Tuesday, 7 March 2017

My Experience With Norethisterone (The Period Delay Pill)

Periods. They can be a bit of a neaucence at times. Whether it's for health reasons or purely the impracticality, I'm sure more people who have periods will agree that at times, it'd be pretty handy to just have an on-off switch. Last month, ahead of city break to Dublin, I visited my GP to discuss what I could take for my fear of fighting. While I was there, she prescribed me some medication but also suggested that maybe being due my period while I was away would heighten my anxiety and recommended that I looked into Norethisterone, commonly known as the period delay pill.

I'm very fortunate with my periods. I started around the age of 13 and aside from the odd bit of back pain, hormonal spot or cry for no obvious reason, me and my period get on pretty well. It comes at almost exactly the same date each cycle, lasts roughly the same amount of days and doesn't cause me any massive or long term discomfort or health affects. So when the doctor suggested this, I was torn. On one hand, I've got a good thing going, do I really want to mess with that for something that isn't strictly necessary? But on the other, my body & my period are consistent and I've never really taken contraceptive medication for any real length of time, so maybe I was worrying over nothing. After reading up on it (which there's really really isn't much on, hence this post!), I decided to try it. I've been really scared of flying for years so anything that could help, I thought was worth a try and as this was just a short trip rather than a long holiday away, this seemed like a good time to try it for if i ever wanted to use it again in the future.

Norethisterone is availlabe from Boots, Superdrug, Co-Op Healthcare Online & Lloyds Pharmacy and of course, via your GP. I personally opted for Lloyds Pharmacy but mostly just for convenience. It's available from Lloyds Pharmacy in 2 doses, 7 days worth for £24.99 and 17 days worth for £28.95. I opted for 17 days. You apply online, filling out a few standard health questions - height, weight, allergies, that sort of thing. From there, an online doctor assesses your answers and then emails to either confirm or deny if they have authorised your prescription. On approval, you pay online and book when and where you will collect your dose from. When I went to pick up the prescription, I had my height, weight and blood pressure taken but was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't asked any other questions such as why I wanted to delay my period or  about my sex life etc. If for any reason they decide it isn't suitable for you, they refund your order then and there.

The pills themselves are tiny, only about 3 or 4 millimetres. The pamphlet inside only says you've to take 3 a day but didn't actually same when or how (after food, with water etc.) so I thought it best to take them roughly 6 hours apart at approximately 9am, 3pm and 9pm. That's purely guess work though but it seemed to work for me.

Although I had 17 days worth, I only actually took it for about a week in total, meaning I still have more than the same again if ever I should want to use it again in the future. In terms of stopping my period and helping with my flying anxiety, Norethisterone did work a treat and I can't fault it from those points of view. I didn't experience any physical side effects at all and my period that followed was as normal.

However, in taking Norethisterone to help with one mental health issue, anxiety due to my fear of flying, it really messed with another, my depression. While I was taking it, I was fine, no major issues or effects on my overall piece of mind, but within a day of coming off it, I felt so so unbelievably low. My first day off of it just so happened to be my birthday, which I spent feeling so empty and lonely, despite being with my nearest and dearest, enjoying lovely presents, cake and lots of yummy food. After coming off Norethisterone, your period typically arrives within 3 days (which was pretty much spot on for me) but those three days and for the duration of my period, I felt lower than ever and constantly tearful and mentally exhausted.

Overall, I don't regret trying Norethisterone and it did to the trick in delaying my period seamlessly. However, the mental side effects of it just weren't worth it for me and in future, I'd rather deal with the heightened anxiety than the steep comedown from coming off it. 

Any questions about trying out Norethisterone, feel free to ask away :)

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