What happens when you stop taking the pill? Well, for some lucky girls there will be no symptoms, but for others there will be side effects.
First off - what are the side effects of using the contraceptive pill? Well, it effectively shuts down your ovaries and thickens the womb-lining. The withdrawal bleed you experience when you take a break is the body's reaction to a drop in hormones, not a proper menstrual period.
So you won't automatically go back to factory settings. It can take up to six months for ovulation to begin again. If you haven't had a period six months after you stopped taking the pill, go see your doctor. It'll probably happen at the most inconvenient time as most periods do. - expect it on the way to your doctor's appointment!
When those periods do come back, which can be 2-4 weeks after you stop, they may well be longer, heavier and more draining than before because the pill shortens and lightens your bleeds. Your first proper menstruation will be the second bleed you experience after finishing the pill. The first bleed will be the withdrawal bleed we already talked about.
Once your hormones wake up and start doing their job, PMS may strike. This is horrible if you've been on the pill for years and forgot about PMS. Remain Calm!
If taking the pill cleared up your acne then it might return. Skin (and nails) are external indications of our general inside health, so it's no surprise that the withdrawal of a daily hormone might show on our faces.
Some women find they lose weight when they give up the pill. Good news!
Oh, you thought it was just good news? Hormones do just as they please, so you may find that you put on weight after stopping the pill.
As hormones leave the body you may find you feel a bit green around the gills, a bit seasick, a bit pukey. It will pass as you settle into a natural rhythm or ease when you start another hormone based contraceptive. You'll probably assume you are pregnant and spend a fortune on testing kits in the meantime.
If you've been on the pill a long time you've probably forgotten a few of those teen exercises. Remember counting out your cycle and drawing a circle on the family calendar? Of course you'd then have to cross it out and draw a new one when your period arrived early. Oh the confusion! Perhaps you could now counteract this through judicious use of an app?
This is a pretty massive side effect. Some women take a long time to fall pregnant after quitting the pill, but fertility can return immediately for some. Don't assume that you'll be safe, despite what new mums might say about how long it took to fall pregnant after the pill.
Whether you're coming off the pill to start a family or want a break from the hormones, brace yourself for those side-effects because it's not only the re-emergence of unpredictable periods that may catch you out. If you are thinking about changing to a different contraceptive pill, we sell prescription pills such as Binovum and more.Visit our combined pill page to see all the different treatments available.