Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What I Learned About Turning 50 (part 1)

Hey, here's something I didn't know before I turned 50.
Once a woman turns 50 years old, her doctor can't prescribe birth control pills anymore*.

That's right, sisters.  At 50, you have to choose an alternate form of birth control because you can't take The Pill anymore.

This comes as a complete surprise to me.
You would think that since I had been asking my doctor about changing my birth control every year since I turned 40 that perhaps I'd have known this little bit of knowledge before last week.  But I didn't.  Because he told me there was no reason to change a thing.  In fact, he might have said something like, "We'll have a discussion when you're 50."

That was my warning.
He didn't tell me we'll talk about it because I can't have birth control pills after 50.  That would have been useful.

During my annual checkup last week, he didn't come right out and say that I couldn't have The Pill.
No.  He started out talking about how alternate birth control methods could make menopause easier to deal with.  He spent a lot of my short office visit talking about surgical options and other methods that he didn't like and hoped I wouldn't want. 
A lot of time.
Finally, I asked, "Well, what if I just stay on the Pill until menopause is over?"
And THAT'S when he finally told me he couldn't prescribe it any more.

I tell you this so if you are not yet 50, you can start to have a more meaningful conversation with your doctor about your birth control choices before one of them is taken away from you.

*I'm not the world's best Googler, so I had trouble finding a credible source to back up my doctor's claim that he "can't" prescribe oral contraception to me.  However, the closest I could come to such a claim was an article stating that birth control pills can safely be used until the age of 50; but it didn't say woman can't take it after turning 50.


gael mueller said...

I got lucky...well, depends on how you look at it... I his menopause at @42. Had a few hot flashes (usually in front of juries!) and a lot of emotional outbursts (that really felt GOOOD!) Then it was over. No more periods, no more cramps, and a real feeling of strength about myself. I was a crone. At last!
Good luck my friend. You might talk to said doctor or anybody who has been through it about what they use. I just quit taking the stuff.

Jessica P said...

I have a copper IUD, non hormonal and i freaking LOVE her. Paraguard. she's good for 12 years, no hormones. I've had her for a while and I'll probably need one switch out in about 9 years then that's it.

You definitely don't need to be getting preggers at 50 oh my gosh.

I did not know about no birth control pulls after 50...yikes.
But if you need to consider it, IUDs really are fantastic for most women.

las794 said...

"Can't" prescribe birth control pills? That's nuts. I'm 55 & still using them to control symptoms caused by fibroids.

Roses said...

Thank you, ladies for your responses. You are lovely and wonderful for sharing.

I clearly need to seek a second opinion and get more information about my options.

Lemon Stand said...

I am almost afraid to write this, but I was 49 when a blood clot formed in my calf from the birth control pills I had been taking to help control the postmenopausal delights. I didn't know for almost a year of having calf pain and leg cramps that it wasn't a pulled muscle that wouldn't heal. I found out after it moved into both lungs. Spent a week in the hospital and the rest is probably tmi or boring, but I just wanted to throw that explanation the doctor should have given you about why doctors are leery of prescribing it after 50. My doctor looked at the MRI at a checkup then looked at me and said she was surprised I walked out of the hospital. Ask questions. Find second opinions. Everyone is different and their bodies react differently, but it is VERY important so please find someone who will actually talk to you about it. Ask questions until you are comfortable you understand all your options. (hugs btw. I was so glad to see you still blogging)

Roses said...

Thank you for writing, LS.

Yeah, that's not the kind of story I wanted to read, but it *is* important to hear all the stories.

I did go to a GYN, and she was more than happy to continue my pill prescription another year.

But more importantly, she asked ME questions. Questions like want did *I* want to do, and what would I think of going off the pill for a while to see what happens.

The older I get, the less faith I have in medical practitioners. Many of the ones I have access to practice their craft with blinders on, and if something falls outside their normal range, they just don't accept it exists and won't bother to look.