When Can Contraception Be Safely Stopped
If you are using contraception that does not contain hormones, you will be able to stop using contraception one year after your periods stop if you are aged over 50 years. If you are aged under 50 years, you should use contraception until two years after your periods stop.
However, if you are using hormone-based contraception then your periods are not a reliable way of knowing if you are fertile or not. Some women who take hormone-based contraceptives will have irregular or no periods but they will still be fertile if they stop using their contraceptive. The ages for stopping the different hormone-based contraceptives are detailed below.
Clinical Editors comments Dr Hayley Willacy recommends the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healths latest guidelines on Contraception for women aged over 40 years see Further Reading and References, below. The guideline updates information relating to when women no longer require contraception. Progestogen-only pills, progestogen-only implants, levonorgestrel intrauterine systems and copper intrauterine devices can safely be used until the age of 55 and may confer non-contraceptive benefits such as reduced menstrual pain and bleeding and endometrial protection. During perimenopause, isolated serum estradiol, FSH and luteinising hormone levels can be misleading and should not be used as the basis for advice about stopping contraception ovulation may still occur with a risk of pregnancy.
Other Suggested Benefits Of Oral Contraceptives
The use of oral contraceptives also provides protection against benign breast disease, ectopic pregnancy, salpingitis, dysmenorrhea and iron deficiency anemia.11 Growing evidence suggests that oral contraceptive use may protect against other conditions, including colorectal cancer, uterine fibroid tumors, toxic shock syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. However, these particular findings remain unproved.11
What Is The Difference Between Menopause And Perimenopause
Perimenopause is the time when the reproductive hormones first start to change. While periods continue during this time, they typically become irregular as the production of estrogen and progesterone slows down. Additional symptoms may occur, though some individuals report feeling normal during perimenopause. With that said, it is always a best practice to consult with a doctor if you notice any abnormal changes in your body.
In contrast, menopause is marked by the final period a woman has. If a person with a uterus has gone 12 months without a period they have gone through menopause. Their life after that 12 months is considered postmenopausal.
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Perimenopause And Menopausewhats The Difference
Perimenopause is menopauses opening act. Its the time leading up to menopause when a womans hormones begin to change. A women is still having periods during this time, but they become more irregular.
Menopause is the final period a women has. Its the curtain closing, so to speak. This is known when a woman goes 12 months without a period. Everything after that is post-menopause.
So Can Having More Sex Stave Off Menopause
Not necessarily. Study co-author Ruth Mace, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at University College London, is quick to point out that this is a linknot proof that having sex in your forties and fifties will push back menopause. We controlled for a wide range of variables, including estrogen hormone levels, smoking, and BMI, and the association remains, but that does not mean that sexual behavior necessarily delays menopause, she tells Health.
Given that sex can change hormone levels, its possible that this is the case, she says. Or, she adds, it could be a third variable, like other hormone levels that we did not have data on.
But Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale University Medical School , says she has great doubts biologically that having sex regularly would push back menopause. The best correlation I know is family historyif mom and sisters went through menopause later, you will likely go through menopause later, she tells Health.
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How Do You Know When You Have Reached Menopause
While theres no definitive test that can confirm menopause, your gynecologist can help you determine whether you are near menopause by reviewing your symptoms along with your medical and menstrual history.
With changing levels of hormones during perimenopause, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Heavy and irregular periods
How To Know If Youve Transitioned To Menopause While On Birth Control
So, if you take birth control during perimenopause and it can mask symptoms and even cause bleeding that mimics a normal menstrual period, how do you know if youve reached menopause? In most cases, stopping birth control can help you determine if you have reached menopause. Just keep in mind that until you are sure you have gone for one year without a period, you may need other forms of contraception, such as condoms, to help prevent pregnancy. Even if you have gone several months without a period, you may still be perimenopausal and still able to get pregnant. Talk to one of our treatment providers about your specific circumstances.
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Birth Control And Menopause
Birth control during menopause is something you should make sure you have sorted as it is, of course, a myth that you cant get pregnant during this time.
Actually, scratch that. Since menopause is defined as the time following the absence of menstruation for 12 months if you are over 50 when your periods stop, you are highly unlikely to get pregnant then. The condition we are talking about is perimenopause.
When Should Women Not Take Birth Control Pills For Perimenopause
While hormonal birth control can be extremely beneficial, it can increase the risk of blood clots in some individuals with a uterus. More specifically, it is recommended that those with a history of blood disorders, heart disease, and/or cancer stop taking hormonal contraceptives as they enter their late forties. This also applies to individuals who smoke.
Instead of using high-dose hormonal birth control to alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause, individuals with a uterus can try hormone therapies or low-dose birth control pills. With that said, there are pros and cons to these methods, so individuals should consult a doctor in order to determine the best path for their lifestyle.
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How Can Pandia Health Help
Pandia Health makes accessing birth control easier than ever! for our FREE delivery service to get your prescription sent right to your mailbox. You can also schedule an online consultation with one of our expert doctors if you live in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MI, NV, TX, TN, PA, WA, or WY.
With Pandia Health, you can #SkipTheTrip to the pharmacy and feel confident that you will never run out of birth control on our watch.
If You Havent Gotten Pregnant
You stopped birth control pills, your cycles have returned, but youre not getting pregnant. Now what? While you may wonder if your birth control pills have affected your fertility, rest assured that this is highly unlikely.
There are many reasons why people may struggle to conceive. Infertility affects 12% of couples, and both men and women can experience fertility problemswhether or not they previously used hormonal birth control.
If you dont conceive after a year of trying, dont wait to talk to your provider. Delaying testing and treatment may reduce your odds for pregnancy success.
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Are There Any Risks With Taking Birth Control Pills During Menopause Or Perimenopause
Hormonal contraceptives can sometimes mask symptoms of perimenopause. This can make it difficult to know when youve reached perimenopause. And even after menopause, some women can continue to cycle if they stay on hormonal contraceptives.
As women enter their late 40s, I often suggest they stop taking the pill. This is because hormonal contraceptives can increase the risk of blood clotsespecially as you age. I suggest patients try hormone therapy instead. The lower dose of estrogen decreases risks, but still provides similar benefits as the pill.
Taking The Pill During Perimenopause Whats Good To Know Should You Choose The Pill
For a woman in her 40s starting or continuing on the Pill, we have three basic recommendations.
1. First, ask for the lowest-dose birth control pill options available today when talking to your healthcare provider.
2. Second, apply the basic healthy hormonal support guidelines detailed above to the extent you can.
3. Third, keep track of how you feel on the Pill.
If a perimenopausal woman really wants to continue to use the Pill or start the Pill and it seems right for her, I recommend trying the lower-dose pills now available. The most common birth control pill prescribed by my colleagues for women in this situation tends to be the Loestrin 1/20 or Loestrin 24 pills they are low-dose, regulate periods nicely, and contain the least anti-androgenic progestin all of which minimizes any decrease in libido and seems to have the fewest side effects overall. Its also available in several generic forms at lower cost.
While theres no perfect solution for every situation, were fortunate nowadays to have a range of birth control options for women. These include not just oral contraceptives but other options that can be very attractive for women in perimenopause.
What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause
Although menopause is a normal, healthy part of life for individuals with a uterus, it typically entails symptoms that can become unpleasant. Some individuals may not notice any significant changes, but many will likely experience one or more of the following:
- Hot flashes and night sweats = a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads over the body
- Breakthrough bleeding and spotting = bleeding when not on your period
- Irregular periods = inconsistent timing and heaviness of periods
- Headaches and/or migraines = pain that occurs in one or more regions of your head
- Mood swings = intense and sudden changes in mood
- Insomnia = persistent difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Urine urgency and/or leakage = constantly feeling the need to go pee
- Vaginal dryness = lack of lubrication in the vagina
- Acne = blemishes that pop up on the skin
- Fatigue = feeling more tired than usual
- Breast tenderness = sore and/or swollen breasts
- Lower sex drive = lack of desire to have sex and/or pain during sex
Sometimes, the symptoms of perimenopause can cause significant problems in day-to-day functioning. Fortunately, there are various treatments that can be implemented to help provide some relief.
Does Birth Control Delay The Onset Of Menopause
Combining birth control pills with hormones will help regulate the menstrual cycle and hormones, which will prevent many of the symptoms of menopause that are associated with aging. However, it is possible that the pill will cause side effects that are very similar to those associated with hormone fluctuation.
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What You Need To Know About Perimenopause & Birth Control
Birth control is something many women take to prevent pregnancy and help with other conditions. However, as you enter perimenopause, you might have some questions about birth control. Our providers are here to answer your questions and help you make decisions about your health before, during, and after perimenopause. Its important to discuss the particulars of your situation with one of our medical providers. However, we do have a general guide to help answer some common questions about birth control and perimenopause.
You may still need birth control during perimenopause to prevent pregnancy.
When To Stop Your Birth Control
In most cases, you should stop the combined pill when youâre at the age of 50. Women in this age group may have other health issues that could make it dangerous to use. Talk to your doctor to see if itâs safe for you to use it if youâre 50 or older.
If you donât want to be on the combined pill anymore but still want protection against pregnancy, you can use a progestogen-only pill or other forms of birth control, like condoms. If youâre over the age of 55, you can probably stop hormonal methods since your chances of pregnancy are very low. But to be safe, donât stop any type of birth control until you havenât had a period for a full year.
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What Does Perimenopause Mean
When your periods stop completely, it’s called menopause. Perimenopause means around the time of menopause. The peri-menopausal years are the few years before your periods stop. The timing of menopause is different for each woman. Although some women stop having periods in their 30s, the average age is the early 50s. So, peri-menopausal women are usually in their 40s or early 50s.
Were Often Told That The Pill Contains Oestrogen And Progesterone But No Pill Contains Either Hormone
Were often told that the pill contains oestrogen and progesterone. But no pill contains either hormone.
That is because, when taken orally, oestrogen and progesterone break down too quickly to be practical. Instead, the pill contains synthetic versions, which are built from more stable hormones that have been altered to mimic the hormones.
Every brand of combined pill on the market contains the same type of synthetic oestrogen, ethinyl estradiol, and one of eight synthetic progesterones, called progestins. Ethinyl estradiol prevents the body from releasing an egg every month, while progestins thicken the mucus at the entrance to the cervix and conspire to make the womb inhospitable. Even if an egg slips out and becomes fertilised, it wont be able to settle down and start growing.
So far, so good. But though the hormones are effective at preventing pregnancy, they arent perfect matches for our natural hormones. The end result is that these synthetic versions also have effects that you would never get from raw progesterone.
Because the contraceptive pill uses synthetic versions of female hormones, it can have side effects you might not expect such as facial hair
Find out more: eight women open up about the side effects they struggled with from the pill in our recent video, below.
The male hormone that these pills use is a close relative of testosterone called nandrolone. A potent androgen , it can lead to the development of typically male characteristics.
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The Choice To Use Birth Control Is Yours
We want our readers to have the best, most up-to-date information so they can make decisions that work well for them.
Whether you choose to stay on the Pill or to come off it, supporting your body through optimal nutrition and lifestyle should be high on your list. The better you treat yourself while on the Pill, the easier your transition will be when you do inevitably come off it. Plus, you will already have the positive health measures in place to help you overcome hormonal imbalance symptoms in perimenopause and beyond.
Cibula, D., et al. 2010. Hormonal contraception and risk of cancer. Hum. Reprod. Update, 16 , 631650. URL : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20543200 .
Figueiredo, J., et al. 2010. Oral contraceptives and postmenopausal hormones and risk of contralateral breast cancer among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers and noncarriers: The WECARE Study. Breast Cancer Res. Treat., 120 , 175183. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835545/?tool=pubmed .
Rosenberg, L., et al. 2009. A case-control study of oral contraceptive use and incident breast cancer. Am. J. Epidemiol., 169 , 473479. URL: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/169/4/473.long .
Lee, E., et al. 2007. Effect of reproductive factors and oral contraceptives on breast cancer risk in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and noncarriers: Results from a population-based study. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev., 17 , 31703178. URL: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/17/11/3170.long .
At What Age Will I Stop Being Fertile
The time of menopause varies tremendously between women. Before your periods stop altogether, it is likely that your periods will become irregular and unpredictable. Although you are less likely to produce an egg every month, your ovaries will still be producing some eggs and, for this reason, it is important that you consider using contraception. So, although there is a natural decline in your fertility after the age of about 37 years, effective contraception is still required to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Most women will no longer be fertile by the age of 55 years. However, a few women will still be having periods at this age and may need contraception. The average age at which women get to their menopause in the UK is 51 years.
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Can Menopause Be Treated
Menopause is a natural process that your body goes through. In some cases, you may not need any treatment for menopause. When treatment for menopause is discussed, its about treating the symptoms of menopause that disrupt your life. There are many different types of treatments for the symptoms of menopause. The main types of treatment for menopause are:
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider while you are going through menopause to craft a treatment plan that works for you. Every person is different and has unique needs.
When To Start Hormone Replacement Therapy
The average age of menopause in the United States is 51. The telltale signs of menopause include irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, chills, night sweats, sleep problems, low sex drive, mood changes, and weight gain. At that time, many women switch from oral contraceptive pills to hormone replacement therapy.
However, some women have found that using oral contraceptives during the first few years of menopause may be helpful in controlling any abnormal bleeding that may be present. Once you have gone through menopause and are no longer experiencing abnormal bleeding, you may not need the higher doses of estrogen found in oral contraceptive pills. By taking the lower doses of estrogen found in hormone replacement therapy, you will decrease the risks associated with estrogen such as breast cancer and developing blood clots.
Its important to talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy during or after menopause. Contact Walnut Hill OBGYN to schedule an appointment today.
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