Birth Control During Menopause

>> Tuesday, October 8, 2013

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Hard to believe we're already in October! What an awesome time of year! Beautiful warm days & cool nights - we've even had some rain thunderstorms. I know, I know, but hey it's a real luxury here in the southwest. We actually go outside when it rains so we can feel the rain on our skin smell it as it moistens the dry, desert air.

We've been talking a little bit about menopause and hormone changes, which brings us to the next question that many of you are concerned about.

Do I have to take birth control even though I have started menopause?

As a reminder, menopause is that time in a woman's life when, for the first time since puberty, her entire female reproductive system is shutting down. Age 50 - 54 are the most common times for menopause, when menstrual cycles will stop, the ovaries stop ovulating they stop producing estrogen progesterone.

It is also during this time that women may go through hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, emotional ups; downs and lack of sexual desire. Go see your doctor to verify that your symptoms are truly the result of menopause. Once your cycles have been absent for more than 6 months, and your blood tests confirm that you are in menopause, only then you can be sure you are no longer ovulating and do not need to use birth control.

The mistake many women make is that they believe that once they are in their forties, they are too old to get pregnant, and they become less careful about using birth control. I cannot tell you how many surprise babies I've delivered for my 40-plus year-old patients who though they couldn't conceive any longer. So it’s best not to assume. If you are having regular cycles, chances are you are still ovulating, no matter what symptoms you are having.

So menopause means no more periods, no more ovulating, and no need for birth control. But before you stop taking birth control, be sure you visit your doctor to verify with a blood test that your ovaries are not functioning, so there are no surprises.

I hope this helps you and answers your question this week. Keep your questions coming, have fun and be safe.
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