Q: Are birth control pills with estrogen safe for women over 40?
If a woman loves her birth control pill, she doesn’t need to give it up just because she has turned 40.
As long as a woman is a non-smoker, doesn’t have high blood pressure, and doesn’t have any other concerning health problems, it’s often safe for her to stay on the pill.
When a woman is in her middle to upper 40s, I often talk to her about switching to a progestin-only version. At this age, women often see their blood pressure start to creep up, making the combined pill riskier. Though this doesn’t happen for everyone.
Women who do stay on the combined pill should make sure to come in for an annual primary care appointment so that caregivers can confirm no potential problems have cropped up.
Some women in their 40s choose to switch to an IUD to help with menopausal symptoms. An IUD can thin out the uterine lining and decrease bleeding and clotting significantly. It can be a huge relief for women to not have to stress about managing heavy flows.
—Jasmin Whalen-Vu, CNM
Jasmin Whalen-Vu is a certified nurse midwife at Vancouver Clinic. She enjoys working in partnership with her patients, providing trusted information and inspiring them to make educated decisions about their reproductive health.