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Contraception after the age of 40: A guide for nurses

Sarah Kipps details what factors must be considered when advising older patients on birth control

As women age, fertility declines. Despite this natural decline in fertility and the fact that spontaneous conception is rare after the age of 50, effective contraception is still needed for women until the menopause.1 When advising women over 40 on contraception, Health Care Professionals (HCP) need to consider age-related increased risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, breast and gynaecological cancers as this will affect the choice of method. HCPs may also need to discuss other issues related to the older women such as menopausal symptoms, urogenital symptoms or sexual health issues.

This article will consider what contraceptive methods are suitable for the older woman and when a woman can be certain that contraception is no longer required. The article will also briefly discuss menopausal symptoms that can affect a woman’s sexual health and how to promote good sexual health in older women.

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