birth control effects

How Your Body Might React While Getting Off Birth Control

As incredible as birth control has been for women in the modern world, it’s still a medication with side effects. People may get off of birth control because they’re trying to conceive, experiencing unwanted side effects, or hoping to be more in tune with their bodies.

The reasons someone gets off birth control are completely their own, but here are some insights into what to expect when you stop taking birth control.

Effects After Birth Control

Being on hormones, especially long-term, can certainly have an impact on your body. So, what happens when these hormones are removed from the equation?

Some people don’t notice much of a difference, while others may experience new or lessening symptoms. It depends on the person, but here are some commonly reported post-birth control reactions.

Your Cycle

One of the biggest differences you may notice when getting off of hormonal birth control is your menstrual cycle. Even if you had a period while on hormonal birth control, you were’nt experiencing ovulation, and your period cycle will likely be different after stopping hormonal birth control.

It may take a few months for your cycle to return to normal after stopping hormonal birth control and there may be a temporary delay in your ability to conceive. If you had an irregular cycle, cramping during ovulation, or painful or heavy periods, these symptoms may return once the hormones are out of your system. 

Body Image

Starting hormonal birth control can cause changes to your body, like weight gain/loss and changes in breast size. Likewise, once you go off these medications and your body starts to regulate, you may notice weight changes or changes to breast size

Mental Health

It’s not uncommon for people to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety when starting hormonal birth control.

Because of this, going off of hormonal birth control has a positive impact on many people’s mental health. Something to look out for, however, is if going off your medication brings back mental health-related premenstrual symptoms.

Other Symptoms

While not common, some people experience other symptoms when going off hormonal birth control. These typically subside within a few days to weeks but may include symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Tender breasts
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Acne or skin changes

Thinking About Going Off Birth Control?

Unless you’re hoping to become pregnant, it can be helpful to weigh the pros and cons of stopping hormonal birth control. These are some helpful questions to consider:

  • Are you using hormonal birth control to help manage painful period symptoms?
  • Would you consider getting the copper IUD?
  • Do you have a plan in place to help support your body when you go off hormonal birth control?
  • Have you talked to your doctor about the pros and cons?
  • Are you willing to commit to cycle tracking and using other methods to prevent unwanted pregnancy?

Hormonal Birth Control Alternatives

There are a few options for preventing pregnancy that don’t involve taking hormones:

  • Cycle tracking using indicators like cervical height and mucus
  • Using a basal thermometer to track ovulation
  • The copper IUD
  • Condoms 
  • Some combination of these methods

If you want to get off hormonal birth control, be sure to talk to your OB/GYN. Birth control affects everyone differently, and finding the right option for you is best discussed in detail with a medical professional.