By Betty Acker, MD, OB-GYN at Nurx
So you’ve been planning your ideal wedding for months, maybe years. You have the location, the dress, the partner for life. But as the big day draws near you may realize you forgot about one important detail: Your period will be the worst of uninvited guests. Luckily, there are two ways you can make menstruation a no-show. As an OB-GYN at Nurx, I frequently help patients keep their periods from taking some fun out of the vacations and big events.
#1 Plan Ahead with Birth Control
If you already use a form of birth control containing both estrogen and progestin you can manipulate the timing of a period fairly easily. The sooner you start this process the better, because it works better when you have a few months to plan ahead.
How it works: If you take combination birth control pills, skip the placebo days at the end of your pack and go straight into the next pack of active pills. Ideally, skip the period the month before your wedding as well as the period due to arrive around your wedding day. Similarly, if you use the ring, you skip the week when the ring is left out (you can actually just leave your ring in that extra week because it has plenty of effective hormones for four weeks of use). If you are using the patch, skip the week without a patch and place another active fresh patch on, so that you use four in a row instead of three.
#2 Take Progestin as Needed
If you aren’t on hormonal birth control and don’t want to start, you can take progestin (a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone) to prevent period bleeding until you’re ready. By taking a progestin daily, you stop the trigger that signals the body to shed the lining of your uterus. Think of it as using the progestin keep lining stable until a better time for a period.
At Nurx we prescribe a type progestin called Norethindrone Acetate for this purpose (although there are other options to choose from) and have patients start taking it a few days prior to whenever their period is due to begin. We prescribe it twice a day to start, but if any breakthrough bleeding occurs the dose can be increased to 3 times a day. From there you keep taking the medicine until it is convenient for you to get your period. Once you stop the medication your period may start within a few hours or a few days (it’s a bit unpredictable).
If you still have a few months before your wedding, you can even do a trial run of this period delay method to see how it goes. Keep in mind that hormones can be unpredictable and there is no guarantee that it will work the same each time you try it. An important thing to remember is that Norethindrone Acetate is not a contraceptive and should not be relied on for pregnancy prevention.
Now that you know your options let us help you proceed with the method that will work best for you. Remember to enjoy your day with one less thing to worry about – and best wishes to you for a happy and healthy life together.