Can Contraceptives Delay Menopause?
Can Contraceptives Delay Menopause?
When a person starts menopause has to do mostly with genetics, and isn’t affected by birth control, pregnancy, or fertility treatments.
The number of times you ovulate and the number of eggs you have has nothing to do with when you start menopause. If it did, we’d have a whole lot of people who’d been on birth control for decades starting menopause when they’re 90 years old, or never going through it at all – wouldn’t that be nice!
But there’s nothing you can really do to put off menopause. It’s going to happen when it happens.
Most of us associate birth control pills with preventing pregnancy. While that’s certainly true, it turns out that the pill may also minimize symptoms associated with approaching menopause. In fact, your doctor might suggest them to help if your periods go haywire. On the other hand, if you’ve been on birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, the changes they cause may actually keep you from noticing early signs of menopause.
Signs of menopause can occur up to several years before a woman’s final period, a transition time known as perimenopause. You don’t technically enter menopause until a full year has passed without a period. These years can seem like an eternity if you have severe menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes. Menopause symptoms vary from woman to woman, but in general they also include changes in your period. Your menstrual flow could be lighter or heavier and more frequent or farther apart during the perimenopause years. Both hot flashes and irregular periods may be helped with birth control pills.
Given that a woman can become pregnant up until her last period has occurred, women in perimenopause who do not want any more children must consider their birth control options. Many choose birth control pills, most of which contain a combination of the hormones oestrogen and progestin. How will these synthetic hormones affect diagnosing menopause?
“Birth control pills (also known as oral contraceptive pills) mask many of the signs of menopause,” says Barbara DePree, MD, director of Women’s Midlife Health Services at Holland Hospital in Holland, Mich. “They work by suppressing the ovarian function; therefore, there is no significant output of estrogen or progesterone from the ovary while on the pill. Instead, oral contraceptive pills add back a fixed amount of synthetic estrogen and progestin daily while the ovary sits by idly.”
This means that while birth control pills can relieve many of the unpleasant side effects of menopause, they can also mask the fact that a woman has undergone “the change” and make diagnosing menopause more difficult.
“Birth control pills do not specifically affect the timing of menopause,” says Robert Tomaro, Jr., MD, a physician in the department of obstetrics-gynecology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, N.J. and immediate past president of the Monmouth County Medical Society. In other words, a woman’s body is designed to reach menopause at a certain age regardless of whether she is taking birth control pills. The pill simply camouflages its pending arrival.
While it may be hard to decide what type of contraceptive to use when approaching menopause, why not get in touch with us today to discuss and explore your options – including the IUB? Click here to get in touch with us today!
As with all medications, always talk to your doctor to make the right choice for your particular situation.
Thanks to everydayhealth.com for the great info sourced!