What Happens When You Go Off The Pill? Science Says You Can Expect Any Of These 8 Symptoms
There are countless horror stories out there in regards to switching and/or ditching birth control altogether that had me borderline terrified of ever parting with a monthly pack. Recently, however, a friend of mine decided to cancel her own monthly prescription, and I had some questions. She told me that, in her experience, the transition period in which your body switches gears and goes back to its own unique way of dealing with the female anatomy isn’t actually as rough as the rumors suggest. I guess what happens when you go off the pill will really depend on your individual body. How it reacts might also have something to do with the way the pill handled your menstrual cycle prior to oral contraception.
The fact that we can even put pregnancy on hold through contraception is a miracle, but once you cut ties with something as internally involved as the birth control pill, your body now has free reign to do its thang whenever and however it wants. The effects may not be immediate, but keep in mind your body is now completely readjusting itself to produce hormones and initiate menstrual cycles without any help.
I think it’s safe to assume that, because our bodies are all so different, expecting the unexpected isn’t necessarily a bad approach, at least for the first few cycles after the fact. And, though this should go without saying, always be sure to consult your doctor about what's best for you and your body. But if you're wondering, here are a few common things that can happen to your body when you stop taking the birth control pill.
1. There's A Good Chance Your Skin Could Break Out
Acne and I have been at odds since sophomore year of high school. Throughout middle school, I never experienced a single PMS symptom aside from cramps, and then high school hit, and so did the forehead pimples.
Going on birth control, though, I noticed I rarely broke out aside from a blemish or two around the time I bled, which meant one of two things: Either I started to use all the right products, or going on birth control my senior year cleared up my skin.
Unfortunately, if you were prone to breakouts prior to the pill, chances are, once you stop taking it, acne will have its revenge. This is because most oral contraceptives are combination pills pumped with estrogen and progestin that lower the skin's oil levels and clear it right up.
Now, of course, adult acne is the pits, but it's not the end of the world. You don't have to rush back onto the pill to ward off blemishes. Instead, experiment with skincare products and probiotic supplements to manage hormonal acne.
2. Your Boobs Might Feel A Bit Tender Before Your Period
At least you can drown acne in serums, creams, or even go the old-school route and coat them with toothpaste to dry out the suckers. When your boobs hurt before your period, there's not a whole lot you can do aside from wearing ultra soft fabrics and avoiding all physical contact in that area.
The pill is meant to regulate a woman's hormones, which means alleviating this sort of discomfort. Once you hop off the pill, though, progesterone spikes before your cycle in order to stimulate your milk glands, which means, regardless of whether or not your eggo is preggo, your nipples are preparing for feeding.
3. You Might Even Notice A Spike In Your Sex Drive
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Some women experience a literal dry spell on the pill. The synthetic hormones in oral contraception can cause a dip in testosterone, and combined with the fact that you don't ovulate on the pill, it can cause a major rift in your sex life.
Some women can even lose interest in sex altogether, or experience vaginal dryness that prevents them from having intercourse. If this sounds familiar, you may be in luck. Going off the pill can reverse these symptoms, meaning a higher libido may be in sight.
4. Mood Swings Might Improve, Or Not
Got mood swings? Same.
Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD, MBA, assistant professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, tells Elite Daily that changes in irritability will ultimately depend on how your hormones worked while on birth control.
So if you were temperamental AF prior to birth control, there's a good chance you'll feel those same mood swings after you stop taking the pill, too.
5. Don't Be Surprised If Your Cycle Becomes Irregular And/Or Intense
Think back to the years before oral contraception was a part of your life. If prior to this point, you suffered from debilitating cramps, irrational mood swings, and a flow worthy of the highest absorbency maxi pads, don't be too surprised if and when these symptoms resurface.
Here's the thing: Birth control pills suppress raging PMS (or, at least, they're supposed to). So while you're popping pills every month to regulate your cycle, you're also keeping PMS symptoms from spiraling out of control. But ovulation means your body will most likely experience irregularity and quirks. It comes with the territory, and it's completely normal.
Thank goodness for heating pads, chocolate, and ibuprofen, amirite?
6. It May Take A While For Your Period To Come Back
When going off the birth control pill, some women can expect irregular periods, while others will have a normal, regulated cycle. The third possibility is that you may not see a period for quite some time. This may, or may not, be an issue.
Cosmopolitan UK reports that because the body is re-establishing its natural cycle and producing its own hormones again, "periods may take a while to return." Yikes.
While irregularity is definitely normal under these circumstances, if your period doesn't come back after six months of radio silence, speak to your physician ASAP.
7. You Could Develop Fibroids
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a fibroid is a benign tumor that can develop in and/or around the walls of the uterus derived from genetic or hormone-driven causes.
Oftentimes women will hop on the pill to prevent fibroids from budding, which means opting out opens a window of opportunity for the little boogers to sprout up again.
8. There's A Good Chance You'll Actually Feel Yourself Ovulating
Prepare yourselves ladies, because if you think you feel like a woman now, just wait until you've experienced ovulation for real.
For some women, the tell-tale signs for ovulation are pretty subtle. For others, the effects come on strong, including symptoms like pelvic discomfort, vaginal discharge, and an extreme burst of sexual arousal.
Dang, the human body, amirite?!