You asked, we answered: How old is too old for birth control?

Woman sitting on porch


Q: How old is too old for birth control? Especially if it's being used for cycle regulation and NOT for contraception?

Answer from OB-GYN Jean Amoura, MD

We recommend that people who wish to avoid pregnancy continue to use contraception until the age of 55 or when they become menopausal (one year with no period, not using any hormones which could affect periods). While pregnancy is rare among women over age 45, these pregnancies often carry greater maternal and fetal risk. Most methods of contraception are safe during these later reproductive years, though women in this age group might have chronic conditions that make certain methods inadvisable. Patients should discuss their reproductive plans with their provider to help weigh the risk of an unintended pregnancy with the safety of effective contraception. 

Women use various hormonal methods to help with cycle control or to minimize or stop menstrual bleeding. It is reasonable to continue a method that is providing good effects until age 50. At that time, counseling is individualized for each patient about the risks, benefits and other options available if she is not needing the hormonal method to prevent pregnancy.