Know Your Birth Control Options
In Your 40s and 50s
What’s on your mind
Since you’re perimenopausal, your big question is probably “Do I even need birth control?” Short answer: yes. “More than 50
percent of pregnancies over age 40 are unplanned,” says Streicher.
Methods to consider
Any Hormonal Contraceptive
They not only prevent pregnancy but also help regulate your menstrual cycle, which can become unpredictable as your body’s
own estrogen production slows down, says Migliaccio. Some doctors prefer low-estrogen pills, progesterone-only pills, or the
non-estrogen Mirena for perimenopausal women.
If you’re certain you’re done with child-bearing, hysteroscopic sterilization might be for you. One common procedure, called
Essure, involves your doctor placing two tiny coils inside your fallopian tubes with the help of a camera inserted through
the cervix. “Your body’s tissue grows around the coils in about three months, closing off your tubes,” says Basinski. The
procedure takes about 10 minutes and requires no anesthesia (you may get a Valium to relax you and a shot of lidocaine to
numb your cervix). After three months, you’ll need a hysterosalpingogram, an X-ray in which dye is flushed through the fallopian
tubes to confirm that they are blocked.
Cost: $3,000 to $4,500; may be covered by insurance.
So maybe you can’t change your health overnight. But you can get a head start.