Unwanted 21 Days

Contraception for Older Women

In India, contraception is a tabooed topic in most households. A more insidious taboo is birth control for older women. In spite of increasing awareness on birth control alternatives, there is a distinct lack of reliable information available for contraception options for individuals above 35 years of age. Furthermore, the fact that older women have reduced fertility may lead them to believe that they do not need contraception anymore. However, the fact is that as long as a woman gets her period and isn’t on menopause, she can get pregnant. 

But why must a woman reconsider her contraception method as she enters her midlife? As women grow older, it is natural that changes occur in their physical body and lifestyle habits, which can make some contraception more helpful than others. 

Some of the factors that determine the best birth control method for a woman who is aged more than 35 include their medical history, tobacco use, lifestyle, and family planning. Based on these, here are the best birth control for 35 and older women:

  • For women whose sex life is inactive, switching to a diaphragm or condom instead of daily birth control is a good option. However, using such a barrier contraception method is less effective at preventing pregnancy than contraceptives pills. 

  • Women over 35 who smoke are at a higher risk of developing blood clots and heart problems if they use estrogen-based birth control. Switching to a hormone-free or progestin-based birth control could be a safer alternative.

  • Women who don’t want to conceive can opt for permanent birth control methods like tubal ligation where both the fallopian tubes are sealed. 

  • Women looking for a mid-long-term birth control can opt for the intrauterine device (3-5 years), copper IUDs (up to 10 years), contraceptive implant (up to 3 years) contraceptive methods.

Do women undergoing menopause require contraception?

For women who are above 50, it is safe to stop contraception a year after the last period, and women who are less than 50 years can stop taking contraceptive two years after the last period. Essentially, one needs to ensure that they are in menopause before they stop using birth control. You should consult a trusted doctor and get blood tests done to confirm menopause. Same advice for those wondering, “do I need birth control after 45?” If the doctor confirms the menopause, you do not need birth control.


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