Many women I speak to are surprised to learn that they can take birth control pills in their 40’s and early 50’s as long as there are no contraindications.
Many women can take the pill who are in perimenopause, you know, the time when there are a lot of menstrual irregularities, the start of hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. A low dose birth control pill is especially beneficial during perimenopause because it helps regulate bleeding and helps smooth out the hormonal rollercoaster. Taking the pill will also free women from hot flashes and night sweats and provide contraception.
Fertility after 40
While fertility rates tend to decline after 40, if a woman is still having her period, even if it’s irregular and unpredictable, she can become pregnant. In fact, there are many surprise pregnancies after age 40, when women may think that those fertile days are behind her. The take-home message is: Do use contraception if you’re still having periods and you don’t want to become pregnant.
Benefits of taking the pill after age 40
- More predictable menstrual cycles
- Less bleeding
- Reduced risk of anemia from the heavy periods that are more common after 40
- Reduced risk of ovarian and uterine cancer
- Reduction in hot flashes and night sweats
- Helps maintain bone health
- May improve your sex drive and interest in sex
- May improve your sexual response
- May improve adult acne
Women who shouldn’t take the pill are those who:
- Are over 35 and smoke
- Have migraines with visual disturbances
- Have a a history of blood clots
- Have a history of estrogen dependent cancers
- Women with uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes
When should women stop taking the pill
Every woman is different, and it’s recommended that you speak to your own healthcare provider about what’s best for you. According to many experts, as long as there are no contraindications, women can continue taking the pill until age 54.
Here’s more information about taking the pill after 40 from the North American Menopause Society