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Hormonal Birth Control: What to Expect When You Stop

Stopping hormonal birth control might be right for you if you don’t like taking a pill every day, or you’re ready to get pregnant. Whatever the reason behind your decision, you should know what to expect when it’s time to make the transition so you aren’t surprised by any physical changes along the way.

hormonal birth control

Below are the top five things you should know about how your body could react to stopping hormonal birth control.

You Can Get Pregnant Immediately

Everyone has heard a story about someone who took years to get pregnant after stopping the pill. Many people believe that the longer you’ve been on the pill, the longer it takes for the hormones to leave your system, and the longer it will take you to get pregnant. This is not true.

Studies show that many women begin ovulating right away, and others begin ovulating within a few months. If you aren’t prepared to get pregnant immediately, you need to use another form of birth control in the meantime.

Your Previous Symptoms Will Likely Return

If you began taking the pill to assuage certain symptoms such as severe cramps, heavy bleeding or drastic mood swings, be aware that going off the pill can allow these symptoms to return. Breakouts and minor hair loss are also possible.

Irregular Bleeding Could Occur

If you stop the pill mid-cycle, your body may be slightly confused and you could have irregular bleeding for a few weeks while you adjust. Irregular bleeding could happen anyway, no matter when you stop taking the pill, but ending your prescription at a natural stopping point in your cycle could have a less disruptive effect.

Your Libido May Increase

It is possible that your sex drive could increase once you stop taking the pill. This is likely due to the fact that you will begin ovulating again, whereas the pill often suppresses ovulation and reduces the effect of natural libido changes throughout the month.

Breasts May Change

If you noticed your breasts increase in size when you began birth control, stopping the pill could cause a slight decrease in size. You may also notice an increase in breast tenderness at certain times of the month. But if you went on birth control and then noticed an increase in breast tenderness, the symptoms may reverse once you stop.

What Else Should You Know?

Before making any decisions on hormonal birth control, talk to one of our providers at Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center. We can explain the pros and cons of different birth control options and help you make the decision that’s best for your lifestyle and your health.


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