What women have to know is that they must expect menopause sometime in their lives. When it comes to menopause and birth control pills, there are several points worth noting.
There are quiet a few benefits that you can expect from the pill, besides not falling pregnant. Birth control pills can help you when you experience symptoms such as, irritability, night sweats and hot flashes.
An important aspect to note is that a woman on the pill is producing hormones that are at greater levels to what the woman’s ovaries can produce naturally.
When any woman experiences menopause her ovaries just shut down and they don’t produce progesterone or estrogen in required quantities. For a woman in menopause and birth control pills -who take the normal three-week fashion active pill, followed by the normal one-week inactive pill, frequently, will not experience the symptoms of menopause. She will probably have no idea that she is experiencing menopause because of the continuous monthly cycling and the adequate estrogen.
During the time that the woman is not on her active pill, the woman may even have a withdrawal bleed- the estrogen level dropping all of a sudden usually causes this. The other thing is that a withdrawal bleed can very easily be mistaken for her monthly period. However, if a woman is continuously taking birth control inactive pills; it will only be taken one week in every 12 weeks instead of 4 weeks. This means that she will experience a withdrawal bleed once in four months.
If a 50 year-old woman is taking continuous birth control pills, she will not experience night sweats and hot flashes, because her pills are providing estrogen in adequate quantity. However, the woman may experience some, if not all of the symptoms in the week when she has to take the inactive pills, but as soon as the symptoms intensify and become more noticeable, the woman will be on her active pills. When she finally realizes what these symptoms actually are she will not be very happy to know that it is menopause.
How the pill helps - The pros
Another thing about birth control pills is that it seems to reduce a woman’s bone density loss. If the woman is getting enough calcium and doing exercises, a low dosage of birth control pill can help build bone density.
Women taking the pill seem to experience a lesser amount of iron deficiency. Studies have been conducted and suggest that a woman in menopause and birth control pills are protected against ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and breast disease.
Women, experiencing menopause without the birth control pill stand a greater chance of getting ovarian cancer compared to women experiencing menopause and birth control pills. The risk decreased to 40 percent, and even further, as the pill usage increased. For example in case of women taking the pill for eight years or more, their risk of ovarian cancer decreased between 60 and 80 percent.
Other studies also indicate that birth control pills might or can protect a woman against rheumatoid arthritis, colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and uterine tumors.
The down side is that birth control pills have always been known to increase the risk of blood clot formation, which could lead to a stroke. If you are a woman who has normal blood pressure, are a non-smoker, and take a low dosage of birth control pill, the risk involved is almost zero.
Why does a woman not just remain on the birth control pills and enjoy the benefits of HRT, known as hormone-replacement therapy?
It may be useful to note that taking a low dosage of birth control pills can provide you with five times more – maybe even seven times – estrogen compared to HRT.
What Hormone-Replacement Therapy does is that it basically gives back to the body what your ovaries produced before menopause shut them down. The pill delivers a hormone dose so large and enough to switch off the ovaries. In other words, Hormone Replacement Therapy will be her best bet. She will be provided with all the benefits, with a low hormone dose.
If you want to find out if you are going through menopause, you could stop taking the birth control pill and see if you get your monthly ‘cycle’. But be aware that if you are still sexually active, there is a chance that you could become pregnant.
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