work?

Levels of the female hormone progesterone change throughout the menstrual cycle. A few days before your period, your progesterone levels naturally fall, leading to your womb lining shedding as a period. 

Utovlan contains norethisterone, a synthetic version of progesterone. By artificially keeping progesterone levels up, this stops the lining of the womb from coming away and your period is delayed.

Who is Utovlan suitable for?

Utovlan (norethisterone) isn’t suitable for everyone. If you've had blood clots or have liver or heart problems, then you shouldn’t take Utovlan (norethisterone). An online clinician or a GP will always check if the medicine is suitable for you, before they prescribe it.

What are the possible side effects to taking Utovlan?

There may be some side effects to taking Utovlan, but not everyone will get them.
These include:

• Bloating

• Breast tenderness
• Nausea
• Headache
• Mood swings
• Loss of sex drive

Read the patient information leaflet for the full list of side effects. If you experience any severe side effects, stop taking Utovlan immediately and see your doctor straight away. 

Alternative ways to delay my period

Speak to your doctor if you’d like to know more about other options to help delay your period, or if you’re taking the contraceptive pill. You may be able to delay your period if you’re taking the combined contraceptive pill, by following specific instructions depending on the type of contraceptive pill you use.

*Subject to availability and clinician approval. Charges apply. You must be 16 or over to use this service.