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Women's Health Channel
Reported March 5, 2013

Safe Contraception for Women Over 40

 

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Even though women over 40 experience a decline in their fertility, they still require effective contraception if they want to avoid getting pregnant.  Based on current evidence, a recent review article outlines the risks and benefits of various contraceptive methods for these women.  
 
The benefits of using contraceptive methods outweigh the risks for most types used by women over the age of 40. There are also safe options available for women with risk factors for complications.  The World Health Organization considers several methods as “top-tier,” including progestin implants, copper IUDs, and sterilization. 
 
"Clinical judgment will be required to balance the risks and benefits when a woman has multiple medical conditions.  The availability of safe, effective options suggests that estrogen-containing methods should increasingly be used with caution in older women who have cardiovascular risk factors,” Dr. Rebecca Allen at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and at the Women and Infants Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island, was quoted as saying. 
 
Some patients worry that oral contraceptives increase their risk of cancer; however, studies have not shown a negative link between the two.  Actually, the use of oral contraceptives is associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.
 
Oral contraceptives can also have some additional non-contraceptive benefits for women who are over 40, such as diminishing hot flashes and alleviating heavy menstrual bleeding in perimenopausal women.
 
Diaphragms and condoms are also an effective contraceptive, because failure rates are lower among older women than younger women.
 
Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal, March 2013
 
 
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