Vacations and Periods: What You Can Do

Every year when vacation season starts, I always get that same question:  “How do I keep from having my period on vacation?”  And there is an answer for most women--it may be easier than you think!

Timing your period with the pill

Birth control pills enable the easiest way to manipulate the timing of your period.  There are two different ways to approach this.

The first way is to simply take the first 3 weeks of your pills continuously (skipping the last week of pills) through 2 packs of pills.  This enables you to skip your period completely that month.  However, I find the risk with this is that some women will have breakthrough bleeding during the vacation.

The second way is to actually modify (or move) the week that you experience your period.  I recommend that you try to plan a few months in advance so that it’s taken care of by the time you go on vacation.  You’ll need the straight forward monthly pills (none of the 3 month versions).  If you aren’t already taking a birth control pill, you’ll need to call your provider and get a prescription (making sure you are a candidate for pills).  Then take these steps a couple of months before vacation:

  • Start your pack of new pills.
  • Take the first 3 weeks of that pack.
  • Do not take the last week of that pack (keep the pack).  Instead start a brand new pack.
  • Take 1 to 2 weeks of pills from the new pack (depending on how many weeks you want to delay your period).  Put the left over pills away in case you want to do this again!
  • Go back to the first pack and take the last week of pills.
  • Then start another brand new pack and take as directed from then on through vacation.
  • Voilà--you have a period that’s a week or two later. 

Either way, your provider will need to help you out with a prescription for the extra pack of pills and you may need to pay out of pocket since “moving period for vacation” isn’t usually a covered expense on most insurance plans.  And always verify that you are a candidate for safe pill use!  But that’s a later discussion.

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