You already know what happens to your body when you’re on birth control pills. Do you know what changes ensue when you to stop taking it? Similar to when you first started, you might be taken aback at the changes your body goes through when the pill is no longer in your system. So you don’t worry as much, we list several things you should expect when you decide to stop.
1. There may be cramping and inconsistent periods With hormones like progesterone and estrogen, the pill prevents your body from ovulating. Once you're off, you start ovulating again and the period cramps you had back when you didn’t take the pill come back, said Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine to Women's Health Mag.
You may also experience unpredictable periods since it will take your body some time before it gets back to its natural hormonal cycle, she said. Typically, your period will start three months after you stopped taking the pills, according to Mayo Clinic.
2. You will experience more discharge Vaginal secretions occur because your body ovulates. Because your body doesn’t ovulate when it’s on the pill, you don’t experience as much of the whitish mucus discharge. So now that you’re off, expect more of it especially when you’re ovulating, said ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, M.D.
3. You may want more sex Your natural menstrual cycle ups your testosterone level which also ups your libido. Hormonal contraceptives suppress these drives so getting off of them might make you want to have sex more. This is a good thing when the reason you stopped taking the pill in the first place was to get pregnant, right? And, if this is the case, here’s something else you might find useful. Research says the more times you try in an hour, the better your chances get.
4. You might lose weight It’s just a few pounds. “Science shows that a third of women lose weight, a third gain weight, and a third stay the same when on the pill,” said Dweck. The Depo-Provera contraceptive shot was specifically shown to cause more weight gain than others. If you were on this, expect to lose up to five pounds.
5. Your boobs might shrink a bit Because of the higher estrogen levels from the pill, you might have noticed your breast grew larger a little. As expected, once you’re off the pill, the extra estrogen goes and so does the extra boob enlargement you got.
6. Your PMS might get worse Yes, bad news, you might be more moody with aching breasts and a pimply face. As mentioned, the pills keep your hormones pretty much stable. Once they’re gone, your hormones will start spiking up and down again causing the PMS symptoms.
7. There’s a chance you’ll get pregnant right away “Everyone has this idea that they go off birth control and have this hall pass for a while, and that’s not the case,” said ob-gyn Lauren Streicher, M.D. In a matter of days, your body would have flushed out the hormones from the pill, implants, rings and IUDs. So yes, you can get pregnant even in the same week you’ve stopped your hormonal contraception.
Depo-Provera shots, however, can take a few months, said Dweck, but this shouldn’t be a reason for you to not be extra careful with protection if you’re not planning on getting pregnant.
Sources: Sept. 12, 2014. "9 Things that Happen To Your Body When You Go Off the Pill". womenshealthmag.com May 21, 2013. "Birth control pill FAQ: Benefits, risks and choices". mayoclinic.org Dec. 4, 2015. "Here’s What Actually Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control". buzzfeed.com Undated. "7 Surprising Symptoms of Going Off Birth Control". whattoexpect.com