I’m almost 45 and have just about had it with my periods. They’re coming much less regularly than they used to and the PMS is really bad. My doctor said I should think about going on the pill. I know the pill has benefits besides birth control but does that apply to me? I took the pill years ago and I don’t smoke.
There are many health benefits to taking the pill besides preventing pregnancy. For women approaching menopause, the benefits often far outweigh the risks.
To begin with, taking the pill means taking control of your menstrual cycle. As you get closer to menopause, irregular cycles are common because ovulation becomes erratic. Bleeding can also be quite heavy during anovulatory cycles, when ovulation doesn’t occur. Taking the pill means more regular cycles and manageable bleeding.
The pill can also help prevent endometriosis, increase bone density and lower the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. It may mean fewer uterine fibroids, fewer ovarian cysts and less benign breast disease. Oral contraceptives will lower your risk of uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. In older women, the pill may offer some protection against atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
Pills containing 20 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol are probably the best choice for women approaching menopause. Studies show these low-dose pills are highly effective in women over 30, and don’t increase the risk of clotting problems, like deep vein thrombosis. For women who don’t smoke, today’s low-dose pills are safe enough to use well into their 50s.
Now it’s up to you to decide how these health benefits measure up in your situation.