What Happens When You Go Off the Pill?

Quitting birth control is a highly personal choice, just as much as the decision to start taking birth control. You can expect your period typically to come back in three months, according to the Mayo Clinic, and you should see side effects fade in the same time if not sooner. Every woman reacts differently as her body goes back to normal. While you probably won’t feel all of the symptoms your doctor will outline, these are a few of the things you might expect.

Sex may be more fun.

Hormonal birth control can cause vaginal dryness that leads to discomfort or pain during sex. If the pill is the cause of your vaginal dryness, the joy of sex may return once you’ve stopped taking hormones. Just remember to talk with your doctor about other forms of birth control unless you want a pregnancy.

You might get pregnant right away.

Some women stop taking birth control because they are ready to start a family. While you can get pregnant immediately after going off the pill, it can take several months and more than a few attempts. Don’t panic if there’s a delay, and don’t believe the myth that you won’t get pregnant because your body needs a few months to flush away the hormones. Your cycle may need a few months to get back on schedule.

You won’t recognize your “normal” period.

Your period will go back to the way it was once you stop taking the hormones that have been regulating your cycle, but that return can take months. If yours wasn’t regular every month, it won’t be regular again. And even when things settle down, you may find your “normal” period is very different from what you were used to in the days before the pill. Periods naturally change throughout our lives.

The pre-menstrual blues may hit.

You may see the PMS issues you had before starting the pill return in full force. Birth control pills can hold the period issues of depression, irritability, and tension at bay, but moodiness can return when you stop taking the hormones.

Your sex drive may be stronger.

Some women report having a higher sex drive when they go off the pill because hormonal birth control causes a dip in testosterone levels that leads to a lower sex drive and more discomfort during sex. Other women say their sex drive drops when they stop taking hormones. That may be because you’ve forgotten what your normal desire was like before the pill. You may find that your natural baseline sex drive has changed as so many things do. Your new normal may be way different than what you remember.

The scales may go up or down.

Research debunks the notion that everybody will lose weight when they go off the pill. A third of women who stop taking oral contraception lose weight, but a third gain weight and a third maintain their exact weight, according to studies. Weight lost is probably water weight, since the pill can cause you to retain water.

Your hair might fall out or grow back.

Large clumps of hair can fall out with the fluctuation in hormones that come when you’re starting or stopping birth control. For women who had hair loss related to hormonal imbalances before starting the pill, stopping the pill can cause this condition to return. At the same time, if you are one of the women who started the pill to help stop unwanted hair growth, you’ll probably see growth start up again once you stop taking the hormone.

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