Going off Birth Control

Even if you are using birth control for medical reasons, it is not a product that is intended to be used forever. If you are trying to get pregnant or having a change in your hormone balance, it might be time to go off your birth control prescription. You will need to do this carefully so you minimize the risk and your side effects when you eliminate your prescription from your routine.

How Do I Go Off Birth Control?

You should never go off birth control without the supervision of a doctor due to the potential health risks involved in removing these hormones from your system. You will need to talk to your doctor about potential side effects and how you will handle them should they arise. The changes you need to make will depend on what type of birth control you are using.

The most common form of birth control is the pill. If you are ready to stop taking your prescription, you can stop taking your pills at any time. The transition off of your medication is typically smoother if you wait until the end of your pack to stop taking your pills. If you are on a birth control prescription that limits the amount of periods you have every year, you will need to talk with your doctor about an appropriate time to stop taking your medication.

If you are using the birth control patch you can also stop taking this medication at any time. The easiest way to make this transition is to remove the patch at the end of your cycle and then simply refrain from replacing it when you would normally start your next cycle. This will help minimize potential side effects including mid-cycle bleeding. Similarly, those who are getting hormone shots can stop getting their dose at any time with minimal risk.

Those using a hormone implant or vaginal ring will need to discuss proper removal policies with their doctor. Those with an implant or IUD will need to visit their doctor to have it removed in a safe and effective manner as improper removal can lead to fertility issues. Those who are using a vaginal ring can remove the ring at any time, but like any other hormone treatment, they may wish to wait until the end of their cycle to avoid additional side effects.

What to Expect when I Stop Birth Control

When you stop taking birth control, you can expect to suffer a few side effects. As your body gets used to its normal hormone cycle again these side effects will subside. In most cases, these side effects are harmless, but they can be irritating. If your side effects are particularly unpleasant you can talk with your doctor about potential remedies.

If you stop your birth control in the middle of your cycle you significantly increase your risk of mid-cycle bleeding. It will probably take a few months for your cycle to return to normal so you can predict your period and ovulation cycle more effectively. You may also notice a longer wait time between periods until your hormones can regulate themselves accurately.

Due to the hormone deprivation that your body will be going through you may notice mental side effects from stopping your use of the pill. One of the most common of these is increased moodiness. It may be easier to become sad or depressed when you are getting used to doing without the pill. Any emotional distress you usually experience with your period may be amplified when you are no longer on the pill.

Acne may flare up when you stop taking the pill, especially if you took a prescription that was intended to help suppress your breakouts. The rush in natural hormones can also lead to weight gain in the short term after you stop taking your birth control. Others may lose weight if their prescription tended to make them bloat. Your doctor may be able to prescribe something to help you avoid these side effects.

While your body is getting used to its new hormone schedule, you may receive a rush of extra hormones from time to time. This can lead to an increased sex drive in some women. You should treat this in whatever way is comfortable for you and your partner. This can also be a sign that your fertility is increasing now that the birth control is out of your system.

How Soon After Stopping Birth Control Can I Get Pregnant?

The amount of time it takes to become pregnant after you stop using birth control will vary based on your personal hormone cycle. Most women will get their period 4-6 weeks after they stop using the pill. It will take at least three months before your menstrual cycle will return to normal after you stop using hormone supplements. Hormone shots are an exception to this rule, as it may take up to a year before your cycle has fully returned to normal.

It is possible to get pregnant within 1 month of going off birth control, but for many people it will take a bit longer. If you have been on a particularly high dose of birth control it is not uncommon for it to take a year before you are able to conceive. If you are concerned that you are having trouble getting pregnant or you feel it is taking a long time to get your cycle to return to normal than consult with your doctor. Your healthcare provider can help you determine your fertility level and what might help you increase your chances of getting pregnant.

In some cases there can be benefits to getting off the pill. You will have a reduced risk of blood clots or stroke which are common side effects of taking birth control medication. You may also see your blood pressure lowered due to the reduction of hormone levels in the bloodstream.

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