It's not you, it's me. (All about the Pill)

So, you’ve decided that you want to ditch all types of hormonal birth control and wing it on your own. How will your body react?

It’s a good questions to ask and one that has a lot of possible answers. A relationship with hormonal birth control can last a long time, even outlasting a relationship (or two). A hormonal IUD can last up to 6 years, and some women are continuously on the pill for many years.

So, when that time comes to say adieu to a certain birth control method for another, or choosing to completely ditch any type of hormonal birth control all together, you may be wondering how your body is going to handle the break up.

How Birth Control Actually Works

birth control woman holding plant


Most birth control pills have a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are used to prevent ovulation (the releasing of your egg during your monthly cycle). If you don’t ovulate then you can’t get pregnant, it’s pretty simple.

The pill also works by thickening your cervix mucus, making it hard for the little swimming sperm to make their way into your uterus and plant themselves in the nice warm home of your eggs.

So, how will coming off the pill affect your body? Let’s find out.

Coming Off The Pill

Many women choose a hormonal birth control method, such as the pill, for added benefits such as having lighter periods and less severe period cramps. If you’ve ever been on the pill or you’re thinking about giving it a go one day, then you should know that there are both pros and cons to the birth control medication. Pros being that you’ll react really well to the symptoms and cons being that you won’t.

But, what about when you come off the pill?

Everyone’s body will react differently when coming off the pill. You’ll more than likely return to your pre-pill period normal. So, if you did experience heavy periods and intense cramping each month, have that heat pack ready.

However, if you’ve been on the pill for a long time, say since your early teens, then you may find that when you come off the pill your periods will have changed. If you had a heavy flow, it might now be lighter, or vice versa.

A helpful tip - a period tracking app can be super helpful, especially if you experienced irregular periods pre-pill. After going off the pill the hormones from the pill will be gone in a couple of days, but your normal menstrual cycle will most likely return after one or two months.

You may also experience changes in your body, aside from the changes in your period, after going off the pill. This is completely normal and happens to almost all women who come off the pill. Here are just a few changes you might experience:

  • Progesterone and estrogen will be flowing more freely, and that means your breasts might feel more swollen and tender when you are ovulating.
  • You may notice your skin isn’t quite as clear as it was on the pill. The pill suppresses testosterone - which can be skin unfriendly.
  • Your mood may change due to the sudden hormonal change.
  • Some women experience weight gain on the pill, so when you come off of it you may notice that you lose a bit of weight.
  • You might feel more frisky in the sheets! The pill can actually suppress a woman's libido, so many women find they are more in the mood after they say goodbye to the pill.

Like we said, these are normal. However, if you find that you notice any lumps in your breasts, you can’t get your mood under control and you are starting to experience depression or anxiety, or your weight is drastically changing, then make sure you speak to your doctor.

Also, if you were using the pill to prevent pregnancy, be sure to use a different method of birth control. Experts say you can get pregnant immediately after you have gone off the pill. Non-hormonal methods of birth control include condoms, the copper IUD, and the diaphragm.

What If I Want To Go Back On It?

If you find that you want to go back on the pill after you ditched it, then that’s completely okay! You can go back on the pill at any time. Speak to your doctor about your concerns and find out what the best course of action is for you and your happiness.

Depending on the time frame you’ve been off birth control for, you may experience birth control symptoms when you start taking it again. These can include:

  • Random spotting throughout the month. This is usually normal and nothing to be concerned about, however, if it persists make sure to see your doctor.
  • Some women experience migraines or headaches on the pill.
  • Weight gain has been reported as a symptom of birth control, and can vary depending on the person.
  • Your mood might be a little erratic to begin with as you will experience a change in your hormones, but this will settle.
  • Some women experience missed periods. Again, this is normal but if it persists, speak to your doctor.

At the end of the day, your happiness is all that matters. If you want to ditch the pill for a different option, talk to a doctor or do some digging online to find the best option for you.