What is Norethisterone?
28th May 2019
There are a number of things that a woman’s hormones (namely oestrogen and progesterone) have control over. Pregnancy, vaginal dryness, menopause; the list goes on. But the main thing that everyone knows is controlled by a woman’s hormones is her menstrual cycle.
Your menstrual cycle is your body’s internal calendar, working to roughly a 4 week time slot, that is responsible for ovulation, your opportunity to get pregnant and then your period. But what if one or more of these factors are not convenient? Any woman can tell you that periods are no walk in the park but if you have a holiday, a special event, a sporting event or just a busy week at work, it can really get in the way of your life.
What is Norethisterone?
If you’re ever in a situation where you feel like you need your period like a hole in the head and could really do with delaying it then help is at hand. Norethisterone is a drug that controls, regulates or delays your menstrual cycle, to make sure that you have more freedom. Learn more at what is Norethisterone?.
Norethisterone is a progestogen, which means that it’s a similar substance that mimics the natural hormone, progesterone. This drug works with your body to keep hormone levels artificially high and therefore delay your period.
To understand how Norethisterone works, you must first understand how your period works. Your period is known to occupy the first 7 days of your menstrual cycle. After you have your period, your oestrogen levels start to rapidly climb in preparation for ovulation, which occurs on day 14 of your menstrual cycle (approximately a week after your period). Once ovulation has occurred, your oestrogen levels drop back down to normal and your progesterone levels begin to climb, effectively thickening the lining of your uterus in preparation for a fertilised egg. Your oestrogen levels then creep back up again slightly, to mimic the pattern that progesterone follows, and then both drop back down if the released egg is not fertilised. Both will be back down to normal by day 28 of your menstrual cycle, in time for the whole thing to begin again with your next period and the start of your next menstrual cycle.
So once you know that this happens in your body each month, it’s easier to understand how Norethisterone works. When your progesterone levels start to drop about 5 days before the end of your menstrual cycle, this tells your body that your are not pregnant, the thickened uterus lining is not required and it can get rid of it by way of your period. By taking Norethisterone, your progesterone levels stay artificially high and the process that causes your period does therefore not kick in.
How do I use Norethisterone?
Now you know the various points at which your hormones increase and decrease to cause your periods, it makes sense that in order for Norethisterone to work, you must begin taking it 3 days before your period is due to begin (the same is true of Utovlan, another period delay medicine). For more information about period delay, follow this link. You can continue taking Norethisterone for a total of 20 days, effectively delaying your period for up to 17 days!
This provides women with a viable option if she’s going on her honeymoon, running a marathon or hoping to focus on a big work presentation without the worry of her period surprising her.