Thoughts on Better Aging

What Perimenopausal Women Need to Know About Birth Control

September 25th, 2014

You still need protection as you enter menopause, but the Pill can interferewith your hormones.

Menopause isn’t so much an event as a process. Depending on how your body changes, you might go a month or a year before your periods stop completely. This transitional period is called perimenopause. During this time, you can still get pregnant so you should continue using some kind of birth control. Here’s what you need to know about birth control and the menopause transition.

You Still Need Birth Control

According to the North American Menopause Society, you can consider yourself in menopause after going 12 months without a period. At this point, it is safe to stop using birth control. Meanwhile, you can choose from the following birth control options:

  • Hormonal oral contraceptives
  • Non-oral hormonal contraceptives
  • Intrauterine devices
  • Sterilization for you or your mate
  • Condoms and other barrier methods

The rhythm method is not recommended as a reliable birth control as you transition to menopause, because your changing body chemistry will make it very difficult to accurately predict fertility.

Benefits of Hormonal Oral Contraceptives

The reason that hormonal oral contraceptives (and probably also non-oral options though more research is needed in that area) are able to deliver certain benefits for women entering menopause is that they provide estrogen and progestogen, which bind to estrogen and progesterone receptors in the body. This helps to address some of the issues caused by age-related hormonal decline. For example, some research suggests that perimenopausal women using birth control may experience reduced hot flashes, improved maintenance of bone strength, and decreased risk of ovarian and uterine cancer.

Issues with Hormonal Oral Contraceptives

Unfortunately, using hormonal contraceptives in perimenopause can also bring various issues and risks. For example, taking the pill may make it more difficult to tell when menopause has occurred because it will cause you to have regular periods even after menopause. Even more worrisome, hormonal oral contraceptives may be linked to an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack in perimenopausal women, especially if they smoke. Another concern is that use of a contraceptive like the Pill can interfere with your sex life. Recently, a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women under 51 using hormonal birth controls experienced more issues with arousal, orgasm, pain, and dryness than those using other methods like condoms. Considering that menopause can also bring issues with low sex drive, decreased pleasure, and vaginal dryness, it would seem that using hormonal birth control during perimenopause could serve to aggravate these menopausal symptoms further.

A Better Way to Balance Your Hormones

Your birth control isn’t giving you the exact amount of estrogen and progesterone you need to restore your hormones to healthy pre-menopause levels. It’s also not addressing other important hormones like testosterone and DHEA. In order to balance all your vital hormones during menopause, you need personalized hormone replacement therapy from Renew Woman™. Contact us today to learn more.

 

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