Woman sitting in her tent on a laptop
Scientifically Reviewed
Home/Cycle Matters / Period & Bleeding

How to Delay your Period

From natural remedies to prescribed medication, in this post, we’re going to look at how to delay your period. We’ll dive into the science behind the methods and how certain types of birth control can help you skip a period altogether. Plus we’ll cover the benefits of getting to know your cycle and how this can help you spot patterns and plan for the future…

How to delay your period naturally 

From lime juice to lentils you don’t have to look far to find anecdotal accounts of natural ways to delay your period. Some people claim that drinking vinegar is a solution to a badly-timed bleed, while others say papaya or parsley works. 

Unfortunately, there is no clinical evidence to suggest that these foods can actually cause your period to be delayed or skipped, and while there may be no harm in trying these methods in moderation, they are not medically recommended.

All is not lost though, if you’re still set on finding a way to postpone your period, there is medication available that can delay your period, and if you’re already taking the birth control pill, there’s a simple way to skip a period altogether! 

How to delay your period for a vacation or other plans

We’ve all been there, sometimes you’re really looking forward to a long-planned vacation, a trip wild camping, or a once-in-a-lifetime event like a wedding, only to find out your period is due right slap bang in the middle of your plans! The good news is that you can take certain medication to delay your period.

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to prescribe a drug called norethisterone. You can start taking these pills a few days before you expect to get your period, and typically you should get your period back a day or two after you stop taking them. Keep in mind that, depending on your medical history, this isn’t an option for everyone. 

Norethisterone is not a birth control method, so keep in mind that if you want to prevent pregnancy, it’s important to also use contraception. Keep in mind that norethisterone can affect the pattern of your menstrual cycle and might not be suitable for those using natural birth control. For example, we do not recommend using norethisterone with Natural Cycles hormone-free birth control, as this may change the length of your cycles and lead to more red (fertile) days.

While delaying your period can seem like a convenient option if you’ve got a big day coming up, keep in mind that there are also potential side effects with taking norethisterone to delay your period. These include:

While norethisterone is generally considered to be safe for most women, if the side effects are unpleasant, you may simply prefer to bite the bullet and prepare for your period instead. 

If you still want to try norethisterone it might be a good idea to do so before the big event, just to see how your body reacts. Talk to your doctor to learn more about how to delay your period with norethisterone.

Can birth control delay your period?

Yes! When using certain birth control methods such as the hormonal IUD, the birth control shot or implant, it’s common not to bleed at all. Others may experience varying levels of spotting throughout the cycle instead.

Oral emergency contraception also known Plan B can also cause your period to be delayed as these pills work by delaying ovulation which in turn can lengthen the menstrual cycle. This may later cause sporadic bleeding as your hormone levels return to normal.

How to skip a period on the pill or ring

Did you know that the bleed you get on the pill isn’t actually a period? It’s called a withdrawal bleed and happens due to the changing levels of hormones in your body that occurs when you stop taking the combined birth control pill - you can delay this bleeding by continually taking hormones.

Instead of taking a break or taking the sugar pills in your packet, simply start the next course of pills. You should get your next bleed when you do stop taking the pill. If you’re using the Nuva or vaginal ring you can do the same thing by simply inserting the new ring and not taking the break in between.

Since there are many different types of birth control out there and all our bodies are different,it’s best to talk to your doctor before you change the way you take your birth control to get the full picture and better understand how it may affect you.

What is breakthrough bleeding?

Breakthrough bleeding is an unexpected bleed that can occur on any type of hormonal birth control. This can happen when you run pill packets together but is also a common side effect of certain contraception, particularly some long-term birth control methods, like the hormonal IUD and implant.

While breakthrough bleeding can be a nuisance, it generally shouldn’t be a health concern. However, if you spot any changes or are worried about breakthrough bleeding or have any other questions about topics in this article, it’s always a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional to learn more.

Stress and the cycle 

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there is a direct link between stress and the menstrual cycle - and if you’re particularly anxious about something it can have a knock-on effect on your cycle causing your period or ovulation to be delayed. While this is never guaranteed it may explain if your period is naturally late around an important date.

Get to know your cycle better

Thanks for reading up on how to delay your period! At Natural Cycles we’re passionate about learning about our bodies whether the topic is menstruation or menopause! Our app is the first of its kind cleared by the FDA for use as birth control in the US and we’re certified in Europe too. 

As well as preventing pregnancy, Natural Cycles is a useful tool for learning the ins and outs of your cycle with period predictions, PMS alerts, and more - so you can get to know your body better and plan around the pattern of your cycle. On top of these useful insights, if and when you’re ready to start a family you can use the app to plan a pregnancy too! Why not find out if Natural Cycles could work for you today?

Did you enjoy reading this article?

Discover Natural Cycles today

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is Natural Cycles’ in-house medical expert. With 10+ years of experience working in the field of fertility, he dedicates the majority of his time to conducting groundbreaking research within the field of women's health.

Featured Posts

Birth Control

A Birth Control App, not a Period Tracking App

4 min read

Birth Control

12 Non-Hormonal Birth Control Methods and How They Work

13 min read

Reproductive Health

Ovulation and Temperature

10 min read

Want to learn more about a hormone-free future?

Subscribe to our newsletter for access to our latest articles, exclusive promotions and more.

Keep reading...

Period & Bleeding

Let's Talk About Period Poop

Do you find yourself rushing to the toilet when you’re on your period? Are you plagued by period diarrhea or do you experience constipation instead? While this may be an uncomfortable subject for some, it’s about time we talked about what’s going with period poop. In this post, we’re going to look at the changes in bowel movements around menstruation, why they happen, and what you can do about them…

6 min read

Period & Bleeding

Yoga for Period Cramps: A Quick Guide

We’ve been there - that pain in your lower abdomen that makes you reach for the hot water bottle. Some people experience it worse than others, and we feel for those of you with debilitating period cramps. For most of us, though, a little gentle exercise usually makes things feel better, not worse. So, if you feel up to it, here are some of the best yoga poses for period cramps to relieve your symptoms and - bonus - calm your mind.

6 min read

Period & Bleeding

What is Menstrual Hygiene Day?

Have you heard of Menstrual Hygiene Day? Don’t worry if not. We’re here to explain it all: what it is, why it’s important, and how, together, we can advocate for it. We’ll also cover period poverty, and why ending the stigma surrounding menstruation is important to us.

6 min read