Family Planning

Ask Sofia: How long do I stay on birth control?

This is a great question and one we hear regularly at Clinic Sofia! The quick answer is that if your birth control is working for you, without any issues or side effects, you can likely continue it until you reach menopause or no longer need birth control, with some exceptions.

Birth control pills that contain estrogen, for example, are not recommended for women over 35 who smoke or have high blood pressure, among other medical conditions. In addition, some studies have shown that prolonged use of birth control can increase the risk of breast or cervical cancer yet decrease the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.

“Birth control is a really important topic to cover every year when you meet with your doctor,” said Dr. Deb Krahl. “You will want to assess your current and long-term plans, how you are feeling and any potential risk factors. We also are aware of newer options, which could be an even better fit.”

Taking a few months off from birth control methods does not offer any reported benefits, and can lead to unplanned pregnancy. If you are planning to get pregnant in the future but are using birth control now, the good news is that hormonal contraception does not influence fertility and most women conceive within one year.

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