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Low dose birth control pills
vtxcskier posted:
I'm 46 and have been taking low dose birth control pills for several years. Roughly 8 out of my last 10 periods have been unusually heavy, and some have started two to four days before they should/normally have.

My doctor doesn't think there's any cause for concern. She also thinks I should continue taking my low dose birth control as a way to ease potential pre-menopause systems. I'm concerned about the change in my periods and I'm wondering if I will know if pre-menopause has begun if the pills are "masking" its onset. What are your thoughts?
Mary Jane Minkin, MD responded:
Dear vtxcskier,
Do not worry about masking the onset of perimenopause; there is really no medical reason to know if you're there. The major reason to go off of the pill, to see where you are, is could you be done with menopause; it is possible-and if you're not, and you have lots of symptoms, you can go right back on the pill. The other good reason to find out if you are menopausal is that if you are, your periods are gone! and then you don't have to put up with heavy periods. So I would suggest going off for a month or two, and seeing what happens. Do use another form of contraception, however-because although fertility diminishes at 46, it's not 0. If your periods are heavy, I would suggest an evaluation to see what's going on-could you have developed a small fibroid pressing on the lining of the uterus, or perhaps a polyp? a test such as a sonohysterogram would give you information.
But I'd probably go with stopping the pill for a month or two, to see where you were in this process.
Good luck,
Mary Jane
vtxcskier replied to Mary Jane Minkin, MD's response:
Perfect plan, Dr. Minkin. Thank you so much!

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For more information, visit the North American Menopause Society website