Utovlan is a prescription medication used by women to delay the onset of a period. It is the branded version of the generic period delay pill Norethisterone. The active ingredient contained in Utovlan is the hormone ‘norethisterone’ – a synthetic version of the naturally occurring sex hormone ‘progesterone’. Utovlan period delay tablets are taken three days prior to the start of your menstrual cycle, until the course is completed. A woman’s period will usually resume three days after completing the course.
Utovlan period delay tablets require a prescription, which can be obtained when you buy Utovlan online through The Independent Pharmacy using our online doctor consultation service. It is not available over the counter. Our simple health questionnaire takes just a few minutes to complete, and we offer same-day UK dispatch on all orders placed before 4pm with tracked delivery and plain packaging.
What is Utovlan used for?
Utovlan pills contain norethisterone: a hormone that postpones the start of your period should you wish to skip it while on holiday or for any other reason. It belongs to a group of medicines known as ‘progestogens’, which mimic the female hormone progesterone. Utovlan is used to delay your next period, but may also be used to treat, manage or relieve:
- Heavy, painful or irregular periods
- Premenstrual tension (PMT)
- Breast cancer
When Utovlan is taken to delay a period, the norethisterone keeps progesterone levels high, which prevents your period from starting as it usually would. Please note: Utovlan is not a contraceptive pill, so patients are advised to use other forms of protection if they wish to avoid getting pregnant.
Why delay your period?
Periods are healthy and a normal part of being a woman. However, there may be occasions where the timing isn’t ideal, and you’d rather it didn’t arrive when it was due. For instance, you may be about to go on holiday, or planning to wear a light-coloured dress. Most women have experienced an occasion at some point in their lives where they’ve thought about delaying their period for the sake of convenience. And in terms of reasoning, there are no strict criteria that prevent you asking your doctor for period delay medication like Utovlan.
If you’re thinking of delaying your period, ask yourself why you want to delay it, and for how long. Utovlan is designed for one-off, occasional use to postpone your period – not for preventing periods altogether. If you’re trying to delay your period simply because it’s too painful to handle, this is a sign you should visit your doctor.
We don’t recommend ‘alternative’ means of delaying your period – such as drinking gelatin or vinegar – since there’s no evidence that either option works.
How long does Utovlan delay your period for?
You can use Utovlan to delay your period for up to 17 days. You can buy the following quantities for Utovlan online from The Independent Pharmacy:
- 30 tablets (1 box) - up to 7 days period delay
- 60 tablets (2 boxes) - up to 17 days period delay
We do not recommend delaying your period for longer than 17 days using Utovlan.
Can I use Utolvan with my contraceptive pill?
We don't normally recommend using Utovlan to delay your period if you are also taking the contraceptive pill. For more information on using your contraceptive pill to skip or delay your period, see our Period Delay information page.
What are the female sex hormones and what do they do?
The following hormones are responsible for women’s menstrual cycle:
Oestrogen – Estrogen is responsible for building up the uterine lining, ready for a fertilized egg. If the woman doesn’t get pregnant, then her cycle will continue, and her estrogen levels will decrease. As it does so, the lining will start to shed.
Follicle-stimulating hormone – Made in the pituitary gland, this hormone prepares the follicles for ovulation every month. While it may prepare several, one will continue to grow. When it ruptures, the egg is released.
Luteinizing hormone – This hormone is responsible for releasing the egg from the ovary – the moment of ovulation.
Progesterone – This hormone is produced by the ruptured follicle from which the egg was released. After release, the follicle closes and starts to secrete progesterone – often leading to a rise in body temperature. If no pregnancy occurs, progesterone (and estrogen) levels drop, and menstruation follows.
As a synthetic form of progesterone, taking Utovlan means the womb lining is maintained until the treatment is stopped, thereby delaying the onset of your period.
Norethisterone as a hormonal replacement therapy
In addition to its use as a period delay medication, Norethisterone can also be used as a hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) when taken in combination with estrogen. HRT replaces the hormones that a woman's body stops producing naturally when she enters the menopause, which can alleviate some of the troublesome symptoms.
HRT most commonly involves taking a combination of estrogen and progesterone (combined HRT), since this option is safer than taking estrogen on its own (linked to an increased risk of endometrial cancer). Oestrogen-only HRT may be recommended for women who have had a hysterectomy.
The Independent Pharmacy does not prescribe Utovlan for HRT. You can see our HRT treatments here.
What else can cause a missed period?
A missed period on occasion is not usually cause for concern. While it can be a sign of early pregnancy, it may also be caused by stress, extreme exercise, weight loss, low body fat, or a hormonal imbalance. Periods can also start to become irregular when the menopause starts. In rare cases, a missed period can be a sign of something more serious, like ovarian cancer. Speak to your doctor if you are worried.
Bear in mind too that Utovlan is not a form of contraception, so while taking it, you will still need to protect yourself against pregnancy using another method.