Health Question:
Can I change the date of my period?


I have heard that it is possible to change the date of my period by altering the way I take my pills. I am getting married in 3 months and am due to get my period on the honeymoon. I would like to delay it for a couple of days if this is possible. Is there any way to do this without reducing the pill's effectiveness? I would appreciate your comments.

Birth control pills are set up on a 4 week cycle -- one pack of pills for every 4 weeks. Starting on a Sunday is arbitrary, but easy to remember. The last (4th) week of pills are non-hormonal. When you take the last week's worth of pills, (or if you stop taking pills) then "withdrawal" bleeding occurs. This is not the same as a regular period. It is caused by the sudden drop of hormones.

To alter the date of your period, causing it to occur one week later than you currently expect, you should continue taking hormone pills for an extra week, then switch to the non-hormonal week. To do this you need an extra pack of pills.

Some women, especially athletes, never stop taking hormone pills. They just take them continuously. You could do this too -- and not have any periods. You would need to keep close track of packages of pills to be sure you always had enough. Each pack would last only 3 weeks instead of 4. When you want to have a period, stop taking the hormonal pills - but only for one week, then go back to the hormonal pills in order to be protected from pregnancy.

IMPORTANT: If you go more than 7 days without hormone pills, you need a backup method of birth control.

Also, some women who have tried to alter their periods have had unexpected spotting. To affect your cycle 3 months from now, it would be good to start now with changing your pill-taking now and give your body time to adjust.

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