Weaning off birth control pills can take time, so the earlier a woman ditches them, the sooner she will be able to conceive. But because birth control pills affect the female hormonal system, weaning off them without suffering undue side effects can sometimes prove difficult. It’s important to learn how to stop taking birth control pills safely and effectively.
Women coming off of hormonal birth control often grow emotional and irritable as their bodies return to their original state. Some begin to feel anxious or depressed due to the changing chemistry of their bodies. Knowing how to stop taking birth control pills safety requires women to follow specific steps.
What to Expect
Some women wean off hormonal birth control with few or mild side effects. Other women, though, experience a number of distressing symptoms from acne to heavy periods to libido issues and other physical changes. For them, safely getting off the pill may mean seeking medical care to alleviate the pain.
Those on the pill may notice significant menstrual changes when withdrawing from their control method. Those who use hormonal birth control experience shorter or even absent periods and may find they now need to go back to using both tampons and pads. They may also find that their periods are heavier and come at unpredictable times at first.
Those on the pill also sometimes suffer additional withdrawal symptoms like headaches. Certain diets can assist women looking to stop taking birth control pills in a safer way. Those waving “goodbye” to the pill do well to head to the grocer and stock up on greens like kale for vitamins and avocados for Omega-3 fatty acids, which improve brain function and may elevate moods.
Depression and anxiety may rear their ugly heads as you withdraw. Mild cases can often be solved by simply taking more walks in nature or speaking regularly with a supportive friend. Those finding their symptoms interfering with their daily lives benefit from booking an appointment with their physician to discuss medications that may ease mental distress caused by hormonal shifts.
Many women — even those quitting the pill in hopes of conceiving a child — experience a decreased libido due to hormonal changes. Correct dryness by using a simple lube, preferably one designed to increase sensation. Women in states with legal cannabis can utilize special strains that get them in the mood to crawl between the sheets with their sweetie.
Those taking the pill for reasons other than contraception may see their symptoms return with a vengeance when they first quit. Those taking the pill to prevent acne may face new breakouts. Those using the pill to treat certain female disorders, such as severe blood flow with each cycle, may find they suffer unbearably heavy periods at first. Some women suffer distressing, if not dangerous, side effects such as hair loss.
Prior to 1972, women in the U.S. could not legally access birth control. Legalization has led to an enormous number of methods for women to choose from. However, the pill remains a popular choice. Women do well to consult with their OB/GYN when planning to kick their pack of pills to the curb to find out how to ditch them safely with the fewest symptoms.
Guidance on How to Stop Taking Birth Control Pills Safely
Regardless of the reason for the cessation of birth control use, women want to reduce the side effects of changing hormone levels. Here are some tips that may make the pain abate:
- Take your probiotics: The hormonal changes associated with quitting the pill or other hormonal birth control methods can impact the microbiome in your gut. To get things back in to balance, invest in a quality probiotic supplement to return your tummy to feeling healthy.
- Treat yourself kindly: Withdrawing from the pill safely, just like withdrawing from substances like nicotine or alcohol, takes time. During this phase, plan ways to let yourself de-stress and relax, whether that means hitting a yoga class or getting a good massage.
- Give your body nutrients for healing: Certain diets help reduce withdrawal symptoms. Strive for a diet high in vegetable content, which also includes lean proteins like chicken and fish. Those following vegetarian diets can get protein from eggs (if they’re an ovo-vegetarian) or from nuts, legumes and ancient grains such as amaranth and quinoa. Some evidence suggests that laying off dairy products, at least temporarily, can ease acne breakouts.
- Ask for help: During the withdrawal period, many women feel more tired than usual as well as more emotional. Partners can assist the woman they love by picking up more slack when it comes to household chores and let her vent on their shoulder without judgment when she needs to have a good cry.
Many women who say “adios” to their former birth control method wonder how long it will take for them to conceive. The ability to get pregnant varies from woman to woman. Some women conceive in the first month of their post-pill life while others find it takes three months or more to become pregnant.
When should women give the doctor a call? Women under 35 can reach out to their OB/GYN if they have been off the pill for more than 12 months and have not conceived despite trying to do so. Women older than 35 should book a doctor appointment if they haven’t gotten pregnant after six months of trying.
Visiting the OB/GYN can help rule out any underlying factors inhibiting conception such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. Their partner may also choose to undergo testing to ensure his sperm count is high enough for successful kindling to occur.
Regardless of the reason a woman chooses to do so, health professionals can give patients additional resources on how to stop taking birth control pills safely. Women who make it through the hormonal storm after stopping the pill often find conception quite easy. Ditching contraceptives can prove challenging, but the benefits for wanna-be parents makes the mild side effects worth it.