Can Women Get Pregnant Even If Theyre Perimenopausal
Despite declines in fertility during perimenopause, it is still possible to become pregnant. Even when periods become less frequent, the body may be releasing more eggs. Furthermore, if a person with a uterus is currently taking birth control, they should continue to do so during perimenopause. If they are not on birth control, they should use an additional form of contraception for protection. It is also necessary to keep track of menstrual cycles in order to determine when it has been 12 months since the last cycle. Scheduling regular gynecological visits is a great way to help ensure that any rogue pregnancies will be detected early.
What If I Take Birth Control Before Realizing Im Pregnant
The main time you might take birth control while pregnant is while you didnt realize you were pregnant.
Hormonal birth control is almost 99% effective when used properly. And if you take birth control pills, the chance of missing a pill or taking it too late lowers this methods effectiveness down to 91%. So there is a slim chance of getting pregnant while taking birth control.
If you realize you are pregnant and you are on birth control, know that your fetus will be completely fine. Just stop taking your birth control or call your healthcare provider to have it removed. While never advised, birth control pills have not been shown to be associated with an increased incidence of birth defects, says Felice Gersh, MD, an award-winning OB/GYN specializing in all aspects of womens health.
No studies have looked at the effects hormonal birth control might have later in pregnancy. Plus, you no longer need to prevent pregnancy because you dont ovulate while pregnant.
Other Possible Causes For Changes In Breast Size
If you notice a change in breast size while using birth control, its important to remember that it might not be related to the pill. A number of other factors could potentially cause your breasts to increase in size, including:
- Taking certain medications besides birth control, such as a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
- Hormonal imbalances.
- Your menstrual cycle .
- Weight gain.
- Pregnancy .
Although its unlikely that pregnancy is the cause of a change in breast size while youre on birth control, its important to remember that the pill is only 99% effective even with perfect use. If you miss your period or have other signs of pregnancy in addition to bigger breasts, take an at-home pregnancy test or schedule a blood test with your healthcare provider to find out if thats the cause.
If you have any issues with changes to your breasts while on birth control, talk to your medical provider. He or she can help you find a contraceptive youre comfortable with and rule out other possible causes for an increase in breast size.
Would It Do Anything
It depends on whos taking it and why.
Transgender men, who are assigned female at birth, might or might not have a uterus, ovaries, and a vagina.
Transgender men who take hormonal birth control will find that it affects them similarly to how it affects cisgender women.
Many transgender men undergo hormone therapy, which is when youre given hormonal treatments to change your secondary sex characteristics.
This can cause you to grow facial hair and develop a deeper voice, for example.
Whether youre on testosterone or not, hormonal birth control can be used to prevent pregnancy and to help with other reproductive issues, such as heavy periods.
For cisgender men, taking hormonal birth control is a little different.
If you accidentally take one or even a few pills, nothing is likely to happen. But if you keep taking contraceptives, it can cause some changes to your body over time.
Long-term use of estrogen-based contraception can cause the breast tissue to develop. It can affect your sex drive and fertility.
Lets consider the definition of the word man. Many people think of men as having penises, and subsequently unable to become pregnant.
However, transgender men who may have vaginas and may be able to become pregnant are men.
Although testosterone can reduce the chances of becoming pregnant, its still possible to conceive on the medication.
Menopause And Birth Control: When Is It Time To Quit
Menopause can be a distressing, confusing time for many women. Its a natural part of life, but the timeline may vary between individuals with a uterus. You may have several questions about what this process entails, which is totally normal! The following article will provide some insight, particularly in terms of how to manage birth control use as you approach menopause.
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The Standard Days Method
In research by Georgetown University, this has been shown to be as effective as a natural contraceptive method and equal to the diaphragm and condom.
When you use this approach you identify the 12-day fertile window in your menstrual cycle, taking into account other fertility factors such as the variation of ovulation timing from one cycle to another, the lifespan of an egg and the lifespan of sperm .
The Effects Of Hormonal Birth Control On Your Body
Most believe that hormonal birth control serves one purpose: to prevent pregnancy. While its very effective compared to other forms of birth control, the effects arent just limited to pregnancy prevention. In fact, they can even be used to help treat other health concerns such as menstrual relief, skin changes, and more.
However, hormonal birth control isnt without side effects. As with all drugs, there are beneficial effects and potential risks that affect everyone differently.
Birth control pills and patches are dispensed only with a prescription. Hormone-based contraceptives are available in many forms, including:
Each type has similar benefits and risks, although how the body responds is up to each individual. If youre interested in birth control, talk to your doctor about which type is most effective for you. Effectiveness is based on how consistent your birth control use is. For example, some people find it difficult to remember to take a pill every day so an implant or IUD would be a better choice. There are also nonhormonal birth control choices, which may have different side effects.
If the pill is used perfectly defined as being taken every single day at the same time the rate of unplanned pregnancy falls to only one percent. Skipping your pill for one day, for example, will increase your risk for pregnancy.
What Are Alternatives To The Pill
If youre not confident you can remember to take a daily pill, talk to your healthcare provider about these other birth control options:
- Etonogestrel implant .
- Depo-Provera® progestin injection .
A note from Cleveland Clinic
The birth control pill is a highly effective way to prevent pregnancy when you take it consistently every day. The pill can also lower your risk of certain problems, such as uterine and ovarian cancers, migraines, and acne. Some women experience medication side effects like nausea, though this is usually temporary. You may need to try several different brands of the pill before finding the one that works best for you. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about the pill.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/21/2020.
If Youre Looking For Symptom Or Condition Management
Many transgender men use hormonal birth control to manage certain symptoms.
Just like cisgender women may use the pill to reduce hormonal acne, regulate periods, or reduce mood swings, trans men might use it for the same reasons.
For some, menstruation can trigger gender dysphoria.
Gender dysphoria is the distressing feeling that your gender identity doesnt correlate to the sex you were assigned at birth or to the way you look.
Transgender men often look into using birth control to stop themselves from menstruating.
While testosterone can affect the menstrual cycle, many people still bleed from time to time while using testosterone. Hormonal birth control can help prevent that.
Reduce Serotonin And Melatonin
The pill can interfere with your bodys methylation process by reducing methyl donors, thereby, leaving women deficient in hormones like serotonin and melatonin . An estimated 20% of people are slow methylators anyway so adding the pill to that mix can be disastrous for their well-being, leaving them edgy and anxious all day long, then unable to get a good nights sleep.
What Do I Do If I Missed A Birth Control Pill
The pill works best if you take it every day on schedule, but almost everyone on the pill forgets to take it sometimes. Knowing what to do when you miss a birth control pill is important.
Heres a handy tool to help you figure out what to do if you miss a pill. Youll need to know the brand name of the pill youre on in order to use this tool. You can find the name on your pill pack or by calling your doctor or the drugstore where you got it.
If you cant find out the name of your pill, use a condom anytime you have vaginal sex until you can talk with your nurse or doctor. If youve already had sex in the last 5 days since making a pill mistake, you may want to use emergency contraception.
If youre on Slynd and you miss 1 white hormone pill, take your missed pill as soon as possible, and then take your next pill when you were normally supposed to that might mean taking 2 pills in 1 day. If you miss 2 or more white pills, take the most recent pill you missed as soon as possible, and keep taking 1 pill a day until you finish the pack . If you miss 2 or more white pills and have penis-in-vagina sex within the next 7 days, use a backup method of birth control . If you miss 1 or more green reminder pills, just throw away the green pills you missed and keep taking 1 pill a day until you finish the pack.
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The Heavy Toll Of Oral Contraceptives On The Brain
You may already know that birth control pills have been shown to cause problems with blood pressure, and they increase the risk of blood clots and strokes, especially if you smoke or have a history of migraine headaches. But did you know that birth control pills also affect your brain and psychological well-being?
Research shows that taking birth control pills causes structural changes in the brain, alters neurotransmitter function, and messes with mood regulation.
- Brain structure: A 2019 study found that the hypothalamus in women taking oral contraceptives was about 6% smaller than in women who werent on the pill.
- Neurotransmitters and moods: Scientists from Denmark found that women ages 15-34 taking oral contraceptives were 23% more likely to start taking antidepressants for the first time than those who werent taking the pill. In fact, bouts of depression have been reported by 16-56% of women taking the pill, which depletes the neurotransmitter serotonin.
- Other neurohormones: Birth control pills also elevate cortisol levels and lower testosterone levels . And low-testosterone problems can remain even after stopping oral contraceptives, putting you at increased risk for long-term sexual and brain health/mental health problems.
- Microbiome disruption: Synthetic birth control can also disrupt the gut microbiome.
Taking The Pill During Perimenopause Whats Good To Know Should You Choose The Pill
For a woman in her 40s starting or continuing on the Pill, we have three basic recommendations.
1. First, ask for the lowest-dose birth control pill options available today when talking to your healthcare provider.
2. Second, apply the basic healthy hormonal support guidelines detailed above to the extent you can.
3. Third, keep track of how you feel on the Pill.
If a perimenopausal woman really wants to continue to use the Pill or start the Pill and it seems right for her, I recommend trying the lower-dose pills now available. The most common birth control pill prescribed by my colleagues for women in this situation tends to be the Loestrin 1/20 or Loestrin 24 pills they are low-dose, regulate periods nicely, and contain the least anti-androgenic progestin all of which minimizes any decrease in libido and seems to have the fewest side effects overall. Its also available in several generic forms at lower cost.
While theres no perfect solution for every situation, were fortunate nowadays to have a range of birth control options for women. These include not just oral contraceptives but other options that can be very attractive for women in perimenopause.
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Most Common Birth Control Pill Side Effects
The oral contraceptive pill, commonly referred to as the pill, is a form of hormonal contraception taken by approximately 12 million women in the US each year to prevent pregnancy.1
The pill is a highly effective method of birth control when taken correctly , with only 0.1% of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy, according to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals around 1 in 100 women taking the pill experience an unintended pregnancy in the first year of pill use.1,2
However, pregnancy rates increase dramatically in women who miss a pill .2
There are two types of contraceptive pills, both of which contain synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen and progesterone .3 Combination pills contain both of these hormones, whereas the mini pill known as the progestin-only pill contains only the hormone progestin.1
The pill may also be taken for non-contraceptive medical purposes to address issues such as:3,4
The pill is a type of hormonal contraception that is taken by around 12 million women per year in the US to prevent pregnancy and for other medical reasons.
- Regulation of menstrual periods
- Decreasing the risk of breast cysts, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease and pregnancies in the fallopian tubes.
Oral contraceptives are also used as a method to prevent ovarian and endometrial cancers. Birth control pills do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.1,3,4
What Are The Risks Of Smoking While Using Birth Control
Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on January 4th, 2021
There are risks associated with both smoking and oral contraceptives, and mixing the two can be a deadly combination. Smoking is known to restrict ones blood vessels, causing blood clots that lead to cardiovascular issues. On the other hand, oral contraceptives affect the bodys hormonal makeup, making ones blood thicker than usual.
Simply put, the synergistic effects of smoking and using birth control leads to a greater risk of cardiovascular issues like strokes or heart attacks.
If youre both a smoker and a user of birth control, check out the below information about how smoking affects various contraceptive methods.
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Side Effects And Other Considerations
As with cisgender women, every form of birth control can have its own set of side effects and risks.
These side effects might be severe in some people and nonexistent in others.
For example, some people experience extreme cramps with an IUD while others have no cramps at all.
Many transgender men use progesterone-only birth control and avoid estrogen-based birth control, believing the estrogen would interfere with the testosterone or reduce its masculinizing effect.
However, theres no data or anecdotal evidence to suggest that estrogen-based birth control affects the masculinization process.
My Preferred Pill Alternative
When it comes to actual birth control you know, contraception Im a huge fan of the Fertility Awareness Method .
The Fertility Awareness Method is an effective way to predict fertile and infertile times in your cycle.
FAM is based on body signs, specifically basal body temperature, and cervical mucus, which change during each menstrual cycle in response to the hormones that cause ovulation.
The Fertility Awareness Method can be up to 99% effective if followed correctly.
This means that 1 woman in 100 who use natural family planning will get pregnant in 1 year. There are no hormonal side effects, and you can either use it as a contraceptive method or to plan when you get pregnant.
Heres a great short overview of FAM and how you can use it to prevent or achieve pregnancy.
And if you want a deeper dive into the intricacies of this birth control method, the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility will be your best guide.
If You’re Under 16 Years Old
Contraception services are free and confidential, including for people under the age of 16.
If you’re under 16 and want contraception, the doctor, nurse or pharmacist will not tell your parents as long as they believe you fully understand the information you’re given and your decisions.
Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with people under 16. They’ll encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they will not make you.
The only time that a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you’re at risk of harm, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.