Menopause can lead to many different changes to the body of the individual. With these changes, people need to adjust the way that they handle the different symptoms of menopause. Also, certain medications and products that they can take before menopause should now be taken with some considerations as to how they can affect the body during and after menopause. Due to the main effect of menopause on the reproductive system, then it is understandable that one of the things to scrutinize would be the use of birth control pills, specifically its effects on the symptoms of menopause. In this article, we look at the possible link between menopause and birth control pills. If you want to know more, read on!
Menopause And Birth Control Pill: How Are They Connected?
As people get older, the body will slowly reduce its estrogen production. The menstrual periods of the individual can turn irregular. Once this occurs, it is referred to as perimenopause. After not having any menstrual period for twelve (12) months, then the individual can officially be tagged as having reached the menopausal stage. During this period, symptoms such as sleep disturbances and hot flashes can become fairly common.
However, those who are taking pills for birth control may not experience or have reduced symptoms of menopause compared to those who are not taking any of the said pills. In short, taking some birth control pills can lead to the symptoms of menopause being masked. But why does this happen?
Menopause And Birth Control Pill: Masking The Symptoms Of Menopause
The pills used for birth control is a form of contraception that is hormonally based. Pills that are tagged as combination pills use a mixture of both progesterone and estrogen, two forms of hormones that are naturally occurring. On the other hand, only progestin is found in minipills, a form of progesterone in its synthetic form. Aside from preventing the patient from getting pregnant, pills used for birth control can also aid in the regulation of the body’s levels of hormones. As the menopausal stage approaches, the body’s ability to naturally produce estrogen is reduced. By taking the aforementioned pills, the hormones (in synthetic form) can lead to the body being prevented from recognizing the said hormonal reduction.
Also, individuals can continue to experience bleeding monthly but this will be dependent on which kind of pill one is using. Women who are taking pills classified as “combination” can experience a monthly week-long bleed. On the other hand, women who opt to go for mini pills may still experience bleeding, albeit, a more irregular one. Pills for birth control can also have side effects that may be similar to the symptoms of menopause such as changes in appetite, mood swings, hot flashes, and spotting between periods.
Menopausal Stage: How To Know When You Reached It
As the name implies, “masking” can make the symptoms of menopause more difficult to observe or pinpoint, making it more challenging for individuals to confirm if they already reached the menopausal stage. On average, a female American will reach the menopausal stage by 51 years old but the stage known as perimenopause can begin as early as 40 years old. During this stage, individuals may suspect menopause due to metabolism that is slower and fullness of the breast that is deceased or reduced. The doctor cannot determine if one has already reached menopause and there are no current tests to confirm this specific stage. As such, people must look for certain body changes during this specific age range.
Patients may seek the assistance of their doctor as pills for birth control have been shown to have benefits for people undergoing perimenopause and the medical professional can give guidance as to when to start or stop using the aforementioned pills. This means that the individual may need to look for different forms of contraception or birth control methods to prevent getting pregnant such as the use of a condom.
For those who opt to stop using birth control pills, a period of around a month to several months will be needed for the body to allow the take over of natural hormones. During this stage, the patient should regularly coordinate with their healthcare partner about the side effects that they may be expecting. If the individual has already reached the stage of menopause, then the menstrual period may no longer return.
Things To Expect Once Menopause Is Reached
As menopause happens, the periods can become increasingly irregular. The menstrual cycle may skip one or two (2) whole months before coming back and spotting breakthroughs can occur. Once an entire year passes without any menstrual period, then the individual has already reached the menopausal stage. Aside from irregular periods, the individual can experience vaginal dryness, libido changes, mood swings, insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue. The reduced estrogen can also lead to an elevated risk for several health conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and obesity. The patient should also discuss this with their healthcare partner along with other details of their family’s health history such as cancer and hypertension or high blood pressure.
Ensuring that you undergo regular screenings for your health can lead to the reduction of risk for any form of advanced complications along with better management of symptoms. If the symptoms related to menopause are classified as extreme or severe, the healthcare professional may recommend treatments that are more targeted or specific to aid in improving one’s wellness and overall health.
Treatment Options That May Be Considered
To address menopause symptoms, people can try out several things. These include home remedies and lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, taking nutritional supplements, and eating healthier. Other lifestyle adjustments can include using a cool gel pad, reducing your home’s temperature, and reducing the intake of caffeine.