Is it good to delay your periods?


To delay your period once in a blue moon is just about okay, but to practice this often is not the wisest of choices for your health. Delaying your periods is not something which is to be practised in a routine as there can be some ill-effects if it’s done frequently.

There are a few situations when you may choose to voluntarily postpone your next period e.g., if you’re getting married, on your honeymoon or on a pilgrimage and have a religious event planned. It could even be a sporting event, you may need to undergo a minor surgery or have an important exam where you don’t want to have the hassle of your period, and think it’s best to delay.

Technically speaking, one can do anything during periods — from sex to swimming. However, sometimes, the associated cramps, bloating and mood swings become reason enough to avoid it. In addition, menstrual bleeding is sometimes just simply inconvenient.

In such cases, it may be possible to postpone the impending period by a few days if it is planned in time. Certain medicines if started 4-5 days before the expected period and continued till menses are desired are helpful. Once the event is over, the medication can be stopped and periods will resume in a few days. Usually, there is no ill-effect on the subsequent normal cycle or fertility of a woman.

Women who are already on contraceptive pills can just continue with a new pack without a break and take tablets until they wish to delay the cycle.

However, some side-effects are relatively common and can include mood disturbances and acne-like skin eruptions. Women should be counselled about these possible reactions. About 10 percent of women may experience breakthrough bleeding (bleeding or spotting between periods). Dr Suneeta Mittal, director & HOD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, shares some information on the cases when it might be worth considering:

*A physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to use sanitary napkins or tampons

* A condition worsened by menstruation, such as endometriosis or anaemia

* Breast tenderness, bloating or mood swings in the seven to 10 days before period

* Heavy, prolonged, frequent or painful periods

In such cases, sometimes, extended cycle pills are used.

Delaying periods occasionally for social responsibility is safe under medical supervision. There are several options and women need to know options and any potential risks or side-effects associated with each treatment so that they make a conscious decision. It is contraindicated in women with disturbance of liver function and history of thrombo-embolic disease. Thrombo-embolic risk increases in women taking long haul flights or prolonged road journey. A woman should also be aware that delaying periods will not offer contraceptive protection.