Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on May 19, 2023

Birth control is used to prevent unwanted pregnancy, while menopause marks the end of reproductive years. As you approach menopause, you may wonder whether you should continue using birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

In this article, we will discuss if you should continue taking birth control after reaching menopause. We will also explore the various birth control options available for those approaching menopause and discuss how to choose the right birth control method for your needs.


Menopause and Birth Control

Is it Safe to Take Birth Control During Menopause?

No, it is not recommended to take birth control once you’ve reached menopause. The average American woman reaches Menopause around the age of 51. You’ve most likely already reached menopause if you’re over the age of 50 and you haven’t had a period in more than 1 year. If you’re not sure if you’ve reached menopause, consult your doctor. No, it is not recommended to take birth control once you’ve reached menopause. The average American woman reaches Menopause around the age of 51. You’ve most likely already reached menopause if you’re over the age of 50 and you haven’t had a period in more than 1 year. If you’re not sure if you’ve reached menopause, consult your doctor.

When Should You Stop Taking Birth Control?

To prevent unwanted pregnancy, doctors usually recommend that individuals with a uterus use contraception until they’ve fully reached menopause, or they’re between 50 and 55 years old. Individuals who have entered Perimenopause (the years-long time period when your body transitions into menopause) may benefit from continuing to take birth control until they’ve reached menopause. Hormonal birth control methods can help regulate the menstrual cycle and alleviate perimenopausal symptoms.

However, using hormonal birth control during perimenopause can also increase the risk of certain health problems, such as blood clots, stroke, and heart disease, especially in women over 35 who smoke. Therefore, people with a history of blood clots, heart disease, or breast cancer may be advised not to take combined (estrogen and progestin-containing) hormonal birth control. Always talk to your doctor to determine the most appropriate birth control method for your age, needs, and medical history.

women when to stop birth control

Benefits of Hormonal Birth Control for Perimenopause

Taking hormonal birth control (i.e. the pill, ring, implant, hormonal IUD, etc.) during perimenopause can help prevent pregnancy. Additionally, using birth control during perimenopause can help alleviate unpleasant perimenopause symptoms such as period cramps, spotting between periods, and irregular periods.

Taking birth control during perimenopause can also decrease the likelihood of developing health conditions such as endometrial and ovarian cancer. Additionally, because birth control regulates hormone levels, it can further treat some of the effects associated with perimenopause such as hot flashes, acne, and vaginal dryness.

However, it is important to note that hormonal contraceptives can mask perimenopause symptoms. While this can be a good thing, those who take birth control may not recognize when they have fully reached menopause. For this reason, it is crucial for you to communicate with your primary care doctor to understand what is going on in your body.

Risks of Taking Birth Control During Perimenopause

While hormonal birth control can be extremely beneficial for relieving perimenopausal symptoms, it can increase the risk of blood clots in some individuals with a uterus. More specifically, it is recommended that those with a history of blood disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, and/or breast or liver cancer (personally, family history is OK) not take estrogen-containing hormonal contraceptives. This also applies to individuals who smoke and are 35 years or older.

Instead of using higher-dose hormonal birth control (which can increase the likelihood of developing blood clots) to alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause, individuals with a uterus can try hormone therapy or low-dose birth control pills. With that said, these methods have pros and cons, so individuals should consult a doctor to determine the best option for their health.

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Types of Birth Control for Perimenopause Symptoms

When it comes to birth control and perimenopause, the right choice for you depends on your needs and personal health history. Generally, birth control pills, rings, and hormonal IUDs are the safest birth control options for Perimenopausal people. Your doctor or the experts at Pandia Health can help you determine which option is safest and best for your unique needs. 

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills can be used to treat perimenopause symptoms by providing estrogen and progesterone. These hormones can alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood changes. Birth control pills can also regulate menstrual cycles, which can be irregular during perimenopause.

Doctors say that one of the best options for perimenopause is a low-dose combo pill. These pills contain low amounts of hormones but are still effective at treating symptoms and preventing unexpected pregnancies. The other option is the mini pill, which only has progestin. Doctors often recommend the mini pill to people with underlying health issues that make the use of estrogen dangerous for their health.

Birth Control Ring

Birth control rings like Annovera (10 mcg of estrogen, lasts for 1 year) and Nuvaring (20 mcg of estrogen, change ring monthly) deliver a steady, continuous dose of estrogen and progesterone hormones. Users self-insert contraceptive rings in the vagina. Researchers say contraceptive rings effectively minimize perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes and irregular bleeding. In early studies, doctors noticed fewer adverse side effects for menopausal women using vaginal rings with estrogen for menopause treatment.

Hormonal IUDs

Like birth control rings, hormonal IUDs are a low-maintenance treatment option if you want birth control for perimenopause. An IUD is a small device that a doctor inserts inside your uterus. The hormonal devices release progestin, which can help reduce some perimenopause symptoms. The hormonal IUD can provide long-term contraception for up to 37 years, depending on the type of device. However, there may be some side effects such as irregular bleeding, cramping, and acne. It’s important to consult with a doctor to determine if a hormonal IUD is a safe option for you.

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How to Choose the Right Birth Control for Perimenopause Symptoms

Choosing the right birth control to manage perimenopause symptoms can be overwhelming, but don’t worry – we’re here to help! There are several factors to consider when selecting the best option for you.

First, it’s important to know the different types of birth control available and how they work. Hormonal options like pills, patches, and IUDs can be effective in managing symptoms, while non-hormonal methods like condoms and diaphragms may be more suitable for those with certain health conditions such as cardiac risk factors (hypertension, high cholesterol, etc).

Your individual medical history and current health status are also important factors to consider. If you’ve had blood clots or certain types of cancer, hormonal birth control may not be a good choice for you. Additionally, some medications or health conditions may affect which birth control is appropriate.

Don’t forget to think about personal preferences and lifestyle factors too. Do you want a long-acting method like an IUD or implant, or the flexibility of a pill or ring? The best way to find the right birth control for you is to talk to your doctor or the expert doctors at Pandia Health. They can help you navigate the options, ensure safety based on your medical history, and provide guidance tailored to your individual preferences and lifestyle.

Get Expert Insights from the Doctors at Pandia Health

If you’re searching for the right birth control to take during perimenopause, ask the board-certified doctors at Pandia Health! Our expert doctors can prescribe a range of birth control options based on what’s best for you, and best of all, you’ll get your birth control delivered to your home with FREE delivery and goodies included! Sign up for Pandia Health today.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.