St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
News Releases
About Us
Locations & Directions
Download Our Logo - ZIP
Download Photos - ZIP
Baby Bunting Photo Gallery
Release of Patient Information under HIPAA - PDF
St. Luke's Hospital in the News
News Media Contact
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment

In The News

Dr. Julie Gould, St. Luke's Hospital

Can women use birth control pills after 40?

Women commonly ask me, "At what age do I need to stop using birth control pills?" Although the answer varies for each woman based on her circumstances, a woman can conceivably use birth control pills through menopause.

The average age a woman experiences menopause (the stopping of menstrual cycles when the ovaries stop releasing eggs and produce much less estrogen and progesterone) is 51. Some healthcare providers will extend the use of birth control pills a few years past this age and then attempt to discontinue the pill altogether or reduce hormones in a step-down fashion.

As a woman begins to experience symptoms related to perimenopause (the beginning phase of menopause when she is still having periods but experiencing symptoms such as menstrual changes, hot flashes and vaginal dryness), she is often surprised when given the option of a low dose birth control pill. It is an easy method to reduce perimenopausal symptoms while providing many other health benefits. Marking 50 years this year since its approval for use in 1960, the birth control pill has been proven to decrease the risk of certain cancers, including endometrial (uterine) cancer by 50 percent, and it's been proven to provide a protective effect against ovarian and colon cancer. Birth control pills also may reduce bone fracture risk in perimenopausal women and possibly reduce acne and facial hair growth. With very low dose birth control pills, some women may even stop having periods altogether.

A physician or healthcare provider will usually start or continue a woman on the lowest dose pill possible to control her symptoms. If menstrual cycles are not controlled or other side effects occur, a different dose or brand of medication may be prescribed.

There is no known maximum number of years that someone can be on birth control pills. Each woman should review her own risks and benefits with her doctor. Birth control pills are not a safe option for some women, even before their 40s. Women who smoke and are over the age of 35, have a history of blood clotting disorders, have migraines with aura or have active liver disease should not use birth control pills.

Dr. Julie Gould is a board-certified OB/GYN at St. Luke's Hospital. Call 314-205-6788 or visit her Meet the Doctor page.

This article was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on December 2, 2010.

Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
History
Mission
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs
Assessment

Newsroom
Services
Brain & Spine
Cancer
Heart
Maternity
Orthopedics
Pulmonary
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
mystlukes
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Health Risk Assessments
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Volunteer
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
Careers
Careers
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile