What to Expect When Stopping Birth Control

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Everyone starts – and stops – birth control for different reasons. These changes may affect each person differently, and not everyone will experience the same symptoms.

Read on for some of the most common side effects of stopping birth control.

Your Period

Within a few months, your periods will usually return to they way they were before you started birth control – meaning they can become heavier, more painful and more irregular. This may take longer depending on how long you were on birth control and which method you used.

Taking anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen starting a few days before your cycle can often help with both the cramping pain and heavy bleeding. 

Ovulation

You will start ovulating again, which means you may feel mid-cycle cramping when the ovary releases the egg. This also means you can get pregnant! If you are not trying to get pregnant and are sexually active, be sure to use other forms of contraception.

Hair Growth

You may experience an increase in growth of facial hair. Depending on the type of birth control you were on, the estrogen component helps decrease testosterone, which is the hormone responsible for causing excessive facial hair growth.

Stopping birth control shouldn’t result in an excess of facial hair growth, but if you notice increased facial hair is becoming bothersome, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Acne

You may also experience acne. Again, depending on the method of birth control you were on, the estrogen component can help with acne outbreaks, so stopping it may make your acne flare up. If this becomes a problem, a dermatologist may have other treatment options for you.

Headaches

Some women experience menstrual migraines or headaches during their period. These are often improved on birth control, so stopping it may make the headaches return. Conversely, others experience headaches while on birth control. If this is the case, the headaches should resolve after stopping. 

Changes in Weight

Most women won’t experience dramatic weight changes after stopping birth control. However, if you were on the Depo Provera injection and experienced weight gain, you may start to lose the weight, although this usually still requires healthy diet and exercise.

Mental Health

Emotionally, you may experience some changes after stopping birth control. If you experienced mood swings, irritability, anxiety or depression during or just before your cycle before starting birth control, these symptoms will often return after stopping birth control. There are other treatments for these symptoms if they return, so be sure to ask your doctor. 

It is important to talk to your doctor before stopping birth control and if you have any concerns. Schedule an appointment with one of our OB/GYNs today. 

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