Birth Control in Perimenopause and Menopause
Wait a minute… I haven’t had a period in 3 months! Before that, a gusher. Then a dry spell. WAIT… I THOUGHT I WAS DONE WITH ALL THIS. NOW YOU’RE TELLING ME I’VE GOTTA STAY ON BIRTH CONTROL THROUGHOUT MENOPAUSE?
Yes, women in perimenopause can still get pregnant, although fertility and likelihood of conception is decreased compared to when we’re in our 20s and 30s. We’re not truly through menopause until we’ve gone a year without a period, but - regardless of how long it’s been - It is critical to continue using contraception throughout perimenopause and menopause, and to regularly check in with your healthcare provider for guidance on contraception and family planning during this stage of life.
The most effective and safest form of birth control for women going through menopause is generally considered to be an intrauterine device (IUD) that releases the hormone progestin. This type of IUD, called a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS), can be used until menopause is confirmed (typically after 12 consecutive months without a period). The LNG-IUS is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and has the added benefit of reducing heavy menstrual bleeding, which can be a common symptom during perimenopause. Other non-hormonal options such as condoms, diaphragms, or copper IUDs can also be considered based on personal preference and medical history. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best option for individual circumstances.
With the precarious state of reproductive freedom in our country, the last thing any of us needs is to be surprised just as we’re reaching our eXtraLoVe milestone.
If you’re in a committed hetero relationship, Vasectomies are incredibly reliable birth control. They are 99.85 percent effective at pregnancy prevention. Only IUDs, tubal ligation, and birth control implants have remotely similar levels of effectiveness, and other forms of birth control don't even come close. Not to mention cost: the nationwide average for a vasectomy is about $865, it’s covered by most insurance, and is a permanent birth control option that is guaranteed not to have any adverse effects on your body.
And, not to sound like a broken record or anything, but… talk to your primary. Talk to your NP. Talk to your OBGYN. Get as much info as you can on what’s best for your unique, amazing body.