Plan B

Going off the Birth Control Pill

I started taking birth control when I was 14. I initially went on it to deal with my hormonal acne and to help with my PMS symptoms (mostly really bad cramps). Looking back, I do think that I was very young to begin taking birth control. However, my acne did improve slightly from being on the pill and my severe cramps became bearable.

I was always really bad with remembering to take my pills every day and over the years I had more than a few mix-ups which led me to get my period early some months. The thing I liked most about being on birth control was that my period was extremely predictable and always came exactly four weeks apart. Seven years later, I decided this summer to go off of the pill. I decided to do this mostly because I realized how long I had been on it with no break, which made me think that maybe I didn’t really understand the natural state of my body without the pill.

I have now been off of birth control for five months and have noticed many differences already.

To start, my periods are no longer as regular as they used to be. It is a lot more unpredictable now and either comes way early or somewhat late. The comfort of knowing exactly when my period was going to start is something I miss, but not knowing 100 percent of the time isn’t the biggest deal either.

Getting into the TMI details now, I haven’t found much of a change when it comes to the flow of my period being on birth control versus off of it. The first day is sometimes slightly heavier than it used to be, but no real significant change. I have a friend who also recently stopped birth control after also being on it for many years and for the first two to three months her period stopped coming altogether while her body adjusted to the change. While I joked with her that I was jealous, she thought it was horrible because she was always paranoid it was going to randomly start again at the worst moment possible.

A major positive that has come out of me being off the pill is that I feel like my mental health has improved somewhat and I no longer feel as down or irritable as often as I did when I was on it.

On a less positive note, however, my skin has for sure struggled since I got off the pill. I’m only 22 and have struggled with my skin for years so it was not much of a surprise that after quitting birth control my skin got slightly worse, but it still sucks either way. It hasn’t been that dramatic of a difference but of course, it doesn’t take much to make a person feel insecure about their acne. Being off birth control means that I have had to go back to the dermatologist for help with my skin in addition to making sure that I keep up with my skincare routine every morning and night.

The next difference I’ve noticed since getting off birth control is that my bad period cramps have completely come back. This is the one thing I was absolutely dreading about getting off the pill and unfortunately, my fear came true. However, I luckily have been prescribed specific pain medication from my doctor to help manage the cramps better, which has made it a lot more bearable.

When I did some research before I made my decision to stop taking the pill, a common thing I noticed was that a lot of people think that when you stop taking the pill you’ll lose weight. I can neither confirm nor deny this. From my personal experience, there has been no noticeable change in my weight from my time on the pill to now being off of it.

While there has been both pros and cons to being off birth control, I do not regret my decision to stop taking the pill because I think my body deserved a break after six years of putting hormones into it. The thing I am most happy about is the mental change that I have experienced.

I know that I will probably end up going back onto birth control at some point in the future; something that I want to do differently next time is to maybe try out a different form, such as an IUD, rather than reverting back to the pill again. I for sure will be doing a lot more research on birth control the next time I go on it to decide what type makes the most sense for me and my body.