If you’re in your 40s or 50s, chances are you’ve started experiencing menopause symptoms like hot flashes and irregular periods. But what does this mean for your birth control?
Many doctors recommend women over the age of 50 stick with low-dose combination birth control pills containing estrogen. These pills are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and help ease menopause symptoms, including hot flashes.
What is the birth control pill?
The pill is a type of hormonal contraceptive that, when taken correctly, prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm and an egg apart or by stopping the release of an egg (ovulation). It also makes your period lighter and shorter and can help with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
There are many types of birth control pills to choose from, with different doses and combinations of estrogen and progestin. The most common is a combination pill, and there are some low-dose options for women with concerns about side effects. Most combination pills use about 20 micrograms of estrogen and 10 micrograms of progestin. If you have a high risk of blood clots, you may be prescribed a higher dose.
Another option is the minipill, which contains only progestin. The minipill is available in a variety of dosing packages, including 21-day pill packs and 90-day and 365-day dosing options. Both kinds of pills work best if they are taken every day and at the same time, without missing a pill.
Some pills can cause mild side effects, such as nausea, vomiting and breast tenderness, but these typically go away after two or three months of regular use. In addition, the pill can sometimes make your periods heavier or longer. Talk to your GP or contraceptive nurse about whether you have any questions or concerns.
Do I need to take birth control during perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the time before menopause, and it can last from your mid-30s to your 50s. It’s normal for your periods to become irregular during this period, as your ovaries slow down and prepare for menopause. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, so it’s important to continue taking birth control.
Hormonal birth control is a great choice for perimenopause, as it helps manage your hormones and alleviate symptoms like menstrual cramps, bloating, hot flashes, and mood changes. However, it’s also important to talk with your OB/GYN about other birth control options. For example, if you’re considering using hormone replacement therapy for menopause symptoms, your doctor can help you choose the right dose and type of estrogen for your needs.
If you’re unsure whether or not you’re in perimenopause, consider stopping your hormonal birth control for a few months. This will give you a clearer picture of your menstrual cycle and help you decide if you need to switch to other birth control methods.
While birth control pills can ease a lot of perimenopausal symptoms, they do not delay or prevent the onset of menopause. If you want to know when you’ve reached menopause, ask your doctor for a follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) test. This test will tell you if you’ve entered menopause or not, and it can be done at any time during the perimenopausal stage.
How do I know if I’m going through menopause?
Women who are undergoing the menopause transition usually experience physical symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. They also have changes in their mood and a reduced sex drive. These changes are known as perimenopause and may start months or years before menopause actually occurs. It is important for women to see their doctor for regular exams so they can identify if they are experiencing these symptoms and take the necessary steps to manage them.
Women can usually tell if they are going through menopause if it has been more than 12 months since their last period. However, the menopause transition may start several years before this time and can also be triggered by hormonal imbalances and medical treatments such as hysterectomy.
Some women who are taking birth control pills may experience early signs of perimenopause and menopause. This is because birth control pills artificially regulate the ovulation cycle and can mask the onset of these changes. Some women also have periods even when they are taking the pill so it can be hard to know if they’re in perimenopause or menopause. It is important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and whether you should continue to use birth control or switch to hormone replacement therapy once you’re in menopause. This is to minimize your risk of developing blood clots and breast cancer.
What are the pros and cons of taking birth control pills?
Women in perimenopause use low-dose birth control pills to ease symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, erratic periods, and vaginal dryness. They also help prevent ovarian and endometrial cancers and unintended pregnancies. The pill regulates hormones, which can improve acne, reduce the frequency of menstrual cramps, and even prevent bone loss. According to Harvard Health, women in perimenopause who use the pill also have lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Birth control pills are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. They contain artificial versions of female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which work together to stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month. Women who use the pill often take 21 days of active pills followed by 7 days of placebo pills to avoid ovulation.
Some chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure or liver disease, may interfere with the efficacy of birth control. The pill is not recommended for smokers or those with a history of blood clots or heart disease. Women taking medications for depression or epilepsy should not use birth control.
Using the pill for many years can muzzle a woman’s natural hormones, making it difficult to know when she’s reached menopause. In addition, the Pill can mask the typical symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, so a woman may not realize she’s reached perimenopause until she stops the pills or experiences withdrawal bleeds during a break.