Going off the pill can be a major decision for many women, especially if the monthly blister pack of medication has served as your primary source of birth control for several years. And although most people are aware of the side effects that come with taking birth control, there are just many weird things that happen when you go off the pill. These changes can affect your body, mood, or even level of attraction to certain partners. In other words, quitting the pill can entail some benefits and drawbacks that may affect your decision to stop taking it.
Although your doctor can provide a better overview of the things that are more likely to happen in your case, these are the general side affects that women will experience when they decide to off the pill and switch to another method of birth control (or quit birth control altogether to try for a baby.) None are particularly alarming, but they may be a good thing to keep in mind if you seem to randomly drop a cup size or experience a breakout for the first time in years. Oh, hormones: is there anything they don’t affect? To get a sense of what changes may be in store for you, here is a rundown of common post-pill changes.
1. You "Feel" Your Ovulation
As Women's Health reported, it's common for women who aren't on birth control to report feelings of discomfort, pain, or even arousal during ovulation. Although these feelings are perfectly normal, they make take you by surprise if you've been on birth control for a long time.
2. You Experience Mood Changes
Although the root cause of changes in mood are often difficult to pin down, a report from wbur's CommonHealth noted that many women experience fewer mood swings when they stop taking birth control pills. That being said, many women who take the pill to treat PMS may feel more stable while on the pill, so in this case your mileage may vary.
3. Your Breasts Shrink
As the Huffington Post explained, going off the pill can decrease your breast size. Well, to be more precise, the pill may cause them to increase a bit, and going off of the medication makes them go back to normal.
4. You Feel A Little Hornier
Because research has found that the pill may decrease the libido of many women, the opposite might also hold true: going off the pill could increase your drive. Again, libido is one of those concepts that is inherently difficult to study, so this may not hold true for everyone.
5. You're Attracted To Different People
The Guardian reported on a study that found women may be attracted to different people when going off the pill. According to a study of 100 women and a "sniff test" of male body odor samples, the women who began using the pill showed a preference for the scents of men with genetically similar odors. When the pill is not in the equation, women tend to prefer men with dissimilar genetic odors.
6. You May Get Pregnant Faster
The Mayo Clinic reported that you can start ovulating two weeks after you quit taking the pill. So if you aren't looking for a baby right away, a backup method of birth control might be a great idea.
7. You Experieince Post-Pill Amenorrhea
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, some women experience post-pill amenorrhea, or a delay in their period starting (in some cases, for up to six months.) If this happens to you, a visit with your physician to get checked up might help get to the root of your symptoms.
8. Your Face Breaks Out
As people who deal with acne know, any shift in hormones can trigger a breakout, and this goes for the pill as well. And as reported in The Huffington Post, breakouts can happen for months after going off the pill, as the hormone levels are still stabilizing. Fortunately, there are many dermatologist-approved ways to fight acne in the meantime.
9. You Might Lose Weight
The Mayo Clinic reported that there's a correlation between taking the pill and gaining weight (most likely in the form of fluid retention). But according to a 2011 issue of the Contraception journal piece, the desire to avoid weight gain is listed as one of the main reasons women decide to discontinue oral contraceptives. So if you feel the pill has caused you to gain a couple pounds, then stopping it might help you to drop a bit of weight.