Discontinuing Birth Control Pills? You Can Expect These 8 Side Effects!
Are you afraid of suddenly stopping your birth control pills? Well, there is no immediate risk associated with stopping them apart from getting pregnant. But you might face some temporary side effects. These side effects depend upon individual health conditions, methods of contraception, and the purpose for which you took contraception.
8 Most Common Side Effects of Discontinuing Contraceptive Pills
Here’s how withdrawing from birth control pills affects your menstruation cycle, skin, libido, etc. Most of these side effects are temporary and vanish within a few weeks or months.
1. Natural Flow of Hormones Comes Back
When you take contraceptive pills, the hormones in the pills dictate the natural hormones in your body. Therefore when you stop taking them, your body returns to the natural flow of hormones. These hormones start their normal fluctuation and menstrual cycle again. Your mind and body feel a bit different after a few weeks.
2. Irregular & Heavier Periods
When you withdraw the contraception, the benefit of a regular menstrual cycle goes away for a few weeks. Birth control pills are also helpful in lightening your periods and minimizing your period cramps. These perks also disappear after discontinuing the medication. It takes a maximum of 2-3 months for your periods to return to normal.
3. Conception Within a Month or Two
If you are hoping that your body will take some time to clear the residue of birth control pills, then you are heading for a surprise. You can immediately conceive after discontinuing the contraceptive pills. Although if your method of contraception is injections, you might get some breather. But 20% of women get pregnant only after a single cycle of stopping birth control pills.
4. Acne & Breakouts
If you are on combined birth control pills, you must be delighted by the look of your skin. This method of contraception is known to clear the skin from acne as it lowers the level of androgen in the body. So it’s evident that when you discontinue these pills, your acne is bound to return. This may happen close to your monthly periods.
5. Increase in Libido
Contraceptive pills change your hormonal production, which sometimes adversely affects your libido. Hence you may feel a surge in your sex drive once you go off the pills. But some women enjoy sex more when they are not worried about getting pregnant due to the regular intake of birth control pills.
6. Sensitive Breast Post-ovulation
Contraceptive pills take care of sensitive and itchy breasts before periods. They do that by regulating the spike in the progesterone hormone, which stimulates growth in your milk glands before periods. So this PMS of the sensitive breast before periods might come back after you go off pills.
Some women may feel tender breasts while on pills. Their breast will return to normalcy when they go off pills.
7. Return of PMS Symptoms
Many doctors prescribe birth control pills to ease out the PMS symptoms. Some women feel elevated levels of depression, anxiety, irritability, and body aches before their periods. Certain methods of contraception help the body to cope with the hormonal chaos before and during periods. All these symptoms may come back when you stop contraceptive pills.
8. Significant Change in Weight
Your weight may increase or decrease after going off the pills. The kind of change in your weight depends upon your method of contraception. If your medications were helping you in controlling the PMS symptom of water retention, your weight might increase. On the contrary, you may experience weight loss in the case of the progestin-only type of birth control pills.
As stated earlier, most of these side effects of discontinuing contraceptive pills are temporary, so you don’t need to worry about any significant health issues after going off the pills. However, you shouldn’t start or stop taking birth control pills without consulting your trusted OB-GYN.
Krishma Patel is the Co-founder and the Superintendent Pharmacist at MedsNow, an online pharmacy in the UK that provides health and wellness products and treatments along with free online consultations. She is passionate about showcasing the integral function community pharmacies can play in supporting the healthcare system and the NHS by providing patients with high quality, safe and discreet access to healthcare at their convenience. Along with being the co-founder of MedsNow, Krishma is also the Director and the Superintendent Pharmacist of Enimed Ltd., an independent pharmacy group comprising 32 branches.