Plenty of women use birth control methods over a significant portion of their lives. A study published on BMJ Journals revealed that 83.5% of British women between the ages of 16 to 44 used contraceptives. The most common birth control method was contraceptive pills. Though a portion of women also used implants, patches, caps, and spermicide. These decisions were affected by factors such as one’s lifestyle and age. That said, a woman’s age can also influence her decision to continue or stop the use of contraceptives. So, after using contraceptives for many years, is it wise to stop taking birth control upon reaching the menopausal stage?
Birth control options have different effects on the body
There are a wide variety of contraceptive options available and it’s important to remember that their purpose could go beyond birth control. SymptomFind explains the different contraceptive methods as well as their effects on the body, under their resources on health. Their article on the most popular contraceptive method, the pill, outlines that it contains an ingestible form of progestin and oestrogen. These hormones mimic pregnancy and prevent ovulation, keeping the egg cell from being fertilised. But on top of this, progestin and oestrogen intake can reduce cramps, regulate periods, and even lower the risk of certain cancers.
Such benefits also carry over to other forms of contraception. The Guardian points out that most people take the combined hormone or the progesterone-only pill due to the prescription of GPs. And this is why it is the most popular form of contraception in the country. However, their article also states that contraceptive injections, IUDs, and implants are 99% more effective than the pill. They can also reduce cancer risks, PCOS symptoms, and more. With that said, it’s clear that such contraceptives are not only for preventing pregnancy, but also for improving a woman’s health.
When should you stop using birth control?
Contraceptives are predominantly used for birth control, which is why most women stop using them once they reach menopause. Since one’s fertility is reduced during this period, many believe that it would be okay to discontinue their intake. However, health experts would say otherwise.
The Conversation‘s article on perimenopause and women’s health highlights that contraception usage is still required, even after your last menstrual period. According to them, women under fifty years old should take contraceptives for about two years after their last cycle, while those above fifty should take it for about a year. This is a safety guarantee since women can still get pregnant even if they don’t get their period for a few months.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that contraceptives offer health advantages, too. These contraceptives can be beneficial for menopausal women since they can help maintain their bone mineral density and even reduce menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes. However, there are exceptions to this recommendation. Case in point: women at risk of heart disease or thrombosis must stop their use of contraceptives. Those with risk factors, such as obesity or high blood pressure, should also refrain from using contraceptives at this age. This is because the side effects of certain contraceptives — for example, their tendency to increase blood pressure — could prove detrimental to one’s health.
Contraceptives have health benefits for women of various age groups. Thus, it would be ideal for most women to continue their birth control intake one to two years after their last menstrual cycle. Even so, this is not a given for all women, so it’s vital to be aware of one’s health conditions before deciding whether to continue taking birth control after menopause. It is always best to speak with your GP first before making any decisions yourself!
If you want to maintain optimal health during your menopause, check out our articles about menopause.
Author: Maggie Morton