Heads up: it doesn't go quite like that. It's a big decision to make and can often prove to be rather intimidating to follow through with. Here's what you should know about saying goodbye to your hormonal BC.
“Everyone has this idea that they go off birth control and have this hall pass for a while, and that’s not the case,” Dr. Lauren Streicher, OB-GYN explains. You can get pregnant within a week, so use another method if you're not prepared to have kids.
Many women will get back to ovulating regularly within a couple months according to Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB-GYN and clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, so don't stress if it's not happening right away. Wait it out.
Minkin says it takes a minute for your period to get back to normal. It might be lighter one day and heavier the next, or shorter one month and longer the other. “For many people it’s two to three months before it gets back to totally normal.” You could get lucky and have yours go back to normal right away, however.
If you were on hormonal birth control and noticed your cramping, headaches and other symptoms lessened, be prepared for them to come back. However, if your cramps, headaches and vaginal dryness were worse while on birth control, expect them to go away.
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Your period might not stay the same throughout your lifestyle explains Streicher. And if you were on BC since you were 15 and are now 25, don't be surprised if things are different than you had anticipated. You might have a heavier flow or irregular cycles. Check with your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on, however.
“The hormones from the Pill will be gone in a matter of days,” explains Minkin. This also rings true for the ring, the implant, and the IUD.
The reason it takes a while for your period and ovulation to return to normal is because your natural hormonal cycle is run by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which Minkin says is suppressed when you are taking hormonal birth control. When you stop, it can take a few weeks for your cycles to start up again. This doesn't mean that the hormones from your birth control are still in your system, though. All it means is that your hormonal cycle wasn't working for a bit and needs time to get back into its natural groove.
Minkin says that if you took the Depo-Provera shot, which is a birth control injection you get every three months to avoid pregnancy, you might not experience regular ovulation for up to six months.
This is due to the fact that your natural menstrual cycle experiences an increase in testosterone around ovulation, making you crave some sexual action explains Minkin. Birth control keeps those hormones regulated the entire month.
Don't fret if you notice that, right before ovulation, there are changes in your cervical mucus due to being off of birth control explains Minkin. This is what happens during your natural menstrual cycle off of birth control.
When you're on birth control, hormone levels are pretty stable. Once you're off, you might notice you are back to experiencing breast pain and acne like before, explains Minkin.
If you're on a pill with higher estrogen levels and haven't gained weight or are still dealing with growing breasts due to your age, then you're probably just getting bigger boobs because of the BC you're on explains Minkin. Don't be surprised if they shrink back down once your'e off of it.
If you're not pregnant, then your birth control might have been covering up other symptoms like a thyroid problem says Streicher.
Minkin and Streicher say that medically speaking, there's no reason to give your body a break, unless pregnancy is your goal. If you're experiencing strange symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Have you recently gone off of birth control?
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