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Started irregular periods after 45 years old. Can I have unprotected sex?

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OBGYN, Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Practicing since : 1979
Answered : 79 Questions
I am 47 years,from last few months my period cycle is nearly 45-60 days.How to calculate the safe period?Earlier my cycle was 28 days but after the age of 45 it became 45-60 days.Can I do unprotected sex now?
Posted Wed, 31 Oct 2012 in Menstruation and Miscarriage
Answered by Dr. Nirja Chawla 55 minutes later
The average age of menopause in India is around 47.6 years. This is the median but menopause can happen anywhere between +/- 5 years of this median. So you are in what we call the peri-menopause phase.

Menopause is that phase of life when periods stop and the ovaries stop producing the female hormone, estrogen. This diagnosis of menopause is a retrospective diagnosis - this means that if no period has come in the last one year in this age group then the patient is said to be in menopause.

Around this time two things are considered normal: delayed periods with/without scanty periods. So there is no need to worry about your delayed periods. If the periods become heavier than before or begin to come more frequently - this is considered abnormal in peri-menopause and one needs to check out with the gynaecologist.

The delay in the periods occurs because of delayed or absent ovulation (release of egg). In a 28-day cycle the egg release occurs on day 12-14 of the cycle or one can say about 14 days before the next period. However, when the cycles are delayed, one cannot predict when the ovulation is going to occur. Therefore the Safe Method of contraception becomes highly unsafe. Please don't have any unprotected sex. This has caused great misery to women in this age group because an early pregnancy gets missed - the patient presumes its a delayed period and doesn't check for pregnancy early enough to abort this unwanted pregnancy.

It is advisable to use contraception for 2 years after menopause. So once your periods stop completely and have not come for a whole year, then the last period date would be called the age of your menopause. From this age for 2 years, freak ovulations can occur and result in pregnancy with unprotected sex.

The best contraceptive method at this age would be to use a Double Barrier - condom for husband and a vaginal contraceptive pessary like 'Today' for the wife - EACH time you have sex.
Hope this answers your query.
Take care,
Dr Nirja Chawla
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Started irregular periods after 45 years old. Can I have unprotected sex? 4 hours later
But some people say that after 45 the chance to get pregnant becomes very less.Also for a 2 month cycle is it safe period just after the period stops?
Answered by Dr. Nirja Chawla 12 minutes later
Yes, fertility or the ability to get pregnant decreases after the age of 35 years, in fact, and more around the time of menopause.
The Safe Period is before Day 8 and after Day 18 in a 28 day cycle.
Theoretically, immediately after period stops it should be safe to have sex but it will depend upon how long the bleeding lasts.
The best advice, however, is to use some form of contraception till 2 years have passed after last period and not to take any chances.
The consequences of unwanted pregnancy in this age group can be very traumatic. So please take care.
You can skip use of contraceptives after 2 years of menopause.
Dr Nirja Chawla
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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