Drugs Q & A

Can You Take Metronidazole Pills While On Your Period?

Menstruation is the shedding of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) accompanied by bleeding. It occurs in approximately monthly cycles throughout a woman’s reproductive life, except during pregnancy. Menstruation starts during puberty (at menarche) and stops permanently at menopause.

By definition, the menstrual cycle begins with the first day of bleeding, which is counted as day 1. The cycle ends just before the next menstrual period. Menstrual cycles normally range from about 25 to 36 days. Only 10 to 15% of women have cycles that are exactly 28 days. Also, in at least 20% of women, cycles are irregular. That is, they are longer or shorter than the normal range. Usually, the cycles vary the most and the intervals between periods are longest in the years immediately after menstruation starts (menarche) and before menopause.

Regular periods can vary. If your regular cycle is 28 days and you still have not had your period on day 29, your period is officially considered late. Likewise, if your regular cycle is 32 days and you still have not menstruated on day 33, this would be late for you.  Missed or late periods happen for many reasons other than pregnancy. Common causes can range from hormonal imbalances to serious medical conditions. There are also two times in a woman’s life when it’s totally normal for her period to be irregular: when it first begins, and when menopause starts.

What is Metronidazole?

Metronidazole more commonly known by the brand name Flagyl is an antibiotic that is used to treat a wide variety of infections. It works by stopping the growth of certain bacteria and parasites. This antibiotic treats only certain bacterial and parasitic infections. It will not work for viral infections (such as the common cold, flu). Using any antibiotic when it is not needed can cause it to not work for future infections. Metronidazole may also be used with other medications to treat certain stomach/intestinal ulcers caused by a bacteria (H. pylori).

How should metronidazole be used?

Metronidazole comes as a tablet, an extended-release tablet, and as a capsule to take by mouth. Metronidazole capsules and tablets are usually taken as a one-time dose (or divided into two doses on 1 day) or two to four times daily for up to 10 days or longer. Metronidazole extended-release tablets are usually taken once daily at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal for 7 days. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take metronidazole exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.

Continue to take this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking it without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking this medication too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.

Can You Take Metronidazole Pills While On Your Period

Can You Take Metronidazole Pills While On Your Period?

Yes, you take metronidazole pills during menstruation, if you started treatment before your period, continue taking the medication until you complete the duration of treatment.

Metronidazole is very effective if taken correctly. For example, trichomoniasis is usually treated quickly and easily with antibiotics. In the treatment of trichomoniasis the most common curable STD affecting men and women, your doctor or healthcare provider may prescribe metronidazole.

Stopping the medication because your period started will prevent the infection from being treated completely and an incomplete dosage may lead to resistance in bacteria against metronidazole. Antibiotics like metronidazole should be taken consistently for 7 to 14 days. In some cases, shorter treatments work just as well. Your doctor will decide the best length of treatment for you.

Metronidazole does not lead to changes in your menstrual cycle, and there’s no scientific evidence to back anecdotal claims that it does. In fact, scientific studies have shown that antibiotics don’t cause a delay or change to your period.

Metronidazole side effects

Metronidazole may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

•          vomiting

•          nausea

•          diarrhea

•          constipation

•          upset stomach

•          stomach cramps

•          loss of appetite

•          headache

•          dry mouth

•          sharp, unpleasant metallic taste

•          furry tongue; mouth or tongue irritation

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

•          numbness, pain, burning, or tingling in your hands or feet

•          seizures

•          rash

•          itching

•          hives

•          peeling or blistering skin

•          flushing

•          stuffy nose, fever, sore throat, or other signs of infection

•          joint pain

•          dizziness

•          difficulty speaking

•          problems with coordination

•          confusion

•          agitation

Metronidazole may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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