Anyone have experience w/ continuous birth control (oral) & menopause?

Posted , 7 users are following.

I turned 49 in July, and have been on continuous (no placebos ever) oral contraceptives since 2001.  I've had occasional spotting over the 15 years, but very rarely.  I have no idea if the pills have spared me most perimenopause symptoms or if I'm just not there yet.  However, since June I've had bleeding (bright red "new" blood rather than dark "old" blood, and heavy for me but I think about average for most) about 1/3 to 1/2 of the time.  I've also had that kinda pulling, crampy, heavy feeling along with the bleeding.  It's becoming quite annoying given that I'm not sure why it's happening.

Does anyone have experiece with continuous birth control and menopause?  Does this seem like a normal occurrence for someone who's been on continuous birth control very long term and who is now approaching permenopause/menopause?  

Advice appreciated!

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Go see your doctor!
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    • Posted

      Thanks much for your reply!  

      I'm hoping to avoid that if this is normal peri/menopause stuff.  I'm in the US so it would be pricey, and not really in the budget at this time unless it gets scary (currently more annoying than scary).  

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    • Posted

      Hi, I agree with Sochima.  Have you been having annual examinations and pap smears? Have you been seeing a doctor in order to get your prescriptions issued?    

      I don't want to frighten you, but your symptoms could mean that something else is going on.  Bleeding can be a sign that the hormones are no longer effective, but it could also mean that you have developed endometriosis, fibroids or other problems, such as endometrial cancer.  This could be more than an inconvenience.

      Any time that your body gives you an indication that something could be wrong, you need to pay attention to it.

      Best of luck and let us know how you do!     

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    • Posted

      Hi Lynda, Thanks much!  I have been seeing both a family practitioner and a gynecologist every year, and in fact had just seen both in May, shortly before this started.  As long as I only see each of them once a year at least 12 months apart, the cost is negligible.  

      The current protocol only allows me to get a pap every three years, but as it happens this was the year and it came back fine.  In fact at first I thought that's what caused it, because I often spot for a few days shortly after a pap.  But anyway, I was given a clean bill of health by both docs.

      I will reconsider going in though.  Part of the problem is that every time I ask a doctor a question, they end up sending me for all kinds of things I don't want or need.  Quick example, literally all my life I've had a problem with imbalance.  I can't ride a bike and can actually lose my balance standing still if I'm not paying attention.  I asked why that might be and ended up being sent for I think three MRIs, another test where I was supposed to lie down and relax while they made terrible screeching sounds in my ears through headphones, and PT to improve balance (it didn't).  I didn't want any of it.  I had only asked because I was curious; I knew it wasn't life threatening because it had been as long as my parents and I could remember.  But then when she said I needed to do all this stuff I foolishly took her word for it.  It was a massive waste of time and money, it was embarrassing, and I still don't know why I have a balance problem.  Since then, I don't ask any more questions for curiosity's sake...but I will ask about this current problem, whether I decide to do it soon or at my next scheduled appointment next year (a decision I'm currently pondering).

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    • Posted

      I saw a neurologist (but not a neuro otologist).  She sent me for a total of three MRIs because they thought my first MRI showed a brain tumor (it didn't, they misread it).  It otherwise would've been just two, brain and neck.  

      I think she was also the one who ordered the other test.  I can't remember the name of it but they had me lie down with headphones and I think some wires attached to my head and the headphones squawked loudly at me and I was supposed to just relax.  I recall that they told me it took much longer than it should've and they didn't get good results because of my inability to relax.  (I mean, really?  How was I supposed to relax with that horrible noise?!!)  

      Anyway, then the neurologist sent me for balance PT which I completed, and that was that.  

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    • Posted

      I can understand where you're coming from; I'm glad that you are seeing a doctor.  What I am concerned about here, to be frank, is endometrial cancer.  As you know, I'm not a doctor.  

      From my experience, the tests that are usually run are an ultrasound to check the depth of the lining of your uterus (the endometrial tissue).  This lining is called the "uterine stripe." All the years you've not had a period may have resulted in a deeper than normal uterine stripe. And, though your gyn can palpate your uterus during annual exams, they can't tell from that how deep it might be.   Anything deeper than 4mm, then a biopsy is usually done.

      Uterine cancer has a very high cure rate, assuming it's caught early enough.  

      There are other issues also, ovarian cysts and fibroids that could be causing problems.

      As one ages, changes in the body, etc. should not be ignored. It's true that you had all those tests for dizziness; but what if a tumor or other problem had been found?  Then, there would have been an opportunity to deal with it.  

      By way of illustration, when my cancer was diagnosed, my uterine lining was at 8MM, when I had surgery, the next month, it was at 12MM, and starting to encroach on my uterine wall. 

      I'm concerned that your body is giving you a message.  You are rather young, but women younger than you have contracted uterine cancer.

      I wish you the best!   

       

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  • Posted

    Hi beckbjj, I was on the pill for 10 years, a year ago I stoped because I my hair started to get very thin and also my blood presure was a little high so I was afraid and stoped the pill, then a few months latter I started experiencing a lot of perimenopause sympthoms, palpitations, dry eye, mood swings, anxiety,stress incontinence, hot flushes etc. You name it I have it and the symptoms change frequently...in my annual appointment with my Gyne she said that I was in perimenopause, that I had been for a while but the pill hide most of my symptoms, now I understand why everything started to change so much even on the pill. I am 46 so maybe something similar is happening to you, I didnt go back on the pill because of my blood preasure the dr didn't recommend it anymore...I hope this help!

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    • Posted

      Thanks much for sharing your experience! smile  This is why I don't want to go off the pill so I can have the test to find out for sure if I'm in peri or menopause.  Lord knows I have enough palpitations, stress, anxiety, etc. without stopping the pill, yikes.  Based on your experience, I'm guessing what I'm experiencing is probably just what happens at my age to someone on continuous birth control.  

      If there's anyone else out there with additional info and/or advice to help me, I'd appreciate it!

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  • Posted

    Can i ask why you have been taking continuous birth control for so long?
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    • Posted

      I was on the standard monthly schedule (21/7) for about 15 years prior (I've been on BC pills for 31 years total), but I still had no end of problems with periods.  I was miserable with bad cramping, extremely sore breasts, etc. for a week before, then a generally unpleasant period, then for a week or more after I had to deal with extreme dryness and a very painful reaction to the pads (I'm apparently allergic to something in them).  Essentially I had one good week a month.  

      In I guess 2000 my annual exam happened to be during the week after and the doc saw the reaction to the pads, which was bad enough she tested me for herpes even though I told her there was absolutely zero chance (I was right).  At that point she said it would be okay for me to do the seasonal thing (3 months/7 days).  Then at my next appointment the following year I asked her about totally continuous and she said it would be fine, so that's what we did.  It has been an absolute godsend all these years.  I've had 15 years of feeling great all the time, and no issues at all aside from very rare, very minimal spotting.  

      A more permanent surgical solution wasn't an option for me partly because I'm a craven coward, and partly because it's elective and would've cost an absolute fortune.  And IUDs terrify me and from what I understand are a bit sketchy as far as stopping periods.

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  • Posted

    I would really consider seeing your gynae.... your period gets less as you enter menopause once you hav not had a period for a year you are in menopause befor that it's peri..... but any bleeding like you described I would rather have checked....prevention is better than cure.... goodluck

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