Dr. Karen Pike’s Perspective on Menopause And Birth Control Pills

Dr. Karen Pike's Perspective on Menopause And Birth Control Pills

The relationship between birth control pills and menopause is an interesting one indeed. Before we get to that, let’s look at some statistics. Approximately 16.6% of women using birth control pills are in the 15-19 age group. About 19.5% of the pill users are 20-29 years of age, 11% of them are between 30 and 39, whereas only 5% of the users are 40-49 years old. Now, coming to the topic, what’s the relationship between birth control pills and menopause?

Many believe that birth control pills. Is there any truth to this statement? You may be keen to know how birth control pills delay menopause, right?

To discuss this vital topic, we had Dr. Karen Pike enlighten us with her valuable knowledge. Before we get to the topic, here’s a brief introduction about our guest. Dr. Pike is known for her invaluable contributions to the medical field. One of her remarkable achievements is the awareness she attempted to spread among women globally about menopause through her informative writings published on her website, Simply Menopause. So, let’s get started.

Interview with Dr. Karen Pike 

Hello. Dr. Pike, we are delighted to have you with us for an informative discussion on the relationship between menopause and birth control pills. Your endeavor in spreading awareness among women about menopause – which is of top priority – is commendable. We cannot wait to hear your input on such an important topic like this. So, without any delay, let’s get to the topic right away.

Question: Do birth control pills delay menopause? 

Dr. Pike: Thank you for having me over to discuss such an interesting topic, which I often keep researching. Many of my patients, in their mid-40s, often ask me this question. If I were to answer this question briefly, I would say NO. Birth control pills aren’t responsible for delaying menopause. 

Suppose you are on the combination pills – a mix of estrogen and progesterone. In that case, the chances of concealing or masking several menopausal symptoms, like irregular periods, night sweats, hot flashes, mood issues, etc., are even higher.

This is because of the artificial cycle created by the body because of the pills that make it challenging to identify the decline in the reproductive hormones – estrogen and progesterone.

That’s why even if you’ve reached the menopause transition age, you may still experience regular periods when you are on birth control pills. Perimenopause isn’t delayed; it may have begun, but it is not visible because of the pill’s action.

Question: How will I know if I am in menopause when on birth control pills? 

Dr. Pike: A lady once said that she was almost 51 and was quite amused that she still didn’t experience hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms that her friends already had. On probing, I got to know that she had been on birth control pills for a long. Besides other suggestions, I asked her to stop the pills and see the effect it has on her periods and overall health.

I would advise the same to all of you as well. If you are of menopausal age and have no symptoms yet, stop taking the pills for a while and check the regularity of your periods.

Your periods may become regular or stop for good if menopause has started. You could even begin experiencing hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms that you didn’t when on the pills.

However, if you are still menstruating, it is advisable to take other forms of birth control when stopping the pills until menopause is confirmed. Otherwise, you could get pregnant, which may be a hassle if you don’t want to.

Question: Do birth control pills come with benefits? 

Dr. Pike: You will be amazed to know that birth control pills not only function to control pregnancy. They come with a whole lot of other benefits also. I have mentioned some of the pointers below about the utilities of birth control pills. Let’s take a look:

  • They help in lessening the severity of menstrual bleeding and may even regularise your period and make it less painful.
  • For those with PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome), birth control pills effectively lessen symptoms like breast soreness, acne, bloating, weight gain, and mood swings.
  • The pills’ ability to balance the hormone levels lessens the episodes and frequencies of menstrual migraines.
  • One of the long-term effects of these pills is their effectiveness in making one less susceptible to uterine cancer. It has been mentioned that women on combination pills have a reduced risk by around 50% of getting uterine cancer.
  • Birth control pills even help prevent the formation of ovarian cysts and may also stop pre-existing cysts from growing further.
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding may often manifest into anemia. These pills help make your period lighter by preventing ovulation. In this way, when on the pills, especially the combination ones, you are at a lessened risk of increased bleeding during your menses.
  • The reduction in estrogen levels leads to hot flashes that approximately 80% of women experience when transitioning into menopause. The combination of pills containing estrogen and progesterone helps to compensate for the low estrogen levels. This leads to fewer incidences of hot flashes.
  • Birth control pills containing estrogen are effective in strengthening bones and improving your bone health. Findings have shown that women with long-term contraceptive usage during premenopause will have increased bone density by about 2-3% when they reach menopause than women who don’t use pills at all.

Though I have elaborated on the utilities of birth control pills, if you decide to take them for bettering your skin, bone health, or menses, never do that without consulting a doctor. The pills have their sets of side effects as well.

Question: Do all birth control pills mask symptoms of menopause? 

Dr. Pike: This is another question many women ask. The combination pills are more effective in concealing the menopausal symptoms. However, the minipill or progestin-only pill may not hide the menopausal symptoms in a way the combination pills do.

Suppose you are on a mini pill that contains only progesterone. In that case, you will more likely experience irregular menses, hot flashes, and other menopausal symptoms, especially if you are in the transition period. A patient once asked me if she should take progestin-only or combination pills for birth control. Well, one can take the progestin-only pills if:

  • They do not wish to use contraceptives containing estrogen.
  • They are above 35 and smoke. The combination pills may thicken your blood vessels, while smoking may make your vessels constricted. So, you could be at a greater risk of strokes and heart attacks.
  • They have any pre-existing heart ailments or are more susceptible to blood clotting problems.

I would suggest before taking birth control pills, seek your healthcare provider’s consultation, who will help you select the pill that may suit you the best.

Question: What other birth control options do you choose other than the pills? 

Dr. Pike: If you are nearing menopause and are in two minds about birth control pills, you may go for other options as well. These include:

  • IUDs (intrauterine devices)
  • Implants
  • Vaginal rings
  • Contraceptive patches
  • Barrier methods (internal and external condoms, cervical caps, sponges, and diaphragms)
  • Surgical procedures like tuber ligation and vasectomy are performed on women and men, respectively.

The implants and IUDs are the most effective of the abovementioned methods, with close to 99% accuracy.

Q. So, which pill is a better option for me, combination pills or minipills? 

Dr. Pike: If I were to discuss from the menopausal perspective, minipill or progestin-only pills won’t mask the symptoms, unlike pills containing estrogen and progesterone.

However, talking about their effectiveness from a generalized standpoint, both the pill types have their pros and cons. Combination pills may control your periods in a better way than minipills. 40% of women on minipills go through irregular periods, which isn’t the case for combination pills.

Moreover, estrogen-progesterone pills come in more varieties than the progestin-only pills. So, before deciding upon the pills that would be apt for you, consult your medical expert. Also, when nearing menopausal age, the combination pill may mask the symptoms more than the mini pill.


So, this was Dr. Pike’s invaluable opinion on the link between birth control pills and menopause. Here are some more words from her to her readers. ” I hope you will benefit from this interview of mine. What’s the most essential aspect for menopausal women is awareness regarding their symptoms.

When that is achieved, a lot of problems get sorted. If you are unsure if menopause has begun when on birth control pills, stop them for a while and check your symptoms. If perimenopause or menopause has already started, the symptoms will show up in a couple of months after stopping the pills. If all of these confuses you, seek a healthcare provider’s assistance. 

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