Menopause When Youre On Birth Control
Thereâs no test to tell if youâve gone through menopause yet or not. The best way to tell is through your period.
Youâve most likely gone through menopause if youâre over 50 years old and havenât had a period in more than 1 year, or if youâre under 50 years old and havenât had a period in more than 2 years. But you may not be able to tell if youâve reached menopause if youâre still on birth control.
Hormonal birth control may hide some of the symptoms of menopause, such as an abnormal period, hot flashes, or night sweats. If you take combination pills , even after menopause, you may continue to bleed similarly to how you would on your period. This can make it hard to tell if youâve gone through menopause and whether youâre still able to get pregnant.
When To See A Gp
It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.
How Will Menopause Affect Me
Symptoms of menopause may begin suddenly and be very noticeable, or they may be very mild at first. Symptoms may happen most of the time once they begin, or they may happen only once in a while. Some women notice changes in many areas. Some menopausal symptoms, such as moodiness, are similar to symptoms of premenstrual syndrome . Others may be new to you. For example:
- Your menstrual periods may not come as regularly as before. They also might last longer or be shorter. You might skip some months. Periods might stop for a few months and then start up again.
- Your periods might be heavier or lighter than before.
- You might have hot flashes and problems sleeping.
- You might experience mood swings or be irritable.
- You might experience vaginal dryness. Sex may be uncomfortable or painful.
- You may have less interest in sex. It may take longer for you to get aroused.
Other possible changes are not as noticeable. For example, you might begin to lose bone density because you have less estrogen. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Changing estrogen levels can also raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Talk to your doctor about possible treatment for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.
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How Will I Know If I Am Starting The Transition To Menopause
Sometimes it can be hard for you and your doctor to tell whether you are in perimenopause, the transition to menopause:
- Symptoms: Tell your doctor or nurse about any menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes or trouble sleeping.
- Irregular periods: Track your periods. Irregular periods may be your first sign of menopause.
- Hormone levels: Your doctor may test the amount of hormones in your blood if your periods stopped at an early age . Doctors dont usually recommend this test unless there is a medical reason to do so. This is because, for most women, hormone levels go up and down in an unpredictable way during the transition to menopause. So it is difficult to tell for sure whether you have gone through menopause or are getting close to it based on this blood test.
Women After 50 Can Have Safe Pregnancy
But They Have More C-sections, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure
Nov. 12, 2002 — As the years pass and technology improves, the barrier to pregnancy gets pushed farther and farther back. It used to be thought that women shouldn’t get pregnant over the age of 40. Today, 50-something women and their doctors wonder if it is safe to push that barrier even farther.
“There is no medical reason” not to, said Richard J. Paulson, MD, in a news conference today. Chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and fertility at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, he is also the lead investigator on a study that appears in the Nov. 13 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study of women aged 50 to 63, all of whom were postmenopausal, revealed an increased number of complications, but nothing that cannot be handled by close monitoring and quality healthcare.
After menopause, a woman no longer produces eggs and thus cannot become pregnant naturally. But although eggs succumb to this biological clock, pregnancy is still possible using a donor egg. Therefore, all of the women in the study had an egg from a younger woman implanted into her uterus.
“There are really two biological clocks: One for the ovary, which seems to run out, and one for the rest of the reproductive system, which seems to go on,” said Paulson. All that’s needed is a little priming with the hormones estrogen and progesterone, followed by a donated, fertilized egg.
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What Causes Postmenopausal Bleeding
Vaginal bleeding during postmenopause isn’t a normal side effect of decreasing hormone levels. In some cases, the dryness in your vagina could cause some light bleeding or spotting after sex. In other cases, it could indicate a condition like endometrial hyperplasia or uterine fibroids, infections like endometritis, or cancer. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any vaginal bleeding so you can be evaluated.
What Is The Perimenopause Pregnancy Rate
The chance of conceiving naturally around the perimenopause is very low, usually no more than around 2%, and even techniques such as IVF are limited due to the low number of eggs available and their significantly lower quality compared to younger eggs. In addition, the risk of miscarriage becomes much higher, reaching 50% in women aged 45, as well as the risk of certain congenital abnormalities.
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Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Postmenopause
People in postmenopause are at an increased risk for several conditions:
Estrogen helps protect against cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, heart disease and stroke. It is also common for people in postmenopause to become more sedentary, which contributes to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These factors combined can increase a womans risk for cardiovascular diseases after menopause. A healthy diet, not smoking and getting regular exercise are your best options to prevent heart disease. Treating elevated blood pressure and diabetes as well as maintaining cholesterol levels are also ways to lower your risk.
People lose bone more rapidly after menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen. You may lose up to 25% of your bone density after menopause . When too much bone is lost, it increases your risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures. The bones of the hip, wrist, and spine are most commonly affected. Bone mineral density testing, also called bone densitometry, can be done to see how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones. The test is used to detectosteoporosis and osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.
Mental health issues
Getting Pregnant During Menopause
As women age, their hormone levels fall and menopause begins, ultimately resulting in their ovaries no longer producing eggs. However, while many women believe that menopause happens overnight, the process can actually take years to complete, and until then, a woman can still get pregnant!
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Postmenopause And In Vitro Fertilization
When you reach postmenopause, your hormone levels are no longer suitable for ovulation and natural pregnancy, and birth control isnt necessary anymore. However, there is still a chance you could get pregnantthrough in vitro fertilization .
IVF after menopause has proven to be successful in many cases. It can be done using your own eggs that you had frozen earlier in life, or by using a donors eggs . This process will require you to undergo hormone therapy to prepare your body for the implantation process and to carry the baby to term.
However, be aware that postmenopausal women are much more likely to experience minor to major complications of pregnancy after IVF compared to premenopausal women.
IVF after menopause isnt an option for everyone. It depends greatly on your overall state of health and a doctor should be able to tell you whether or not its an option for you.
Home Menopause Test Kits
Home menopause test kits measure the levels of follicle stimulating hormone in your urine. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. Its levels increase each month to stimulate the ovarian follicles to release a mature egg. During menopause, your ovaries stop producing eggs and the levels of FSH rise.
Home menopause tests detect the amount of FSH in your urine, but they cant definitively detect whether you are in perimenopause or menopause. Whatever the results of the test may be, you should consult your doctor if you have menopausal symptoms.
How Can You Tell If You Are Pregnant During Perimenopause
Pregnancy and menopause share some similar symptoms, from the classic missed period, to fatigue and night sweats. So how can you tell if you are pregnant during perimenopause, or if your symptoms are the result of further transitioning in the process?
Pregnancy symptoms may differ from one woman to the next, but there are some symptoms seen in both pregnancy and menopause, while others are unique to pregnancy. Pregnancy symptoms like sensitive or swollen breasts, nausea, constipation, and food sensitivity should be followed up by an at home pregnancy test, and a trip to the doctor if warranted. While anyone can experience these symptoms, they are more often associated with pregnancy and a test with your doctor can confirm this.
Symptoms unique to menopause include irregular ovulation, vaginal dryness, and loss of bone mass. Although many of these can only be investigated with the help of your doctor, its important to understand the difference in symptoms so you can figure out what you are experiencing.
How To Protect Against Unplanned Pregnancy
To prevent a baby bump on your road to menopause, use an effective, safe and appropriate method of birth control until your menopause is confirmed.
Natural family planning is not recommended for perimenopausal women because irregular periods make predicting ovulation difficult.
Many contraception options exist. Dr. Bembry says vasectomy is the most effective form of birth control, as long as post-procedure care is followed, but admits a lot of men just dont go there.
When considering birth control options, talk to your physician. She can discuss risks, effectiveness rates, perimenopausal symptom relief and even which methods can protect against certain cancers.
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Potential Risks Of Pregnancy During Perimenopause
While there are always some risks involved in pregnancy, the risks are much higher during perimenopause. There is potential for a variety of complications and women who are pregnant during perimenopause are considered to be high-risk and should be monitored more closely by medical professionals.
Its important to know that women over the age of 40 have about a 50% chance of miscarriage. If you are a woman in your perimenopausal years and you are contemplating pregnancy, its highly recommended that you talk with your doctor to make sure you are well informed and medically cleared of any preexisting conditions that could complicate pregnancy even more.
Health risks during pregnancy that increase after the age of 35 can include:
- Premature or low birth weight
What Are The Effects Of Early Or Premature Menopause
But some women with early or premature menopause may also have:
- Higher risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease and osteoporosis, since women will live longer without the health benefits of higher estrogen levels. Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps to lower your risk for these health problems.
- More severe menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor or nurse about treatments to help with symptoms if they affect your daily life.
- Sadness or depression over the early loss of fertility or the change in their bodies. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression, including less energy or a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed that lasts longer than a few weeks. Your doctor or nurse can recommend specialists who can help you deal with your feelings. Your doctor or nurse can also discuss options, such as adoption or donor egg programs, if you want to have children.
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What To Expect When Youre Expecting Perimenopause
There are commercials about it, ads in magazines about it, even skits on Saturday Night Live about it. We hear about menopause more often than wed like, especially if were fast approaching it. But what we dont often learn about is perimenopause, the period preceding menopause that lasts four years, on average.
Dr. Catherine Sundsmo, a family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy, recently took some time to explain perimenopause and all that comes with it. Here are her top five tips on what to expect when youre expecting perimenopause:
It Can Help To Think About Ivf Years Before Perimenopause
While in-vitro fertilization is a popular option for many women waiting to start their families, its not an option for everyone. For example, freezing your oocytes before age 35 can contribute to healthier IVF pregnancies and births later in life.4 Starting these conversations earlier with your doctor can help you best match your life stage to your life goals, and stay in control of your reproductive health.
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How To Tell If Youre Pregnant Or Perimenopausal
Many pregnant women have no symptoms other than a missed period, which could be confused with perimenopause. If youre in perimenopause and are having irregular periods, pregnancy should be considered, Dr. Bembry explains, especially if youre not using contraception.
He advises pregnancy tests on women up to age 52 or even 60 if menopause has not been confirmed and no form of contraception has been used. This is especially important for patients with abdominal symptoms, which could be a sign of a life-threatening tubal pregnancy.
Denying or ignoring possible pregnancy can delay medical care, which could be risky. Both the risk of miscarriage and having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality increase with age. Pregnancy can be so far out of patients minds that they seek care further along than youd normally see, he says.
The bottom line is if you havent reached menopause defined as 12 straight months without a period you can still get pregnant.
Can Menopause Be Reversed
The short answer is no, but researchers are working on it.
One avenue of study is treatment using a womans own platelet-rich plasma . PRP contains growth factors, hormones, and cytokines.
Early efforts to restore activity in the ovaries of perimenopausal women indicate that ovarian activity restoration is possible, but only temporarily. Research is still in the early stages. Clinical trials are underway.
In a small study of postmenopausal women, 11 of 27 who were treated with PRP regained a menstrual cycle within three months. Researchers were able to retrieve mature eggs from two women. IVF was successful in one woman.
Much additional research on larger groups of women is needed.
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Can You Get Pregnant During Menopause
Once upon a time, it was common to see that most pregnant women were in their twenties. And while pregnancy in that decade is still common, it has also become the norm for women to wait until they are more established in their careers before starting a family. Or sometimes, they just dont feel the desire to have children until theyre in their 30s or 40s, and they go on to carry successful pregnancies.
But how late is too late to wait? Is it possible to get pregnant after menopause?
Common Menopause And Pregnancy Symptoms
Changes in your menstrual cycles
Skipping a menstrual period is often the first telltale sign that a woman may be pregnant. Missing a period could also be a sign that a women has entered the menopause transition. If youve been having intercourse, you may be inclined to take a pregnancy test. If not, look for other hormone-related signs that confirm menopause, such as hot flashes and low libido
Surging and fluctuating hormones in pregnancy and menopause can both lead to mood swings and irritability. In pregnancy, mood changes may cause you to be unusually emotional and weepy. In perimenopause, irritability, anxiety and depression are more the norm for mood changes. Are you crying one minute and laughing the next? Its time to check in more with your body and whether your mood is related to perimenopause or pregnancy.
Fatigue and sleep changes
Hormonal changes in pregnancy and menopause can also result in fatigue and changes to sleep patterns, including insomnia. Whenever you notice changes in your sleep habits, its a good time to check in on the state of your hormones.
Many women say they first knew they were pregnant when their breasts suddenly became tender, sore and swollen. Women can also experience breast pain as part of a hormonal imbalance in menopause. Good breast self care is important. If you notice changes in your breasts, let your healthcare provider in on your symptoms.
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