Whether you’ve been taking birth-control pills for over a decade or have only been on it a year or so, chances are you’ll still feel some effects from going off it. If you're hoping to conceive soon or are switching to alternative birth-control methods, here’s what you should know about going off the pill.
1. You Can Conceive
Obviously, once you’re off the pill you can conceive in the absence of other birth-control methods. The timing varies from woman to woman, and it can take up to a few months for your period to return, but once you start ovulating again, you can conceive right away. If planning to conceive, it is best to schedule a preconception appointment with your doctor to discuss going off any medication and planning for pregnancy.
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2. You Might Have PMS
Especially if the reason you originally went on oral contraceptives was to combat the not-so-pleasant symptoms of PMS, they can begin to rear their ugly head once again. Essentially, you can expect your PMS to return to how it was prior to going on the pill. If you had mood changes, felt more emotional, got bloated, or experienced bad cramps prior to the pill, odds are those things will return.
3. Your Libido May Spike
If the pill lowered your libido, which for many women it does, your sex drive may return. One of the functions of oral contraceptives is to suppress hormones, including testosterone, which helps get you in the mood. Without this suppression, you might find yourself wanting to get it on more often.
4. You Might Lose Weight
Once you’re off the hormones, it's possible that you may lose a few pounds. While this may be welcome news to some, unfortunately your breasts may experience a slight reduction too. If you gained a few pounds while going on the pill (from water retention, hormones, or cravings), you may lose a few now, even if it’s mostly water weight.
5. Your Periods Might Feel Different
Whether you’ve been suppressing your system by taking the pills continuously without placebo (under a doctor's supervision, of course) or taking them traditionally, your periods have without a doubt been more manageable while on the pill. Without suppressing ovulation, you might notice your periods are heavier, you may experience an increase in their length and cramping, and it may even look a bit different for the first few cycles.
6. Your Breasts Might Change (and Ache)
You may have noticed that your breasts got fuller while on the pill. If pre-pill you experienced changes in your breasts' size and sensation as your menstrual cycle progressed, this can start up again. As progesterone levels increase and your cycle moves on, your breasts can begin to feel tender and full, then eventually less full when your period begins.