The contraceptive pill in menopause: to do or not to do

It’s a mess, isn’t it, the menopause. It feels like there will be no end to it. After my battle with the Mirena I gave my body 1,5 year to clean itself of added hormones. Mentally I felt great during that time. But physically? Every period again I had enormous abdominal pains. They only lasted two days, so it was manageable, but the pain! A stabbing pain in the abdomen that even Feminax couldn’t scare away. After two days the baton was passed to the splitting headaches. Most months it took me 5 days of agony before my period broke and during those days I systematically kept the Bayer stock high. After 1,5 year of this – and several tests that proved my body to be healthy- my gp and me decided to try the contraceptive pill.

I’ll never stop taking the contraceptive pill again! Even if I have to take it till I’m 100! 

Once, ages ago, far before the Mirena, I quit taking this particular contraceptive because the headaches were bothering me then too. Along with other physical discomforts that slowly emerged over time. But, as my GP and I concluded, we can always quit again if my body protests against the added hormones. So I started with the contraceptive pill. And that went surprisingly well! For three months no pms, (my husband thanks you, dear little pill) no abdominal pains, no headaches. Wow….. no mood swings! And guess what? Gone was the menopausal acne!  I think I must have yelled a million times: Why haven’t I done this before! I felt great for 3 whole months! With one side note: I didn’t pause in the so called stop week. I took the pill every day for 3 months. After the 3 months the jury was out: I’ll never quit again! I hope to make it to a 100 years, but I won’t stop even then.

Revenge of the ovaries

And then the trouble started. I started to bleed. And to bleed even more. That stabbing abdominal pain came back. With a vengeance. The ovaries had decided the goodbye party had to be loud. My GP thought it had to do with the menopause but warned me even so: I want to see you back within two weeks if this doesn’t clear up. Of course I didn’t go back after two weeks of persistent bleeding. Why? Afraid to be called a whiner. It is only a period, get over it.  Every physical I had was clear: there was nothing wrong with me. It was all part of menopause. That damned menopause! Millions of women go through this. And you can’t handle it?  It took a visit to a gynecologist and an ultrasound to find the cause for the bleedings: endometrial atrophy.

4 to 11% of the postmenopausal women experience vaginal bleeding. This should ALWAYS be checked by a specialist.

Atrophy. A terrifying little word that means as much as a decrease in endometrial thickness, resulting in blood loss. The thickness of the endometrial should measure between 4 and 5 mm. In my case the gynecologist had trouble measuring the endometrial at all. In most cases this would be caused by a shortage of estrogens, our famous female hormones. The same ones that retire after menopause. That’s why in 60 -75% of the cases of post menopausal bleeding the cause is endometrial atrophy. But another culprit is the contraceptive pill. And just like that my marriage with the contraceptive pill was over.

Bye bye, dear little pill. I’ll never forget you. It was short but it was sweet.

It was a sad goodbye. For three short months this little pill had given me the feeling there was no menopause. I felt great for a short time. How could I know that she would undermine the health of my uterus? Exactly one week after I quit the bleeding stopped. So did the abdominal pain. Just like that.  After months of convincing myself it was all part of the menopause it appeared there was no need for continuous pain or bleedings at all. So now I’m back to clearing my body of added hormones. Again. It took two months to get a natural period again. Two days of stabbing abdominal pain and headaches included. I’m not as regular as I was before my pill experiment. But that would be the age thing, don’t you think?

2 thoughts on “The contraceptive pill in menopause: to do or not to do

  1. Jeetje joh, dat de pil bij jou deze vervelende bijwerking had, brrrrr. Ik slik ´m zelf inmiddels ook weer een jaartje (na 1,5 jaar pilloos) en ik voel me prima en heb gelukkig geen klachten. Soms slik ik ´m een keertje door vanwege vakantie en gehannes. Ik merk dan wel dat de eerstvolgende menstruatie heftiger is dan de vorige.

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