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Going Off Hormonal Birth Control

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Birth control makes your period come like clockwork, but stopping can throw that predictability off balance. It can take your body a few months to settle back into a regular ovulation cycle after stopping the pill.

And when it does, chances are, itll look a lot like it did before you started taking birth control. If your cycles are extremely irregular after two months, consult with your OB/GYN.

Or They Could Get Heavier

In order to prevent pregnancy, BC suppresses ovulation and stops the release of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins and other inflammatory chemicals which typically contribute to heavy bleeding and cramping during your period, says Dr. Shepherd. Therefore, when youre off birth control, the normal process of cycles is restoredwhich usually means bleeding and pain come back, she says.

Going Off Hormonal Birth Control Can Cause Post

Birth control is any type of medicine, method, or device used to prevent pregnancy, but sometimes, birth control is also used to regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce hormonal acne, treat PCOS or premenstrual syndrome , and increase bone density. But when some people decide to discontinue their use of hormonal birth control, they experience what’s called post-birth-control syndrome .

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Your Period Might Be Heavier And Less Regular

One of the biggest benefits of the pill is that it regulates your menstrual cycle. “Birth control pills typically lighten periods and decrease pain associated with periods,” said Dr. Bhardwaj. When you first stop taking oral contraceptives, it’s not unusual for your period to be a little unpredictable in terms of how heavy or light it is, how long it lasts, or how crampy you get.

“Some women who have been on the pill for many years assume their cycles are very regular,” said Dr. Klein. “But when they stop the pill, they learn their cycles are not as regular as they thought.” After two or three months, your period should return to normal, Dr. Klein added.

Another surprise guest that could reappear when you quit the pill? PMS. “This is a big reason why many women go on birth control in the first place,” said Dr. Dweck. If you originally started taking the pill to ease PMS, don’t be surprised if symptoms like moodiness and irritability become more noticeable now that you’re off it.

How Do I Get Off The Birth Control Pill

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Im continually amazed by the sheer volume of women I encounter who are ready to part ways with their pill , either because their sex drive has plummeted or completely disappeared, they are finding that sex has become painful, they are experiencing other side effects like gut problems, chronic yeast or urinary tract infections, hair loss, irregular periods and maybe even amenorrhea .

All of these symptoms are very clear signals from your body that something is wrong. They might be statistically normal but I promise this is not the way your body was designed to function.

You may not be one of these women who experiences symptoms and instead youre ready to come off because you want to get pregnant. Thats great too! I do recommend waiting at least six months after coming off the pill before trying to conceive because you want to make sure your body is in prime shape to nourish a baby. Additionally, there is evidence that women who conceive immediately after coming off the pill are more likely to have premature deliveries.

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Your Blood Pressure May Change

If youve ever looked up the side effects for combination birth control, you may have noticed that high blood pressure is usually listed. Thats because hormonal birth control, particularly types that contain estrogen, can potentially increase blood pressure, according to ACOG. Of course, not everyone experiences changes in blood pressure while on birth control. Its also possible that your blood pressure may have increased only slightly, so it didnt raise any red flags during physical exams. But all of this could explain any dips in blood pressure after stopping hormonal birth control.

Anxiety After Stopping Birth Control: What You Need To Know

Anxiety is a mood disorder with physical and psychological effects. It impacts everyone differently but is usually characterized by intense feelings of worry and concern. Anxiety symptoms are wide-ranging and include butterflies in the stomach, difficulty concentrating, nausea, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and light-headedness.

Evidence¹ shows that anxiety in women tends to fluctuate according to hormonal changes. Significant hormonal changes typically occur during puberty, the time period after giving birth, and during menopause. It is also very common for anxiety to increase before menstruation as many as 58%¹ of women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder , a mood disorder that causes severe anxiety.

There is a strong link¹ between hormonal fluctuation and anxiety. Since hormonal contraceptives like the birth control pill, intrauterine device , injection, and implant work by changing your hormone levels, withdrawing them can trigger or worsen anxiety.

It can be worrying if you have anxiety symptoms after stopping hormonal birth control, but this is quite normal. Although anxiety is temporary for many women, it is helpful to know how long it might last and when to see a doctor

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Your Sex Drive Could Spike Or Drop

Dr. Agnant previously told Health that some of her patients actually reported lower libidos when they started taking birth control pills. This is most likely due to changes in hormonal production,” she said, adding that these women usually experience an increase in libido when they stop taking birth control.

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What To Expect When Getting Off Birth Control

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Its important to note that you can get pregnant in the cycle immediately after stopping birth control pills, says Dr. Kashani, so be sure to keep pregnancy tests on hand. It may take longer than that for you to return to ovulating regularly, though, with other forms of birth control.

Once you stop taking birth control, and theoretically start ovulating again, its best to track everything related to your cycles, either with a journal or a cycle tracking app, according to Dr. Kashani. Its important to make note of the first day of your period every month, how many days you bleed and whether or not you have any spotting between periods, says Dr. Kashani. You should see if you are getting a cycle every 21 to 35 days, and if your bleeding is any different compared to being on pills.

Your period might change after getting off birth control, too. Its normal to expect a slightly heavier flow and a little bit more cramping, says Dr. Kashani. If you experience severe cramps or heavy bleeding, bring these concerns to your doctor. Its also possible that your sex drive could be higher after getting off hormonal birth controlthis is because youre returning to your bodys natural level of reproductive hormones, adds Dr. Roskin.

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How To Stop Taking Non

Hormone-free birth control options dont affect your bodys hormone signals or stop you from ovulating, so theres not much to consider when deciding to stop in terms of getting pregnant.

If youre using a copper IUD, youll have to have that removed by your OB/GYN. Once the IUD is removed, you can start trying to get pregnant with your next cycle.

As for other methods like condoms or barriers? Since they only work to block sperm while youre using them, its possible to get pregnant any time theyre not used.

When Does Birth Control Stop Working

The birth control pill is effective for as long as it is taken correctly. Other forms of birth control, such as the ring, patch, or implant, are effective for varying lengths of time up to 5 years.

Many women experience temporary hair loss for up to six months following stopping the birth control pill. This is due to increased stress hormones in the body as a direct response to stopping the contraceptive medication.

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Your Libido Could Change

Some women say birth control lowers their sex drive, possibly due to reduced levels of testosterone circulating through the body and the loss of natural peaks and valleys of sex hormones with the suppression of ovulation, notes Dr. Dweck. In this sense, one positive side effect of quitting BC could be a higher libido.

That said, others say their libido goes up on the pill due to factors like a lighter flow and the security that comes with contraception, says Dr. Dweck. Since stress is a known mood-killer, make sure youve got alternative contraception methods if need be so you can fully reap the benefits of a potential rise in sex drive.

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When To See A Doctor About Anxiety After Stopping Hormonal Birth Control

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You should see a doctor if your anxiety lasts for longer than a few months after stopping hormonal contraceptives, if lifestyle measures do not ease your symptoms, or if your anxiety is severe enough to interfere with normal daily activities.

Your doctor will assess your health and symptoms and suggest treatment options like self-help strategies, medication, or talking therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy . They might also refer you to a psychiatrist.

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Is Having A Late Period After Stopping The Pill Normal

While a late period going off the pill isn’t unusual, Dweck says to always consider pregnancy if there is a delay in the return of menses. “Typically, it is reasonable to wait three months for the return of menses prior to intervening,” she says.

Dweck also notes that the absence of menses can be accompanied by other symptoms such as acne, appetite change, breast leakage, headache or visual change, or other symptoms suggestive of pregnancy, thyroid disorder, PCOS, or other hormone imbalance.

You Want To Try A Different Kind Of Birth Control

Not everyone who stops taking one form of birth control ends contraceptive use altogether.

Many people might be interested in trying a new form of birth control that better fits their lifestyle, says Dr. Roskin. You also have the option of pausing birth control, if youre not planning to be sexually active, or using other methods of contraception while you figure out whats best for you.

If someone is not sexually active and using birth control to manage other hormonally-related health conditions, such as PCOS or acne, they may choose to pause birth control before eventually exploring other contraceptive options, she adds.

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You May Bleed A Few Days

If you stop taking a combination hormonal birth control pillwhich has both estrogen and progesteronesome tissue sheds off, which can cause a light bleed, Alyssa Dweck, MD, an ob-gyn and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V, tells Health. This is also why you get a fake” period on the Pill during the week you take the placebo pills, she explains. A withdrawal bleed, by definition, is progesterone being withdrawn and the bleeding that occurs, says Dr. Dweck. A withdrawal bleed is not technically, by definition, a period because it is not a result of ovulation. After your withdrawal bleed, you still have to wait for your real period to come.

Think that because youve been on birth control for 10 years its going to take forever to get your period back? That might not be the case: Generally, the side effects of the Pill and the impact on suppressing the hormone pathways are rapidly reversible, Samantha Kempner, MD, an ob-gyn and an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, tells Health. Even with long-term use of the combination birth control pill, most women can expect to resume normal periods quickly.

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Still no period after three months? See your docthey may want to check for issues like a thyroid condition or hormonal imbalances that could be keeping your period MIA.

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Although hormonal birth control is incredibly effective at preventing unintended pregnancy, that is not the only reason that women use birth control. Birth control is also used for medical purposes and to prevent painful, distressing symptoms associated with menstruation and fluctuating hormones. After stopping birth control, women will often see a return of these symptoms, such as increased acne, cramps, and PMS.

Birth control itself can, in some cases, lead to new symptoms that show up when a woman gets a period. Common symptoms include headaches, bloated and even weight gain. Stopping birth control will often see these symptoms cease to be an issue

Yet every woman is different and our bodies change over time. For women who have used birth control consistently since their teens and come off birth control in their late 20s, their periods may be completely different than what they previously experienced.

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How Can I Balance My Hormones After Birth Control

Every woman responds differently to hormonal birth control, and coming off birth control will affect women in different ways. As always, its important to discuss any changes you make with your doctor. If you experience side effects or symptoms that are distressing or uncomfortable, you may need to discuss alternative options.

What Can You Expect When You Go Off The Pill

Just as you experienced changes when you started taking the pill, youll notice some changes after you stop using it. Many women have irregular periods, the return of PMS symptoms and heavier flows after they stop using birth control pills.

The hormones in birth control pills regulate your period. While on the pill, most women will have their period on a regular schedule. Going off the pill can feel like throwing out the calendar. You may notice missed or late periods, and possibly longer-lasting periods. Eventually, your periods will stop altogether.

Birth control pills can also help lessen PMS symptoms like period cramps, bloating, headaches, fatigue and mood swings.

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Back Pains And Cramping

Yes, they’re annoying, but these aches are signs of exciting things happening in your body. As your body prepares to ovulate every month, the follicle on your ovary holding the egg that could become your baby begins to grow.

When the follicle ruptures and releases the egg and surrounding fluid, it can be irritating, causing cramping and lower back pain. You may even feel a quick pinch on one side of your lower abdomen when the egg matures and releases from an ovary . While these pains are no fun, they could clue you in as to when you ovulate so you know when to jump in the sack.

If you find that this pain is getting progressively worse, consult with your OB/GYN, since hormonal contraception can mask the painful symptoms of some conditions like endometriosis.

How Long Does It Last

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Most people will notice symptoms within 4 to 6 months of stopping the pill or other hormonal contraceptive.

Brighten notes that for some, these symptoms can resolve in a matter of months. Others may need more long-term support.

But, with the right help, symptoms can usually be treated.

The most talked about symptoms revolve around periods whether its no periods, infrequent periods, heavy periods, or painful ones.

Menstrual cycle irregularities can be caused by natural hormonal imbalances your body had before birth control.

Or they can be a result of your body taking its time to return to the normal hormone production needed for menstruation.

But period issues arent the only symptoms.

Because you have hormone receptors in every system of your body, the symptoms can also present in systems outside of the reproductive tract, Brighten explains.

Hormonal alterations can lead to skin issues like acne, fertility issues, and hair loss.

Digestive problems can ensue, ranging from excessive gas and bloating to traditional upsets.

People may also experience migraine attacks, weight gain, and signs of a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression.

That last one has caused some concern particularly after the publication of a large-scale

  • a whole host of vitamins, including B-2, B-6, B-12, C, and E

So, taking supplements to boost levels of the above may help symptoms of post-birth control syndrome.

You can also try regulating your bodys circadian rhythm.

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Include These Trace Minerals In Your Diet And Supplementation

Zinc, magnesium and selenium can become very depleted while on the pill. Most women are already mineral deficient when they start the pill because of the standard western diet so its crucial to start building back up your stores of these minerals. When a woman stops BC and is deficient in these minerals she might develop a series of issues.

For instance, post-pill amenorrhea is fairly common. Or you may have a very irregular cycle, where the cycle length is alternating, you bleed for a very short of period of time, theres a shortened luteal phase, theres no ovulation, or ovulation is happening twice in one cycle. It can show up in many different ways.

For a zinc deficiency, try pumpkin seeds, red meat and shellfish. You can also supplement with zinc and I recommend Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate or Pure Encapsulations Zinc Picolinate. For magnesium, include lots of dark leafy greens, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Ive also found supplementing with 300mg a day of magnesium glycinate can be very helpful too. I also LOVE Natural Calm magnesium in the evening it helps you wind down and sleep well. Take either the glycinate or the Natural Calm for your magnesium needs. For selenium, try Brazil nuts , organ meats like liver and kidney along with oysters.

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