Most women of childbearing age use some form of contraception (about 65% of women ages 15-49). Not surprisingly, the majority of women who use birth control do so to prevent pregnancy.
But about 14% of those who use birth control pills use the pill for a reason other than pregnancy prevention.
If and when you decide to go off your birth control, many of the reasons you started taking it return. Our expert medical team at the Center for Women’s Health in Wichita, Kansas, shares what you need to know about what you may experience when you stop taking your birth control.
You could get pregnant
You may be thinking, “Well, of course.” But the important thing to note is that it could happen much sooner than you think. Many women believe that if they’ve been on the pill for years, it takes a while to get out of their system.
Not true. Most women return to normal ovulation within a month or two. In fact, one study found that 20% of women got pregnant in their first cycle after stopping birth control.
So if you’re still not ready to get pregnant or you’re quitting your current method of birth control to switch to a new one, take precautions if you’re in an intimate relationship.
You may experience acne breakouts
One of the benefits of being on a combination birth control pill, one that contains both estrogen and progestin, is fewer pimples and better skin.
Once you go off the pill, you may experience breakouts, especially around your menstrual cycle. You can prevent or minimize these breakouts by using facial products that help combat acne.
You may have irregular or heavier periods
Another benefit of birth control is that your periods are regular, so you know what to expect when it’s that time of the month. Or in the case of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), you may not get your period at all.
When you stop taking your current method of birth control, your period will return, but it may not be as regular or as light as it was when you were using birth control.
You may lose hair here and grow it there
Some women experience temporary hair shedding when going off the pill while their bodies adjust to new hormone levels. Others may also experience hair growth in unwanted places such as their face, back, or chest because of an increase in androgen, a male hormone suppressed while on the pill.
Fortunately, these hair growth changes usually subside within a few months after you go off the pill.
You may be in the mood more often
While the hormone fluctuations may have adverse effects such as hair growth in unwanted places and acne, they can boost your libido. For women who found that their sex drive took a dive when they went on the pill, those same women may be friskier once they go off of it.
Are you thinking of stopping your birth control method or switching to a new one? Call us at the Center for Women’s Health to get more information on birth control options and what to expect if you stop using your current form of contraception. You can also request an appointment through our online system.
We offer telehealth appointments, too. Please call our clinic to determine if your visit is eligible for a telemedicine appointment.