Ask The Experts: Birth Control Pills
Q: Is it safe for a woman to be on birth control pills for more than 20 years? What are the long-term risks, if any?
A: Most healthy women can use the pill from adolescence through the perimenopause years without concern. With the help of “the pill,” women now can transition more gracefully through all phases of reproduction – from teenage acne to perimenopausal hot flashes.
With so many formulations available, a “fit” can often be found for most women, with most side effects resolving within the first few months of use. Current formulations even allow the user to exercise control in selecting the length and frequency of their menstrual cycles. Since the pill is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, women can use the pill with confidence. It’s important to discuss birth control options with your healthcare provider, and also monitor how you do on them, because although rare and influenced by a number of health and lifestyle factors, some serious side effects can occur, including stroke and blood clots.