8 things that happen to your body when you stop taking birth control pills

Going off the pill can be quite chaotic. So, here’s a guide to prepare you for the chaos.
birth control pill
It's okay even if you missed your birth pill alert. Just calmly follow these expert-backed tips. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Sonakshi Kohli Published: 17 Nov 2019, 21:15 pm IST
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Blame it on the lack of pleasure while having sex with a condom or on your reluctance on getting an intrauterine device for contraception—there are a variety of reasons why women take oral contraceptive pills.

“Oral contraceptives may contain individual or combinations of hormones like oestrogen and progesterone, which can prevent pregnancy through different ways,” says Dr Nupur Gupta, consultant gynaecologist and director, Well Woman Clinic in Gurugram. 

“They usually stop the process of ovulation in women or change the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg. The can also thicken the lining of the womb as a result of pregnancy not taking place,” she further explains

However, once you quit, your body is bound to go through many changes. Here are a few:

1. You might get pregnant

If you’re under the impression that it’ll take a while for the extra hormones from the pill to flush out from your system and you can enjoy unprotected sex without getting pregnant till then, you’re highly mistaken.

The truth is that the hormones exit your body within a few days. The disruptions in your menstrual cycle and mood swings happen due to the fact that the hormone-producing glands, which are suppressed while you’re on the pill, take some time to start functioning normally again. So, yes, you can get pregnant soon after you quit the pill.

In fact, according to a 2013 Danish study, a woman can get pregnant within days of quitting a progesterone-only pill and within a year if she’s been on a combination pill (containing both oestrogen and progesterone).

2. Those zits might make a comeback

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Apart from preventing an unwanted pregnancy, oral contraceptives may also keep hormonal acne and excessive facial growth in check by lowering the level of male hormones. They consequently decrease oil secretion as well.

“Medications which contain a combination of oestrogen and progesterone can completely get rid of hormonal acne and excess facial hair,” Dr explains Gupta.

This is exactly why many dermatologists prescribe them to curb these skin problems.

3. Your menstrual cycle could go haywire

If you’ve quit the pill after meticulously finishing the 21-tablet pack, then your chances of getting irregular periods might be low. However, if you’ve just abruptly stopped in the middle, you’re likely to get your period immediately after.

Additionally, you can experience spotting and even cramps during the month. And you could even experience a heavier blood flow during your period according to Dr Gupta. According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, a woman’s period may be irregular for up to three months after she stops taking the pill.

4. High libido might welcome you with arms wide open

As per a review published in the International Journal of Reproductive Medicine, many women report having a low sex drive while on the pill—thanks to its hormone-stabilising effect. But once you get off it, be prepared to have the time of your life in the bedroom.

5. You may experience mood swings

By now, you must have come to terms with the hormonal frenzy from birth control pills. And having dealt with periods for so long, you also know how this frenzy can cause so many mood swings. But, take a chill, if you’re off the pill–because these symptoms will eventually go away. You will get back to your happier self once your body gets back to its normal state post quitting oral contraceptives.

6. Your bra size might drop

If for some godforsaken hormonal change, your breasts grew bigger when you started taking the pill, be ready for some disappointment because your lady jugs are bound to go back to their original size.

7. Good news: Your weight might also drop

Thanks to the bloating-causing potential of the oestrogen hormone, many women experience weight gain while they’re on the pill. So, extra kilos are bound to leave you alone for good once you quit.

8. Your bones might have to pay the price

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that many women experience a drop in their vitamin D levels when they stop taking birth control pills.

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