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How To Tell Menopause If On The Pill

What Can I Do To Improve My Sleep

Contraception in the menopause when is it safe to stop using contraception & other questions

To help get a better nights sleep, some simple self-help measures may be all thats needed.

Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, but dont exercise just before you go to bed. Also, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evenings, because they can disrupt your sleep.

Try not to sleep during the day, and make an effort to go to bed around the same time every night.

Do I Need To Keep Having Cervical Cancer Screening Tests After Menopause

Its important for women whove ever had sex to continue having regular cervical cancer screening tests after menopause, especially since the risk of cervical cancer increases with age.

Pap smears have been replaced by cervical cancer screening with human papillomavirus tests. These new tests are generally recommended once every 5 years until the age of 74 years.

Going Off The Birth Control Pill Healthy Hormonal Support At Any Age

We think less is more when it comes to synthetic hormones. So, taking individual needs and health history into account, we encourage women at any age who have been on the Pill for a number of years to think about discontinuing it with support. It is easier than you think with the following steps:

The few women who experience more severe symptoms when they go off the Pill can layer additional support, such as a higher intake of phytonutrient-rich foods, including soy. If appropriate, we sometimes suggest discussing the use of low-dose over-the-counter progesterone cream with your healthcare practitioner, or exploring the use of bioidentical hormone replacement on a limited basis.

Read Also: Which Of The Following Best Describes Possible Symptoms Of Menopause

Exclusion And Inclusion Criteria

Subjects who used HRT or OCs for menopausal symptoms during the 4 years prior to the date of last menstruation or the first year following the last menstruation were excluded from the analyses, because these women can have withdrawal bleedings caused by the use of OCs or HRT, obscuring the date of the menopause.

Of the women included in the analyses , age at natural menopause was known in 4523 cases , 4178 women were censored at the age of their last known menstruation because they did not experience a natural menopause. Of these censored women, 2466 women had undergone surgery that caused cessation of menstruation, 1547 were still pre-menopausal when they were lost to follow-up and 165 women were pre-menopausal in the questionnaire from 1995.

Womens Wellness: Do I Still Need Birth Control

The Birth Control Pill: Side Effects on Health, Fertility ...

Birth control is often something women, perhaps in their forties or early fifties, stop worrying about a little too soon. Mayo Clinic gynecologist Dr. Petra Casey says, “We find that in most of the research, by the time a woman reaches the age of 55, she is 95 percent likely to have gone through menopause. Menopause is defined as one year of no periods. If you reach 11 Ā½ months of no periods, then have a period, the clock starts all over again and youre still not in menopause.”

The article below is written for the Office of Women’s Health by Dr. Casey.

Do I still need birth control?

Wondering when youre menopausal and can safely stop birth control? What birth control is best for women over age 35 or 40? Can you still get pregnant in your 40s and 50s? These are common questions women ask of their gynecologists, womens health physicians and other health care providers.

Overall, almost half of all pregnancies and 75 percent of pregnancies in women over 40 years of age are unplanned. 1,2 Also, some pregnancy complications and risk of miscarriage go up with age. So, if you dont want to become pregnant, using effective birth control until you are truly menopausal is very important.

Watch: Dr. Casey discusses birth control for women approaching menopause.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Casey are in the downloads.


  • Finer LB,. Zolna, MR Declines in Unintended Pregnancy in the United States, 20082011.N Engl J Med 2016 374:843-852March 3, 2016DOI
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    Contraception For The Older Woman

    Many women are aware that their fertility declines from their mid 30s and think they can stop using contraception once they are in their 40s. They wrongly assume because their fertility is lower, they have less sex and their periods may have become irregular that contraception can be abandoned. However, women do still get pregnant in their late 40s and even into their 50s , so contraception should continue to be used every time they have sex if pregnancy is to be avoided. Contraception should be continued until menopause, which is defined as two years after the last natural menstrual period in women under age 50 and until one year after the last natural menstrual period in women over age 50. If menopause cannot be confirmed, contraception should be continued until age 55.

    An unplanned pregnancy at any age can pose problems, but particularly so for a woman in her 40s who may be beginning to enjoy more freedom as children grow up. Furthermore, a pregnancy in older women is often associated with an increased number of complications such as miscarriage, high blood pressure, diabetes and chromosomal problems with the baby, and consequently will need more careful monitoring.

    In recent years there have been many advances in contraception, and new methods may have additional health benefits as well as providing excellent contraception. Womens needs change as they get older and a method that may not have been ideal when she was younger may become much more suitable.

    How Birth Control Masks Menopause Symptoms

    Birth control pills are a form of hormonal contraception. Combination pills contain synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone, two naturally occurring hormones. Minipills contain only progestin, which is the synthetic version of progesterone.

    In addition to preventing pregnancy, birth control pills help regulate your bodys hormone levels. As you approach menopause, your bodys natural estrogen levels will start to decrease but the pills synthetic hormones prevent your body from recognizing this decline.

    Youll also continue to experience a monthly bleed, though this will depend on the type of pill youre taking. For example, women who take combination birth control pills will continue to have a week of period-type bleeding each month. Women who take the minipill may experience more irregular bleeding.

    Birth control pills also have side effects that are similar to menopause symptoms. These include:

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    What Other Complementary Therapies Can Help Menopause Symptoms

    There are claims that several different complementary and alternative treatments relieve menopausal symptoms. However, in general there is little evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of these treatments.

    There is some evidence that hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation may help improve certain symptoms such as hot flushes. Therapies such as acupuncture and yoga also have limited evidence proving their effectiveness for the treatment of menopause symptoms. However, there are other health benefits associated with these treatments and they appear to be generally safe.

    Vitamin E may have a small effect on reducing hot flushes, and may help with vaginal symptoms when taken by mouth or used as a cream.

    There is a lack of good-quality evidence to support the use of herbal treatments such as evening primrose oil, ginseng and wild yam cream. Black cohosh is a herbal remedy that has been reported to relieve hot flushes and improve mood, but there is insufficient evidence for its use, and it has been associated with liver problems in some people .

    Always check with your doctor before taking any alternative treatments, because some herbs and plants have drug-like qualities, and can cause side effects or interact with other medicines you may be taking.

    Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Be Used For Contraception

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    As hormone replacement therapy contains very low levels of hormones, it does not work as a contraceptive. Unless you went through the menopause before you started HRT, you should use contraception until you are aged 55 years.

    If you are taking HRT but still need contraception then you can take the POP or have an IUCD or IUS inserted. Alternatively, many women choose to use barrier methods of contraception. As above, the IUS can be used as part of your HRT so is a good option if you need contraception and HRT.

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    How Are Very Low

    Very-low-dose birth control pills are usually started on the first Sunday after your period starts. If you’re perimenopausal but you aren’t having regular periods, you can probably take a hormone called medroxyprogesterone acetate to start your period. These pills are taken for 21 days in a row and then not taken for seven days. During the seven days without medicine, your period will start. Seven days later , you’ll start taking the very-low-dose oral contraceptives for another cycle .

    How To Know Menopause Has Come Knocking

    There is no definite way to know the cause of your symptoms if youre taking birth control pills. If youre on the pill, the synthetic hormones present in the pills could ensure that your periods are quite regular. You could menstruate regardless of the occurrence of perimenopause.

    If you consult your doctor before taking the pill, they would recommend you go off it once you reach the age of 51. Most women encounter menopause around this age, so going off the pill helps to check if youre there yet.

    Going off the pill means that other contraceptives should be used. At least until youre sure menopause has started.

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    Are Regular Menopause Symptoms Still On The Cards

    A proper combination of birth control pills with the right hormones could help keep your menstrual cycle even. It could also easily keep various menopause symptoms at bay. The irony lies in the fact that the pills might cause side effects similar to the symptoms of fluctuations in your hormones caused by menopause.

    These might include several menopause symptoms like a loss of libido, erratic mood swings and distinct changes in appetite. Spotting between two cycles or having irregular periods is another common experience, especially if youre taking pills with progesterone in them.

    How Do You Know If You Are Perimenopausal

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    Usually, a history of typical menopausal symptoms is all that is needed to determine whether you are heading for menopause. Tests are usually not necessary.

    A blood test measuring the level of follicle-stimulating hormone may be recommended for some women to make sure there isnt another explanation for their symptoms. This blood test may be recommended for younger women experiencing menopause-like symptoms to check for premature or early menopause. Blood tests may also be recommended for some women whove had a hysterectomy if the diagnosis is not clear.

    It should be noted that FSH tests do not always give a reliable indication that you are perimenopausal because the decline in the function of the ovaries can fluctuate.

    FSH testing is not usually recommended for women older than 45 years.

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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.

    Birth Control Pills In Perimenopause According To Functional Medicine

    The discovery of birth control pills is a revolutionary product of the human mind. Life is a priceless gift and responsibility is just as important! We all know that BCPs were primarily created to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but over the years, BCPs were also seen to help women in perimenopause. Well, heres a question that Ive been getting from many midlife ladies:

    Do birth control pills benefits for perimenopause symptoms outweigh the risks? Or is it the other way around?

    In this article, we will have a quick recap first about the symptoms of perimenopause. Then, we will focus on the pros and cons of taking BCPs with regard to perimenopause symptoms! After we tackle all accounts from functional medicine experts, I will share some natural alternatives proven to relieve perimenopause symptoms. Oh, youll love them!

    Read on and may you find the answer to that question above!

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    It May Make Your Symptoms More Manageable

    Mirena can improve at least one menopause symptom heavy bleeding.

    In the years leading up to menopause , your estrogen and progesterone levels bounce up and down. These shifting hormone levels can make your periods lighter or heavier than usual.

    At least 25 percent of women who are perimenopausal get heavy periods. Your monthly flow may get so heavy that you soak through a pad or tampon every couple of hours. Mirena should lighten your periods and put you into a more normal flow pattern.

    What Does Being In Menopause Entail

    PERI AND MENOPAUSE: Birth Control Pill Side Effects

    Menopause occurs 12 months after your last period. The first phase of menopause is called perimenopause. It can start approximately 15 yrs before menopause rolls in. There are several symptoms you can keep a lookout for to warn you of approaching menopause. Some of these symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, low libido, thinning skin, mood swings, depression and anxiety, and vaginal dryness.

    Menopause can make you vulnerable to certain diseases such as osteoporosis, heart diseases and cancer. So it is advisable to consult your doctor during all stages of menopause.

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    For Those In Perimenopause Should We Stop Taking The Pill

    First, Dr. Sherry told us, be sure you understand this: until youve had no periods for a year, you can still get pregnant.

    Part of the confusion is around definitions: The true definition of menopause is when you dont have a period for one full year, but many women suffer from disruptive symptoms for a few years leading up to full cessation of periodsthats called perimenopause. As I said, until you are officially in menopausemeaning no periods for a full yearyou can potentially get pregnant, so be sure to use some form of contraception. If you are single and dating while in menopause, you may not have to worry about getting pregnant, but you do have to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections, so make sure your partner wears a condom.

    So, re: birth control, keep on keeping on until one year with no periods, and re: condoms, always always always outside of committed, monogamous relationships. Check.

    Will I Put On Weight Around The Time Of Menopause

    Many women put on a small amount of weight around the time of menopause. But this seems to be due to age rather than changing levels of hormones. However, declining oestrogen levels can mean that women tend to put weight on around the abdomen rather than around the hips and thighs.

    To keep your weight in the healthy range, keep moving and eating a healthy diet.

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    If You Are Considering Getting Off Birth Control Pills

    Its difficult for any practitioner to assess whats really happening to your hormones while youre on the Pill. So a conventional practitioner may simply pick an age , and move you then from BCPs directly to HRT.

    This is a convenient way of keeping your appointment time to a minimum, but I dont think its good medicine. The major problem is that this denies your body the chance to progress naturally from one stage to the next, finding its own balance. The second problem is that you arent given full information about your choices and their consequences. And the third problem is that youre missing the great purpose of menopause reclaiming your life and your health.

    Its true that dropping BCPs cold turkey after many years of use, for some women, can result in some very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Your body has been trained to depend on the synthetic hormones and may be making fewer of its own. And despite the kind of muzzle the Pill puts on your endocrine system, its still trying to make the transition into menopause.

    The bottom line is that BCPs can be a great choice for one woman and a poor choice for another and what was right for you in your 20s or 30s may not be appropriate in your 40s or 50s. The same caveat applies to HRT in menopause. Some conventional doctors brush over these issues for patients on the Pill. You dont have to be pushed from one pill to the next!

    If I’m Taking Birth Control Pills How Will I Know When Menopause Starts

    Using Birth Control Pills During Menopause

    You and your doctor will decide together how long you should take this medicine. You can stop taking very-low-dose birth control pills any time, or you can change to regular estrogen replacement therapy. The decision to change from the low-dose birth control pills to estrogen replacement therapy is usually made around the ages of 49 to 52. Your doctor can also measure a hormone called FSH to see if you’re in menopause. If the FSH measurement is over 30, you’ve probably entered menopause.

    Talk to your doctor to see if very-low-dose oral contraceptives might be a good idea for you during your perimenopausal years.

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    When Should You See A Doctor About Perimenopausal Symptoms

    While experiencing some symptoms is normal and common, a person with a uterus should consult a doctor if their daily life is negatively impacted. It is possible that their experience is solely related to perimenopause, but it could also be the result of other, more serious conditions such as fibroids, pregnancy, blood clotting disorders, or even cancer. Furthermore, speaking with a doctor is necessary in order to ensure that symptoms are caused by menopause and not something else.

    The following symptoms may warrant a trip to the doctor

    • Very heavy periods with blood clots.
    • Periods that last much longer than usual.
    • Periods that occur more frequently than normal
    • Breakthrough bleeding between periods.
    • Spotting and/or pain after intercourse.


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