You might be surprised to know that birth control pills are safe for many women over 35. However, there are a few important things you should know. Some birth control pills are not appropriate for women over the age of 35 because the risk for cardiovascular disease in women increases around this age. Since taking estrogen has been linked to increased risk of stroke and some birth control pills contain estrogen, many healthcare providers are reluctant to prescribe birth control pills with high levels of estrogen to women 35 and older. This risk is increased further for women who:
- Smoke, especially if you have more than 15 cigarettes a day.
- Are overweight, especially if you have a body mass index of 30 or more.
- Have high blood pressure.
- Have diabetes.
- Have high cholesterol or a family history of high cholesterol.
- Experience migraines.
For women over 35 with the above risk factors who want to avoid birth control options that contain higher levels of estrogen, there are plenty of other options. These women might prefer a progestin-only contraceptive, such as Jolivette, Norethindrone, or the Depo-Provera injection. Our team of medical experts can help you find an option that will work for your needs.
For women over 35 who do not have the above risk factors, taking oral contraceptives does not carry an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. What’s more, taking birth control pills has actually been shown to decrease your risk of both ovarian and endometrial cancers, meaning the benefits can potentially outweigh other risks. That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee made a statement saying that women over 35 with no risk factors are completely safe to use any form of oral contraceptives if they wish. A member of our medical team can help you choose your contraceptive and find a birth control method that’s perfect for you.