After nearly five years of being on the pill, I decided to stop. Seven months ago my prescription expired and I didn’t refill it. I wanted to see how I was off of the pill – if I were a different person. The decision was difficult to make, but after learning more about the side effects of birth control, I knew I should at least try and see how I felt. I wasn’t alone in my uncertainty; 70% of women who have used oral contraceptives have either stopped or wanted to stop taking them within the last three years. If you are one of those people, hopefully my experience can help shape your decision. I have listed below some benefits that I discovered after going off birth control (but we are all unique, so some of these may not apply to you or your situation).
1. No more migraines
I frequently got migraines with aura while I was on the pill, which I always assumed was due to my high stress levels. I never even considered that the hormones I was taking daily could have caused my intense migraines. To my surprise, I have not had a migraine since stopping the pill.
2. Weight loss (water weight)
If you noticed that your birth control has caused you to gain weight, it could just be due to water retention. I noticed my face “slim” out, but the change in hormones also caused me to go from a DD to a B cup, so that caused weight loss as well! Don’t be too scared by this though. I expected this “de”-transition because I experienced the opposite effect when I started the pill (B to DD cup).
3. Happiness came back
I’ve suffered from major depressive disorder since I was 8 years old, but college really threw me for a loop. Because I dealt with depression before going on the pill, I assumed it would continue once I stopped taking it. I’m so glad that I was wrong about that. My depression has become so manageable that in the last few months, I was able to completely stop taking the anti-depressants I had been on for nearly eight years (since I was twelve years old).
4. Mood swings stopped
I hardly cried while on the pill but oh boy did I get agitated. On certain days it was like everything bothered me and on others I couldn’t care less. The constant unpredictable shift was an annoyance for me but a hazard for my friends and family. I definitely missed out on times where I could’ve enjoyed myself just because I felt off.
Overall, going off birth control was one of the best decisions I’ve made, but it was also very difficult. I have acne again for the first time in years. Even though I always use condoms, sex is a little scarier knowing that the condom could break and I wouldn’t have the extra protection that the pill provides. There are downsides like these to consider too, but personally, they pale in comparison to the benefits I’ve received. I finally feel like myself, and I am so much more content in life without all of the side effects that birth control gave me.