Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: Do birth control pills disguise menopause?

Q. How do I know whether I'm approaching menopause if I'm taking birth control pills?

A. Oral contraceptives — which typically are a combination of estrogen and progestin — prevent pregnancy by suppressing ovulation. The hormones work by "fooling" the body into thinking it's pregnant.

Women in their late 40s often take birth control pills for an additional reason: they help control the irregular bleeding that's the result of declining ovarian function during perimenopause, the years that precede menopause.

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