Ah, birth control. That magic pill that helps prevent unexpected pregnancy, minimizes our acne, and can even alleviate some of the more frustrating period symptoms, like cramps and heavy bleeding.
But maybe you need to go off your pill, whether for medical reasons, a lifestyle change, or you’re ready to get pregnant. If you’re like me, your mind immediately jumps to several nagging questions: Will I have to deal with excruciating cramps again? Will my flow change significantly? Can I get pregnant right away? Every woman is different, but here’s what you may be able to expect after you stop taking the pill:
While many women take the pill for a combination of reasons, one of the more common is to alleviate the actual experience of having a period. Let’s face it – bleeding out of an orifice for any length of time isn’t particularly fun. Personally, the pill took my irregular, super painful periods and made them short, light, and relatively painless. After stopping the pill, I noticed I have a heavier flow, more cramps than usual, worse back pain, and sore, achy breasts in the week leading up to my period.
Despite these symptoms returning, thankfully my periods have stayed regulated after going off the pill. Period tracker apps are a great idea to be mindful of your cycle and identify changes. It’s also not uncommon to experience other physical symptoms throughout the month which are related to ovulation.
Different pills have different effects on things like mental health, sex drive, and acne based on the composition of hormones included. For many women, finding the right pill takes a lot of trial and error, and stopping that influx of hormones can cause the previous symptoms to return. One benefit is that if you had low libido on the pill, it may return after you stop taking it. Which is great, except….
One of the results of stopping birth control is that you can actually get pregnant almost immediately. Since birth control is frequently a daily pill, it does not build up in your body over time. As soon as you stop taking it, you’re able to get pregnant. A good portion of unplanned pregnancies happen because a couple didn’t think they would be able to conceive so quickly. There are exceptions with methods like shots, which are meant to stay in the body for a longer period of time.
These are just a few of the most obvious changes a woman going off the pill can expect, however, every woman is different. It’s important to do what feels best for your body, and it helps to make use of technology as much as you can to keep track of everything that’s going on. Periods off the pill don’t have to be scary!