Is it safe to delay your period through pills?

Health matters on menstruation cycle.

What you need to know:

  • Sex during menstruation is also called period sex. It is important to note that over a third of sexually active women have at one point or another had period sex.
  • While some women don't let menses bother them, others abhor the experience and never repeat it after the first attempt.
  • Joachim Osur: Because the medicines for postponing periods interfere with normal hormone cycles, periods can become irregular after using them.

Prisca's wanted medicine that would push her menses. She was married and her husband worked out of town. They met for only four days a month when Jeremy was off duty.

In their four years of marriage, sex had been erratic. Unlike men, women's sexual desire is cyclic and very much controlled by hormones. In long-distance relationships, the man is not always present when the woman is most desirous of sex. Menstruation does not make matters any better because it comes irrespective of your circumstances.

"So he will arrive on Friday and depart on Monday and my periods will be on," Prisca explained.


Intimacy during menses

She had thought of getting intimate while on her periods but was hesitant. She did not know how Jeremy would take it.

"Menses disrupt things often. I want to push them," she offered.

Sex during menstruation is also called period sex. It is important to note that over a third of sexually active women have at one point or another had period sex. It commonly happens in stable and trusted relationships with someone the woman has developed a level of confidence with. Some do it to demystify the taboo around menstruation while others do it just to explore pleasure.


The experience

While some women don't let menses bother them, others abhor the experience and never repeat it after the first attempt. They do not like the mess of blood. They feel dirty and may develop self-hate out of the experience. They also worry about messing up their partners. The cleaning that has to follow can also be tiring and can be an anti-climax.

Others like to push the envelope. They see it as more exciting and a necessary change from routine. Some men similarly enjoy the adventure while others do not like it.

On the medical side of things, period sex can increase the chances of acquiring infections. It is known that HIV spreads more easily during such instances compared to other times. Other sexually transmitted infections also spread faster.


Bleeding after

Then there is the amount and duration of bleeding after period sex. Studies have shown that periods can be heavier and can take longer. The physiological basis of this is not fully known.

"I think I should just postpone them. Give me the medicine," Prisca says rather rhetorically.

But postponing periods is not an ultimate solution either. Medicines used for postponing periods are normally concentrated progesterone hormones. They make the body temporarily interpret that conception has happened and so the body goes ahead to prepare the uterus for the baby to attach and grow. As such menstrual blood is not released. Instead, a lot more blood is held in the uterus to build a conducive environment for the supposed baby.

When the medicines are stopped, bleeding follows in a day or two. This bleeding, called withdrawal bleeding, can be quite heavy and the loss of blood can destabilize the body.


Normal hormone cycles

Because the medicines for postponing periods interfere with normal hormone cycles, periods can become irregular after using them. The more one uses the medicines the more deranged the periods can become.

"Wow, now postponing periods is also falling off my radar," Prisca says, obviously frustrated by my long explanation.

Ultimately one only has one option to deal with the elephant in the house: resolving the distance problem in the relationship. One possibility is to increase the number of days when you are able to meet. Hopefully, some of the meetings happen at the right time as a few coincide with periods.

Another obvious possibility is to reorganise your lives and move in and stay together. In all these circumstances what matters at the end of the day is what you most value in life. Creating a balance between family life and other life's demands is something to always consider carefully. Whatever the case there will be an opportunity cost. As the saying goes, you cannot have your cake and eat it.


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