7 Things That Happen To Your Body When You’ve Just Come Off The Pill
The Debrief: You thought it would be easier than this, didn't you?
It’s been the leading form of contraception for the last 55 years, with around 100 million women worldwide using it. And we fought freaking hard for our right to take it. But recent conversation around the contraceptive pill has been pretty scary.
A new study found that the pill might actually change our brain structure, affecting the areas that help us regulate emotions. It might also make men who would otherwise be seen as unattractive appear to be good candidates for boyfriends, husbands, etc.
Recently, a 21-year-old died after suffering from a pulmonary embolism her parents claim was caused by taking contraceptive pills. Scary stuff. Also, there’s a new pill for men to be released soon, which apparently won’t contain hormones – so maybe we won’t need to take the birth control pill for very much longer.
Having been on the pill for the majority of my teen and adult life, I’ve wanted to stop taking it for a while, as I was getting worried about all the random hormones I’ve been ingesting day after day. Having recently split from my long-term boyfriend I thought this would be as good a time as any, but soon found myself dealing with a cyclone of withdrawal symptoms I hadn’t been prepared for.
Considering my doctor told me not to bother coming off the pill and to just stay on it – minus any advice for what to expect coming off it – I spoke to some pros to find out what to expect if, like me, you come off the pill after being on it for ages.
‘What women have to be aware of is we are all as chemically different on the inside as we are physically different on the outside, so no one’s experience will be exactly the same,’ cautions women’s health and lifestyle coach Karen Austin.
That said, some things you can expect once you stop taking the contraceptive pill…
1. It’s going to take a while to go back to ‘normal’
You’ll bleed when you first stop the pill, but this will be a non-ovulatory bleed – just like when you’re taking your breaks from the pill, explains Dr Yahya Ibrahim.
For things to return ‘to normal’ may take a while longer.
‘You may not have your period for a few months, or you might experience irregular periods or ones that last longer than usual,’ says Karen.
2. Yes, you can get pregnant straight away
Just like how if you miss a pill or two you can get pregnant even while still technically being on the pill, you can get pregnant pretty much instantly after you come off it.
‘Don’t be fooled that you are not ovulating even if at first you experience no periods. Make sure you’re using other forms of contraception,’ says Karen.
3. Anything you had before will come back
Many people go on the pill for reasons other than just not wanting to get pregnant. For many, the pill alleviates (horrific) period pains, PMS and clears up skin problems.
Bad news: stopping the pill will most likely cause all of these symptoms to return.
4. Your skin might actually get worse
Due to the fact that the pill lowers your testosterone levels, some women can experience acne breakouts when they come off the pill, says Karen.
Dr Ibrahim, on the other hand, suggests that your skin might actually clear up. ‘Many people say that starting the pill makes their skin break out, so it’s actually one of the more common side effects.
‘Stop the pill – hello clear skin!’
5.You’ll get horny again
Did you know that being on the pill could make you lose interest in sex? Yes, really! Coming off the pill raises your testosterone levels, making your libido come back to life. Hurrah.
Although, depending on your reasons for coming off the pill – aka if you’ve just come out of a relationship – this isn’t great.
6.You’ll probably lose weight
‘Some people put weight on around their boobs, some around their bum when they started [the pill], and some didn’t. In any case you’ll go back to normal generally speaking,’ says Dr Ibrahim.
‘The majority of women – including my self – noticed slight weight loss, less bloating and smaller breasts after coming off the pill,’ agrees Karen.
I concur; I stopped the pill a few months ago and shrank significantly.
7.Your risk of deep vein thrombosis decreases
According to Dr.Ibrahim, taking the pill greatly increases your chance of developing deep vein thrombosis, which is a life-threatening condition. Once you stop taking the pill, this decreases.
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