What Can Happen When You Stop Birth Control?

Let’s be honest: Getting on birth control wasn’t a walk in the park, and you likely experienced a few bodily changes, though the side effects probably dwindled or regulated over time. Well, not to be the bearer of bad news, but we have to break it to you: Going off birth control won’t necessarily be easy, either. Just remember that everyone’s experience is different. If you have any questions, contact your doctor for additional clarification.

The Most Obvious – You Could Get Pregnant

Birth control doesn’t need time to clear your system, which means that when you stop your birth control, you could get pregnant right away. Ovulation can take up to a year to regulate, but in most cases, normalcy is expected after a month or two. So if you don’t want to get pregnant, stock up on other types of contraception.

Your Cycle May Be Out of Whack

It doesn’t matter how regular or irregular your periods were before you started BC; after you go off of it, your cycle may be wonky for a little. Expect longer breaks between periods as your hormones balance out. And if you were on a birth control method that stopped you from bleeding altogether, it could take a few months for your body to start up again. Contact your doctor if you believe it’s been too long (or if you think there’s a chance you may be pregnant).

Your Weight May Fluctuate

Not everyone loses weight when they stop taking birth control. Some women gain a couple of pounds. Others don’t have fluctuation in weight whatsoever. It all depends on your metabolism and how your body processes the lack of hormones. NOTE: Getting off BC is not a diet method. The weight you lose (if any) is likely due to the water retention you experienced while on birth control. This is not and never will be a diet hack.

Headaches May Increase or Decrease

A change in your body’s estrogen levels can increase headaches – and even cause migraines. This is especially true if you experienced headache symptoms before birth control. But the opposite could also occur. For example, being on the pill long-term may trigger headaches, so once you remove the additional hormones, your body may return to normal.

Beware of Acne and Unwanted Hair

Some women use birth control to manage acne; others use it to manage hair growth. But once you stop taking the hormones to balance those unwanted (and normal, might we add) symptoms, they’re likely to come back. Finding relief another way may be your next best move.

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