What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control Pills?

The commencement and the stopping of birth control measures like the pill require careful planning and consultation with medical experts. Taking the medicine probably started with the idea of not getting pregnant. Times may have changed, and now may be the time to plan a pregnancy. Is it getting too inconvenient to take the pill all the time each day? Rash decisions may be counterproductive. Besides, suddenly throwing away the pills would not be advised.

Be reminded of 2 kinds of birth control pills. Progesterone or estrogen-free is the first type, while the combined hormonal has both estrogen and progesterone.

Deciding on a Different Birth Control Method

If pregnancy is not on the agenda, choosing another kind of contraception is possible. A planned pregnancy requires a pre-conception counseling session.

Bodily Changes After Stopping the Pill

Though it is natural that women fret about stopping the pill and fear the worst, an authority advises that no worry arises. Very few side effects follow the pill stoppage. Whatever effects do arise are quite short-lived. If the pill was intended to avoid pregnancy, chances of a positive pregnancy soon follow the stopping. The ob-gyn authority states that many believe pregnancy faces delays after quitting the pill, but that is not true.

Oral contraceptive pills are widely used and, in 2019, were recorded as the second most common birth control method. Even after taking medicine for years, stopping it does not raise any safety issues.

Why Stop Taking the Pill?

Women take the pill not only to prevent pregnancy. Why stop?

  • A decision in favor of pregnancy

  • Depression and blood clots

  • Vaginal infections and low sex drive 

  • Opting for a different birth control method

The pill regulates periods, too, and controls heavy bleeding and hot flashes. Not only that, the pill clears up the skin. Some women dislike periods and take pills to overcome PMS. If some such were the reasons, the problem probably resumes early after stopping the pill.

Wise to Finish with the Cycle

Rather than stop pills abruptly and right in the middle of the pack raises some risks. The cycle is interfered with, and bleeding may commence. Amidst the confusion in the uterus, bleeding may continue for 2 weeks with no way to halt it. It is not the period, though. ‘Finish the pack and then stop’ is the advice. Finishing the pack brings an understanding of the ovulation timing if the stopping was aiming for a pregnancy. The date of the period and the ovulation will be clearer. The pregnancy date will be more specific with the knowledge of the last period.

After giving up the pills, check out the cycle that should be restored in 2 or 3 months. Talk it over with the doctor if that does not happen. Some other problems may have arisen.

A further advantage to finishing the pack is to know the ovulation timing. Are you planning to get pregnant? Know when to expect your period.

Bodily Changes After Quitting

Expect an increased appetite that might result from giving up the pill, but it does not apply universally. Further, the reverse may happen after quitting if the pill leads to retaining water.

Differences arise between the lower dose and the higher dose. The low dose brings less impact after giving up.

Whatever side effects occur will not last long. The changes may impact the body for a month or two.

Irregular Periods

Some women return immediately to regular periods. Others face disturbed period schedules for some time after stopping the pills. After stopping the pill, ovulation may resume in the first cycle, but the successive few cycles may not be regular. It could be as long as 12 months before regular periods are restored. Disagreeable period-related symptoms could return if the pill’s purpose were to regulate menstruation.

Besides, periods may prolong and result in heavier flows. Birth control pills usually result in short and light period flows.

Oscillating Fertility Levels

While some experts believe that post-pill there is no change in fertility levels, others disagree. One study indicates that stopping contraception did not significantly delay or reduce fertility levels. Conversely, fertility may be lower than at the time of starting the pills. After many years of the pill, fertility naturally declines.

Losing/gaining Weight

People generally believe that oral contraceptives result in weight gain. Researchers did not find such short-term changes in a group of 150 women. They used oral contraception over a few months. Among the women were both average weight and obese. The pill does not result in more than a pound of weight gain in a year. After stopping the pill, weight gain or loss is possible. Those women who retain water on the pill may lose weight after stopping it. Other women may retain moisture after quitting due to temporary hormones, and the weight gain will not be much. Changes in appetite also could lead to weight changes.

Hair Loss and Skin Issues

Temporarily, the hormone balance changes after quitting the pill. Skin and hair conditions may change accordingly. Regarding hair, it could be loss or excessive facial hair. Acne occurs rather often after quitting.

Changing Moods

The effects are primarily physical, and significant emotional changes hardly occur. Rather, upset moods while taking the pill may reverse after stopping. If anxiety occurred before taking the pills, it might return after stopping. 

Changes in Libido

One study found that hormonal contraceptives reduced libido, but others indicated a variety of results. If the pill resulted in a weakened sex drive, now it may be higher, like around ovulation.

Make Coping Easier with These Strategies

Stop worrying about stopping the pill. Whatever changes take place are temporary. Multivitamin supplements are essential. A survey found elevated Vitamin D levels in 1600 African American women with estrogen contraceptives. Get it naturally through 15 minutes of sun exposure every day. Eat fatty fish like tuna and foods fortified with vitamin D. remember high-quality multivitamins with methyl B12, methyl folate, selenium, etc.  

Contemplating stopping birth control pills, don’t neglect to eat a balanced diet and answer the food cravings that follow. Avoid stopping the pill until the end of the current cycle. Feelings may change with the transition, whatever the cause for stopping the pill may be.

Updated on: 09-Mar-2023


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