About 6 weeks before flying out to Santorini for our wedding I did a bit of period math and came to the annoying realisation that I would be due smack bang in the middle of the holiday.
As I have the mirena coil, my periods are generally fairly light and relatively pain free these days but I wasn’t overly keen to have my period for such a special trip so I considered my options. As I’m not on the contraceptive pill, running the packets on was not an option for me. I’d heard people talking about Norethisterone on the Facebook brides page I was on, so I looked into it online and booked an appointment with my doctor to see if I could be prescribed it.
I was given the tablets without any hassle – it would appear lots of girls resort to using them for similar reasons, as well as those who require them, longer term for medical issues. I was advised to start taking the tablets 3 days prior to our flight out to Santorini. Side effects weren’t really discussed, and I felt that it was a little too easy to get hold of.
I actually forgot to start taking them until we were on our way up to Gatwick, the day before we flew, and the day my period was due. I debated not taking them as, after doing more of my own research, I read a few horror stories about the after effects and girls that had experienced horrendous bloating and cramping whilst taking the tablets as well. I was also doubtful they would work with me starting them late.
Ultimately I decided to give them a go. If they didn’t work then c’est la vie. As it turned out, the tablets did work, and I remained period free for the duration of our trip, and for the wedding itself. I did experience a little cramping at times, but this was mild and no different to how I would feel in the days leading up to my period usually.
After we flew back, I had a few tablets remaining so I continued taking them until they ran out, around four days later. It was at this point that I started experiencing the most intense cramps I’ve had since being in labour with the kids. It honestly felt like I was having contractions all over again and I was doubled over in pain most of the day for the next two days, when I started bleeding.
The blood flow was fairly heavy, and I was still in quite a bit of pain. Fortunately the bleeding stopped after only a few days, but I then found it continued to stop/start for a further week.
A month on, my period was delayed by 10 days, leading to Ed and I becoming concerned I might be pregnant. Eventually my period came, but it was once again incredibly heavy compared to how it had been before taking the tablets, and it was once more stop/start, lasting for longer than usual.
It’s been incredibly frustrating to not know what to expect, after my periods only recently settled following the mirena coil being fitted back in January. If I were given the chance to go back, I’m not sure I would take the tablets. It would have been less hassle to just have my light period whilst in Santorini.
If you are considering taking Norethisterone I would encourage you to do your own research, and to consider not only the effects of the tablets whilst taking them, but the possible after effects as well, before deciding whether to take them.
Everybody’s body reacts differently to medication but ultimately these tablets are stopping nature, and that’s bound to cause some complications, no matter how small, down the line.