Perimenopausal Spotting in a Heavy Smoker
Q: I have had a problem for a while with my period. It
lasts for 5 days, then lingers around spotting for 3 to 5 days more. What is
going on? I went to the doctor and they want to put me on birth control pills
to help regulate my period, but I was afraid to take them because I am a heavy
smoker. I am 42 years old. Can you help me?
Dr. Donnica: I can only help you if I can convince you that it's
time to stop smoking. Your doctor was right in suggesting that low dose birth
control pills would regulate your menstrual irregularities and you were right
not to take them if you can't get down to under a half a pack per day of cigarettes.
You are probably in perimenopause, the 2 to 10 year period preceding menopause,
during which you can start having spotting, irregular periods and other menopausal
symptoms. Low dose birth control pills are an excellent treatment option for
women in perimenopause, but potentially serious complications of the Pill increase
by 3 to 4 times in women who smoke.
Ask your doctor to recommend a smoking cessation program to help you overcome
this MAJOR health challenge and cardiac risk factor. For specific tips on how
to quit smoking, click
Created: 9/15/2002  - Donnica Moore, M.D.