Stop The Birth Control, Watch Your Body Change

The introduction of a birth control method into your body – aside from condoms, of course – will likely mean observable changes to it, too. This is true whether you choose pills like Ortho-Tri Cyclen Lo, vaginal rings, intrauterine devices, or shots. The changes can include tender breasts, nausea, and weight gain, to name a few.  

It then makes sense that when you stop taking any of these birth control methods, your body will also undergo changes. But since everybody is different, your own reactions will be different, too, so it’s best to discuss these matters with your doctor in case you have lingering concerns.  

Increased Chances for Pregnancy

Don’t be complacent that it will take a long time to become pregnant after stopping the pill because it isn’t so. Research has shown that pregnancy rates for women who stopped taking the pill and women who used barrier methods (e.g., condoms) are almost the same. As much as 96% of women who previously used the pill became pregnant within a year after stopping!  

Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Before you started taking the pill, patch or shots, your menstrual cycle may have been regular like clockwork. But when you stop taking it, you may experience an irregular cycle, which can take a few months before it can become regular again.

But if you had irregular periods pre-pill and then enjoyed regular periods during the pill, you will probably experience a wacky cycle again. The reliable schedule – or in the case of many women, the long breaks between periods – is due to the synthetic hormones in the pill.

If your period completely stopped, as is the case for shots, it may take a few months for them to come back. Your regular periods will then come back and so will your chances for pregnancy.  

Issues with Periods

Due to the withdrawal, so to speak, of the hormones in the pills, shots, and patches, you will also likely have issues with your menstruation like:

  • Heavier menstrual flow with more abdominal cramps and lower back pain
  • Pre-menstrual syndrome may also come back; the pill usually contains ingredients that reduce feelings of irritability, depression, and anxiety
  • Weight loss can happen, typically among women who use progestin-only pills, injections, and IUDs (But don’t go off the pill just to lose weight since a healthy diet and exercise plan is more effective)
  • Unwanted face and body hair, as well as acne, may return; the pill is also sometimes used in correcting hormone imbalances
  • Headaches may disappear
  • Libido may increase although only in a small percentage of women; the rest report decreased libido

Before stopping the pill, you are well-advised to seek your doctor’s approval first for safety reasons. At the very least, you can anticipate these changes and deal with them in a better manner.  

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