Let me start off by saying…
I’m not a doctor, health professional, gynecologist, etc. What you’re about to read is MY personal experience with birth control pills. If you decide to go off the pill, pretty please consult with your doctor first! Quitting birth control means drastically changing your body’s hormonal composition, so it’s not a decision you should take lightly.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way….on to the good stuff!
Quitting birth control was quite literally life changing for me.
I started taking birth control pills when I was about 19 years old. It was freshman year of college, and I was contemplating a serious relationship with my now-hubby, Alex. So of course, I wanted to be safe and asked my mom to take me to the gynecologist…which, I’m not going to lie, felt a bit awkward for me. But I’m so thankful I have an incredible mom who respected my decision.
Speaking of decision-making, I honestly knew nothing about “the pill” besides the fact that it would prevent me from getting pregnant. And at the time, that’s all I really cared about! I never thought about the effects it could have on my body, especially since my mom never experienced any weird side effects from it herself. So, naturally, I figured I would be the same.
Everyone reacts differently to birth control.
While I was on the pill…
- My digestion changed – foods I used to be able to eat now gave me terrible stomach aches and diarrhea.
- I experienced drastic mood swings – the week before my period, I was guaranteed to cry or get unexplainably frustrated with anyone and everyone I came in contact with.
- I was addicted to food – like no matter what I ate, I always felt hungry.
- My skin broke out – I would get the usual “period pimple” but also had tiny little bumps all over my forehead that I couldn’t get rid of.
- I had lighter, shorter periods – yay for that!
- My sex drive felt very “eh” – which for a 20-something-year-old Scorpio was just wrong lol.
Typically, birth control works well for a lot of women, and in the end, does exactly what it’s meant to do…prevent pregnancies. But as you can see, I wasn’t feeling my best when I was on it. I switched brands probably five or six times in the eight years I was on birth control because I had such a hard time finding one that made me feel “normal”. Some would give me anxiety, others would cause my skin to break out, and others would make my hair unimaginably oily. The struggle was real!
After eight years of taking the pill every single night at 8pm on the dot, I started to feel the urge to quit…like ASAP. Something in my gut was telling me it was time.
Especially since more and more people were coming out about their experiences with quitting birth control! (I’m so grateful that social media and the world of podcasts created a space for women to open up about these “taboo” topics.) It sounded freeing and exactly what my body needed.
So one day I said, “I’m done.”
And just like that, I stopped taking my birth control pills. I gave my gynecologist a heads up, and she gave me the okay (with the caveat that it would take my body some time to get a natural period back), and the pills went straight to the trash.
The aftermath? 90% unicorns and rainbows, 10% annoying breakouts and hair loss.
When did I get my period back?
It took my body about three months to get my period back – I never thought I would be so happy to see blood-stained underwear again. Even then, however, it probably took another two or three additional months for my flow to be completely back to normal.
Now, my period comes knocking at my door every 30 days and stays for a joyous seven days. But the majority of my PMS symptoms have subsided, and I’ll take that over the alternative any day!
What symptoms did I experience post-birth control?
By far, the best thing to come out of me quitting birth control is the fact that I finally feel like myself again!
- Mood swings are gone
- Digestion is back to normal
- Sex drive is through the roof
- Body weight completely regulated itself
Seriously, I feel like a new woman! If it wasn’t for how regular my periods are, I would have NO clue when that time of the month is approaching now that my mood is completely stable. I’m happier, less anxious, and more confident…I just feel like ME.
Also, my appetite is back to normal – no more crazy obsessions with food. I’ve lost 10 pounds over the course of a year and a half (with the help of my favorite at-home workout program of course!) and my digestion has calmed down a ton. I still have to watch myself when I eat dairy and sugar, but I don’t feel like I constantly have to worry about where the nearest bathroom is in case of an emergency.
Of course, not everything is perfect!
I did have a couple of not-so-great side effects after going off the pill:
- Hormonal breakouts along my cheeks and chin
- Major hair loss for about 6-7 months
Like receding hair line, balding type of hair loss, and non-stop hormonal breakouts. We’re talking a new pimple every couple of days! It wasn’t pretty.
Thankfully, our bodies are truly magical and can bounce back from crazy hormonal changes when fed properly and exercised right. After a full year of being off the pill, my skin is finally balancing itself out and my baby hairs are coming in strong. Just remember that these things take time and there’s no instant cure!
Am I trying to get pregnant?
Nope! Not yet, at least.
Thanks to the book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti and the Flo app, I finally know how to properly track my natural cycle. I cannot recommend Alisa’s book enough! It teaches you so much about how to monitor your menstrual cycle and live a life that truly makes sense with your flow. These things I learned in my late twenties are things that should be taught to all young girls today!
To be completely honest, I was worried about how going off birth control would affect my sex life with my husband. However, the ability to track my menstrual cycle has only given us more freedom and less anxiety.
Oh, and YAY for a much higher sex drive! My inner Scorpio is satisfied.
In the end, going off birth control was the right move for me.
Again, this might not be the answer for everyone! Some women do better with birth control pills while others do not. Moral of the story is: listen to your body. It will tell you when things are off, all you have to do is pay attention.
Tell me about your experiences with the pill below or DM me on Instagram! Would love to know if any of this info is helping you make the right choice for your body.