Contraception around the menopause



This is a big topic - but I thought it might be worth starting the conversation with a couple of key points.

Menopause is a process that happens gradually over time - contraception does not interfere with this process but it may cover up the signs, for example, women who are on the combined pill might continue to get monthly bleeds in the pill free week even after they have gone through the menopause.

When to stop contraception? Most of the guidelines say that you do not need to use contraception if you are over 50 and have had no periods for 1 year. But, if you are on a hormonal method that artificially stops your periods like the mini pill or IUS then it can be difficult to know whether this applies to you and it can be difficult to assess when to stop these methods. There are different strategies to use in this situation. Some women prefer just to remain in the contraceptive method (if it suits them) until 55. After that the risks of pregnancy are really low and it is fine to stop. Some women will prefer to go for a hormone test - this can help to find out if you are still producing an egg each month but you will often have to do one test and then wait for 1 year and then do a second test. If they both show that you are not ovulating then it is usually advised to stop contraception.

Which method of contraception is best around the time of the menopause? All methods of contraception can be used at this time - so as usual it is a process of trial and error and, of course, avoiding methods that might cause a health risk. Older women are more likely to maybe suffer from problems such as blood pressure which can make some contraceptive methods unsuitable - but if you are fit and health there is no reason why you should not use any of them.

It would be good to hear the experience of others. Is there a particular method of contraception that has worked for you at this time?

Many thanks