The use of birth control containing hormones is common for women that are perimenopausal. Since this is the timeframe just before the onset of menopause, it can be difficult to actually know when menopause occurs. As a result, common question about it is “Does birth control delay menopause?” While the short answer is ‘no,’ birth control does not delay menopause, there are many considerations. The information below will provide clarity.
Birth Control Pills and Symptoms of Menopause
Women reach menopause about a year after their menstruation has stopped. The symptoms of menopause are often irregular periods, problems sleeping and hot flashes. The reason why the issue of birth control delaying menopause can seem complicated is because some birth control can mask the symptoms associated with menopause. However, changes may also be a natural occurrence of hormonal fluctuation.
Does Birth Control Delay Menopause?
The reason why menopause occurs is because there is a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels. These are hormones that help women during pregnancy and support other functions. Since birth control contains hormones, your body many not realize there is a decrease in the natural production of estrogen and progesterone. However, this doesn't change the fact that your body is producing a lower amount of these hormones. This is the reason why the symptoms that would usually occur during perimenopause go undetected. In other words, you can be in perimenopause and not have symptoms.
It’s worth noting that sometimes the symptoms of taking birth control are similar to the symptoms of menopause. This will often depend on the type of birth control you’re taking. The symptoms may include changes in your appetite, a decrease in libido and mood swings.
Identifying the Root Cause of Symptoms
Given the fact that symptoms associated with menopause can also be the result of birth control, how do you identify the cause? This isn’t always easy to determine. You can stop taking birth control for a period of time to allow your body to revert back to its natural cycle. It can take months for this to happen. When your body resumes it’s normal menstrual cycle, you’ll be able to ascertain whether or not the symptoms you’ve experienced are from menopause. If you stop taking birth control and the symptoms listed cease, that means they were not caused by perimenopause.
Recognizing the Onset of Menopause
It’s not always easy to know if you're in menopause, especially if you're taking birth control. In fact, there’s a chance that you're in menopause and still having a period because of the birth control since it contains hormones. Most women enter menopause at about the age of 51, which is why many doctors suggest ceasing the use of birth control after this age. This is especially the case if your goal is to determine whether or not you’re in menopause.
If you stop taking birth control pills to find out if you’re in menopause, it’s often recommended that some other form of contraception be used until you know for sure. When you are in menopause, your period will cease and you may experience symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, depression, insomnia, tiredness, anxiety and changes in your skin. While birth control probably won’t delay menopause, it can delay these symptoms.