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Advice about Birth Control
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Advice about Birth Control
I have been feeling the old urge, but for a long time have not
been satisfied with birth control methods. At 45+ years of age, I
am wondering how careful I have to be? My husband will only have
intercourse w/orgasm if he knows I'm on the pill, but I have been
various levels of hormone and ALWAYS have breakthrough bleeding,
sometimes for two weeks! When I upped the level of hormones I had
both breakthrough bleeding and bloat and weight gain. Argh. My
husband insists that he's satisfied with other forms of sex (oral,
manual, pulling out during intercourse), but I have to say that
I'm addicted to intercourse up to and including orgasm for both of
us. With variations, to be sure... Anyway, I've tried diaphragms
(gave me bladder infections), creams (yick), condoms (mate doesn't
like 'em)... Help me out here, ladies and gentlemen. My husband
won't go for the snip-snip, by the way, and I am not interested in
forcing him. Can I perform without a net at my age?
The answer is a cervical cap -- a wonderful device which is
has many of the advantages of the pill (you can be
spontaneous) with none of the chemical side effects.
Cervical caps can be inserted up to 24 hours before
intercourse, you do not need to reapply contraceptive
substance, and you can leave it in for up to (I think) 24 hours
afterwards. It's not as large and intrusive as a diaphragm,
and does not cause bladder infections the way a diaphragm
can. Not sure where you can get one these days, but they
are a great solution that millions of European women use.
If you're using the ''pull out during intercourse method'' you're already ''performing
without a net.'' There are lots of sperm present before orgasm. That's how I got
pregnant at age 21.
happily post menopausal now
What about an IUD?
I have had one for a year, and I love it. I am 40.
Yeah, sure, have sex without birth control -- if you want to be
a mom again at 45.... (sounds like a lot of work to me, and your
kid would have a real high risk of being born with Downs or
other genetic problems, but hey....)
If you're still menstruating, you can still get pregnant.
If you are really averse to both barrier and hormonal methods,
you might look into Natural Family Planning, which is very
effective but also a considerable committment of time and energy
(you have to be taught how to do it,and then you have to apply the
methods Every Single
Day without screwing up....)
The highest rate of unintended pregnancy after teens is in
women over 45! I'm a family planning nurse practitioner and
know a lot about all the methods and a lot about the
consequences of not using them. Have you considered an IUD?
They are extremely safe, extremely effective, and extremely
convenient. There are 2 IUDs available, one with and one
without hormones, they are effective for at least 7 years, and
it takes 5 minutes to put one in. I'd be happy to email with
you separately if you have concerns.
If you're still having regular periods, or even irregular
periods, there is still a chance that you could get pregnant.
You could have your doctor check you FSH level, but even if it
were high (which means you're moving towards menopause) the
level can vary from day to day, so it's no guarantee. There are
two other birth control methods that are less available, but
very effective when used properly. The cervical cap is like a
small diaphragm that creates a seal with your cervix, so sperm
can't get through. It's not as large or awkward as a diaphragm,
and doesn't have the same risk of urinary tract infections
because it doesn't usually put pressure on the urethra. A newer
form of birth control is called the Fem cap, which is kind of
like a cervical cap except it's made of polyurethane (not latex)
and is much easier to fit. You can find practitioners who are
trained in fitting these at www.femcap.com. I believe that most
planned parenthoods fit for both devices.
The snip-snip is so simple it's ridiculous. I can't understand anyone's refusal to
take this option, given all the downsides to the alternatives -- it just seems selfish.
I didn't give it a moment's thought (I'm 45 and had it done four years ago). Perhaps
your husband just doesn't have enough information and is scared by what he
doesn't know. Suggest to him that he at least look into it -- read up on the
procedure, talk to others, including a doctor. I don't think you want to force him
(whatever that would mean) or make him feel guilty, but he owes it to the both of
you to at least make a good faith effort to look into it. This is not your problem or
I'm 40, finished with childbearing, and I love my copper IUD!
No hormones, no bloat, no acne, no daily pill -- really, no
birth control worries for the next 10 years. The only side
effect was that my periods were extremely heavy for the first 6
months after I got the IUD put in, and I had to wear double
tampons AND pads for a few days each month. To my mind, it was
well worth it. IUDs are very safe these days ... the Dalkon
Shield gave 'em a bad name, but the technology has changed.
Talk to your gyno. And I definitely would not assume that you
can go without birth control at 45 ... that sounds like leaving
the door open to a surprise pregnancy, unless you had a very
No more pills!
My husband and I use condoms. Not the optimal way, but they work.
My husband also would not get a vasectomy. I'm done with
diaphragms (did them most of my single pre-baby life), not
interested in the pill, so condoms seem to be it, other then
abstinance, which at my age is not a bad idea!!
There are condoms made from animal skin so they are more
natural feeling than latex. They're a bit pricey but really do
make a difference in ''energy exchange'' of skin to skin. You can
certainly have great ''other'' sex, ie: not intercourse, and not
have to worry about b.c., but why have to make that a rule.
Your husband won't get a vasectomy and doesn't like the way
condoms feel! hmmmmm....somethings gotta give here!!
Have you considered an IUD? I had one put in last year and I
LOVE it. I have gone from (preIUD) 5-7 days of heavy flo to 2
days of spotting a month. (I got the Mirena IUD. I understand
that the Copper T IUD is supposed to make flow heavier... though
my friend loves hers.) My husband and I are quite pleased as we
don't have to worry about condoms, and all of the bad side
effects I was having with the pill (my bp was starting to get on
the high side) have disappeared. It can remain in place for
years so you won't have to worry about it for a long time.
pg worry free.
A Mirena would be a good choice, especially if you've already had
children. It's a small, soft IUD that slowly releases small
doses of the hormones found in the Pill, but because they go
right to the target, you get less systemic side effects. It
lasts five years, and is even more effective at preventing
pregnancy than the Pill.
No more kids for me
Use birth control unless you would consider a pregnancy and/or
abortion. I have two friends who were already diagnosed as
infertile couples and adopted children five or more years ago,
and both found themselves giving birth for the first time in
2004 at the age of 45. You could try tracking your fertility
cycles and work around them (see ''Taking charge of your
fertility'' by toni Weschler), but keep in mind that as you
approach menopause your cycles will fool you in an apparent
attempt to get nature to run its course.
I have been happy with my iud, tho you'll have to determine if it
is the right thing for you. I had it inserted when I was 40 (am
now 45) and like the idea that it will last for 10 years, and I
likely will be post-menopausal at that point. I have seen plenty
of 45 and 48 year old mothers at my prenatal clinic, so I
wouldn't count on lowered fertility, based on age alone. Another
thought might be to do some kind of fertility awareness, where
you track when you are fertile. Then you will have part of the
month when you don't need birth control, and part of the month
when you can do other stuff...
I got pregnant at about your age because a did not have any
contraception in place after the birth of my third child. Since
then, I've had an IUD inserted and am very pleased with it: I
never think about contraception, do not feel anything and have
sexe without any worry.
It's worth it.
I'm in my late 40s and my husband and I have been using a system
for the last few years that (so far) is working well. I have
very regular periods, so I reckon ovulation is most likely very
regular too, on day 14, probably. On the tenth day of my cycle
(the tenth day from when my period started) I start using a
diaphragm with spermicidal jelly for the next ten days. I'm also
not overly fussed about leaving it in for 8 hours. I will do so
if asleep, otherwise if I'm up and about 4-6 hours I estimate
probably does the trick. The other 18 days of my cycle we use
nothing. Works for us and the sex is great.
Of course, this is a gamble, but I'm counting on that regular
period, and the fact that my fertility is likely very low by now.
Good luck on whatever you decide.
middle aged woman who also loves sex
Read Taking Chargeof Your Fertility. Toni Welcher. It can really
educate you about your body and when you are ovulating so you
can know if it is safe or not to have unprotected sex
Try the nuvaring. It offers the same protection as the pill
with fewer side effects. You can read all about it here:
I highly recommend it. However, it is a little pricey depending
on your health insurance plan. Kaiser will cover it if you get
your doctor to write it as an exception. If you have to buy it
out of pocket I think it runs around 42.00/month from Longs.
this page was last updated: Oct 2, 2012
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