5 Things to Expect When Coming Off Birth Control
If you are reading this article you are likely considering going off the pill. Maybe it's because you have a bad case of baby fever (they are just so cute right?!) and want to start a family. Or maybe you aren’t tolerating side effects well and want to switch birth control methods. Whatever the reason, here are 5 things you can expect when coming off the pill.
This seems like a no brainer but some people aren’t sure when to expect normal fertility to return. The answer is right away. That is why it is so important to stay consistent with taking the pill when on it. If you’re not ready to conceive and still keen on stopping the pill, be prepared with backup contraceptive methods such as condoms. It is also recommended to return to a normal menstrual cycle before actively trying to conceive for better fetal monitoring, especially predicting your due date.
2. Wacky Return of Aunt Flow
It may take a few months for your period to return. Birth control works by replacing naturally occurring hormones with synthetic ones causing the hypothalamus and pituitary systems to get lazy. Once coming off birth control, it takes a little while for the body to wake up and remember how to produce the hormones on its own; this may result in a delay in your menstrual cycle.
3. Aunt Flow Doesn't Return in 3 Months With Underlying Female Conditions
There might be a reason why she hasn’t come to say hi. The pill is extremely powerful and is great at what it does. However, many females are prescribed the pill early on and only witness menstrual irregularities once coming off the pill later in life. For example, conditions like PCOS and endometriosis are frequently diagnosed in your 30s, a common time for pill cessation and actively trying to conceive. These underlying conditions are masked by the pill and only become apparent once stopped. If your period hasn’t returned in 3 months, it’s recommended to check with a health care professional to rule out underlying causes. Don't forget about the most common reason for lack of menstruation....pregnancy!
4. More Interest in Sex
Woo! When the body naturally ovulates, there is a small spike in testosterone, increasing your interest in getting it on. This doesn’t happen while on the pill because the hormones released override the body to stop ovulation and any processes supporting it. You may also notice an egg white discharge around the time of ovulation. The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) actually uses body signs like ovulation discharge to predict fertile and infertile times in your menstrual cycle. Find out more next week on Heather’s article explaining FAM and how to use it.
5. Side-Effects vs Return-Effects
In addition to contraception, many individuals go on birth control to help manage symptoms like irregular cycles, acne, PMS, and/or period cramps. However, the pill comes with it’s own list of side-effects that may make it intolerable for you. It’s sort of a catch 22. When coming off the pill, you will likely have symptoms return that made you go on it in the first place. On the other hand, common side-effects like bloating and headaches should go away.
In the end, it is important to find the perfect balance for you. If contraception is your number one priority, there are many options to explore to find the right match for your lifestyle (see last weeks’ article). Naturopathic medicine can support you while on the birth control pill and/or when choosing to come off of it. Naturopaths can help you manage symptoms such as PMS, acne, and period cramps. Speak to your naturopathic doctor or intern for more information on individualized treatments plans.
Be Empowered -> Ladies whatever your choice, know it's yours, educate yourself about your body and own it!