Postpone the Period (Women Divers Only)

By Mia Aristanti (October 2, 2003)

As women divers, there are times in our lives when we kick ourselves on the bum for having our period during a diving trip. There are times when we schedule a trip with our friends and loved ones, then freeze in front of our calendars and think, "dang, it will be on that time of the month." And no, I'm not talking about the sharks (actually, according to an article in Divers Alert Network, there are no data to support the belief that menstruating females are at an increased risk for shark attacks). I'm talking about the inconvenience, the mess, the whole lot to deal with and think of. And because some women have heavy and painful periods, tampon only offers little, if any, consolation. Hence more and more women prefer to postpone their menstruation with aid of medicines. The one we're going to discuss here is Primolut.

The medicine

Primolut N, also known as Aygestin in USA, is used to treat irregular, painful or heavy periods. It is also used in the treatment of endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome, and to delay periods. Manufactured by Schering AG, Germany, it contains 5 mg norethisterone on each tablet. The monthly bleeding can be advanced or postponed if particular circumstances require this; however, please note that this medication remains restricted to those cases in which there is NO POSSIBILITY OF EARLY PREGNANCY in the cycle concerned.

How to take Primolut N to alter the timing of menstruation

The recommended dosage is 1 tablet of Primolut N 3 times daily for not longer than 10-14 days, beginning about 3 days before the expected menstruation. Bleeding will occur 2-3 days after having stopped medication. For example, the estimated date of your next period is on the 15th, and the diving trip is scheduled for the 16th for, say, 2 days. You can start taking the medicine daily during the period of 12th to 17th (6 days). The actual period will occur on 19th or 20th.

Reasons for not taking Primolut N

You should not take this medicine if any of the following apply to you:

  1. You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.

  2. You have (or are recovering from) a liver disease and the blood tests of liver function have not yet returned to normal.

  3. You have certain types of jaundice (Dubin-Johnson or Rotor syndromes).

  4. You have (or have ever had) liver tumours.

  5. You have blood clots in the legs, lungs, eyes or elsewhere, or have any medical condition which makes you more at risk of developing clots.


Side effects

Like the case of any medication, it is wise to be cautious. Side effects that have been reported (albeit rarely happens) include slight nausea, a worsening of epilepsy and migraine. At much higher doses, changes in the normal function of the liver have been reported. Should any of these problems arise, consult your physician immediately.