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Perimenopause and Birth Control
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An_255354 posted:
I will be 51 in two weeks and experiencing premenopausal symptoms. I have been on birth control for 24 years. I went to my family doctor a few days ago and discussed my symptoms. He is sending me for blood work to check my hormone levels. He told me depending on the results, I maybe able to go off the birth control. I've read several articles that suggests this is not a good idea. I'm confused, and certainly do not want to get pregnant at my age! Is my doctor on right?
Can I safely go off my birth control?
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Mary Jane Minkin, MD responded:
Dear An_255354,
When you say "birth control" I presume you mean birth control pills. Unfortunately, to get a true picture of your own hormonal levels, you need to be off of brith control pills for
about a month; so blood tests obtained while you are on the pill won't tell you much. I encourage my patients to be off of the pill for a month, and then get their FSH and estradiol checked. If you have a normal FSH and estradiol (ie, not in menopause) it is fine to go back on the pill-if you are feeling symptoms, you might want to try a different pill. If indeed the blood work looks menopausal, you can stay off of the oral contraceptives, and consider hormonal replacement therapy for the symptoms. As far as the contraception issue, if the blood levels are in the menopausal range, you are all set. If you are not menopausal, you still need to use contraception, although pregnancy at this point would be extremely unlikely.
Good luck,
Mary Jane