Delaying the period

Delaying the period

Dr Sharmaine MITCHELL

Monday, January 18, 2021

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DEAR DR MITCHELL,

I have a question about menstrual delay. I was on the injection for four and a half years but decided to give it a break. Two months after my last shot, my spouse proposed to me and now we are scheduled to get married. I'm worried my period may come on my wedding day. Is there any way I could delay it till after the wedding?

The contraceptive injection that is commonly used is either the monthly preparation called Mesigyna or the preparation called Depo Provera (Medroxyprogesterone acetate). The Depo Provera is the one that is more widely available and more frequently used. It is a progesterone-only contraceptive injection that is given every ninety days. It is extremely effective as a contraception and has the additional benefit of reducing menstrual bleeding with most women having no menstrual periods when they are on it for at least a year.

In the first year of its usage there tends to a be breakthrough bleeding resulting in irregular bleeding from the vagina in between injections. This bleeding is usually a light flow, but in some rare cases it can sometimes be prolonged and heavy. The irregular bleeding can be controlled by giving the next dose of the Depo Provera before the 90 days, or by the use of progesterone or oestrogen preparations to control the bleeding.

In women under 40, the use of the oral contraceptive pill is extremely effective in controlling the irregular vaginal bleeding that is associated with the use of the Depo Provera injection. Any of the low dose preparations can be used with a good outcome.

If your menstrual period is predicted to start at the time of your wedding based on when you took the contraceptive injection, then you can start a pack of low dose pills and take one every day until after the wedding. Once you stop the contraceptive pills then your menstrual period will return. There is sometimes a delay in the return of the menstrual period after the Depo Provera injection has passed the 90 days. The absence of the period does not mean that you have any protection against an unwanted pregnancy so you should use a back-up method until you are ready for a baby.

It is important that you consult your doctor to ensure that the oral contraceptive pill is not contraindicated in your case before using it. If you have contraindications to the use of the pills, then requesting an additional injection of the Depo Provera is a perfectly safe option.

Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding.

Best regards.

Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or fax to 876-968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.

DISCLAIMER:

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to medical advice or treatment from your own doctor.


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