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Woman Talking to Doctor

5 Questions Every Woman Over 40 Should Be Asking Her Doctor

A Q&A with Dr. Yael Swica and Tiffany White, Features Editor at First For Women

Although entering your 40s is an important milestone full of new chapters and experiences, for many women, aging is the start of health changes. Women over 40 are typically more at risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer, and so it’s important to be more cognizant of these areas of your health going forward. Fortunately, you can easily do that by being prepared with the right questions to ask the doctor when you go in for your annual check-up or gynecological exam. We asked Dr. Yael Swica, a women’s health doctor and Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at Columbia University, what questions you should be asking your doctor:


Preservation of Fertility on the Pill

A good, very brief article on fertility published was published in the Huffington Post and I commented in response to a reader’s question about whether or not taking the pill (or any form of contraception that suppresses ovulation) preserves fertility. The comment is no longer extant on their website, but I have reproduced it here.

That is a good question. It makes intuitive sense that if you prevent the ovaries from ovulating by using the pill/ring/patch/depo/implant (all work by preventing ovulation) you can preserve or extend their reproductive life. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The ovaries and the follicles (eggs) they contain age right along with the rest of the body, regardless of whether or not you use the pill, etc. Just the same way the number of pregnancies you have does not affect when you become infertile (ovaries are quiescent during pregnancy as well). Taking the pill does have other important health advantages though, such as reducing one’s risk of developing ovarian or uterine cancer, and, of course, preventing undesired pregnancy.