Let’s face it, periods can be highly inconvenient at times for women who experience unbearable cramps or debilitatingly heavy flow, especially when they start right before an important meeting or a trip of a lifetime. On such occasions, a period-delaying pill also called a period suppressant, can be a life saviour.
Talking to the team of OnlyMyHealth, Dr Sonamm Tiwari, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, elucidated about period delaying pills that can rid you of the burden of ill-timed periods.
How Does Period Delaying Pills Work?
As per the study ‘Prevalence of menstrual pain in young women’ by the Journal of Pain Research, at least one in four women experience distressing menstrual pain characterised by a need for medication and absenteeism from study or social activities. This makes the awareness surrounding period delaying pills the need of the hour.
Dr Tiwari informed us that period-delaying pills are progesterone pills available under different brand names. “The menstrual cycle physically changes the uterus. In the second phase of the cycle, after the uterus lining has been built up, the inner uterine lining gets ready to help support a pregnancy or to break down for menstruation. The progesterone hormone aids this phase. Progesterone supports early pregnancy if the sperm fertilises the egg. If you don't conceive, progesterone will drop, causing the uterine lining to shed because of the hormone withdrawal,” she added.
The period-delaying pills are usually taken four to five days before your expected period date until you want to postpone your periods, not letting the progesterone hormone drop and, therefore, not allowing the uterine lining to shed and bleed.
How Safe Are Period Delaying Pills?
Dr Tiwari shared that period-delaying pills are effective and safe with proper medical consultation. However, since period-delaying pills are hormonal, making it a habit to consume these pills can hamper the natural period cycle.
“Often consumption of progesterone tablets can cause irregular periods, and unless a gynaecologist has prescribed it, avoid using these pills,” added Dr Tiwari, informing that the delayed periods can also be painful due to excess progesterone. Consumers often experience bloating, acne, mood swings, breast tenderness, reduced sex drive, constipation, nausea, and irregular vaginal bleeding if the tablets are not taken on time.
Dr Tiwari also warned that period-delaying pills are not contraceptives and cannot be used to prevent pregnancy. Therefore, verifying that there is no pregnancy before consuming these tablets is essential, as these hormones can affect the baby's development.
She also relayed that a woman is expected to bleed five to seven days after stopping the pills, so if you do not experience bleeding within that time, consult a doctor immediately.
The Truth about Period Delaying Pills
Period-delaying pills can offer comfort and convenience if taken responsibly. While they come with some risks, most users' safety profile remains favourable. However, these pills should never be consumed without an appropriate prescription from a trusted gynaecologist, as these pills are prescribed based on a woman's body weight, menstrual cycle, reproductive problems, or allergies to hormonal medicines.