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7 Possible Side Effects of Going Off the Pill

By HERWriter Guide
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Birth Control related image Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

When deciding what kind of birth control pill is better suited to your needs, considering the side effects of each method may be the top factor guiding your decision. However, what happens once you decide to go off of it? There may be various reasons for wanting to go off the pill—wanting to conceive, needing to switch methods or simply not needing it any longer.

Regardless of your reason, you may be curious about what changes you can expect. Symptoms can vary from woman to woman, but the following symptoms tend to be the most common.

1) Irregular Bleeding

birth control

If you decide to go off your birth control during the middle of a pill pack, this can shock your cycle and lead to unexpected bleeding, according to Everyday Health. If you want to prevent this irregular bleeding you can opt to finish your entire pack. You will be more able to better predict your next period. After coming off the pill, you should pay close attention to your cycle as it may continue to be irregular for some time. If it remains irregular for more than two or three months, you should contact your doctor.

2) Acne


One of the reasons women choose to go on the pill is to control acne. The pill releases estrogen, a hormone that helps combat oily skin, according to What to Expect. After going off birth control, your body’s testosterone levels will be boosted and this can lead to breakouts.

3) Mood Swings


Hormones fluctuate every month and the pill often helps stabilize these, as well as mood. Once you go off the pill, it is not uncommon to find yourself grumpier than usual.

4) Weight Changes


The estrogen in birth control pills can often lead to weight gain as well as water retention, according to Divine Caroline. So going off the pill may often result in weight loss as well as reduced water retention.

5) Increased Sex Drive


While on birth control, some women may experience vaginal dryness as well as a decreased sex drive due to lower levels of testosterone, according to Women’s Health. Once off the pill, these symptoms should let up, and may lead to an increased libido.

6) Sensitivity to Smells


According to What to Expect, ovulating women tend to be more receptive to smell compared to women at other stages of their cycle. Since the pill prevents ovulation from taking place, once off the pill, you may find yourself more sensitive to smells. Estrogen and progesterone levels can affect your sense of smell, so as the levels of these two fluctuate, your sensitivity to smell may also fluctuate.

7) Pregnancy

Pregnancy Test

If you were on the pill to prevent pregnancy, once off the pill, your ability to get pregnant should be almost immediate, according to Women’sHealth. If you intend to go off the pill for reasons other than to be able to conceive, you should rely on a back-up form of protection, just to be sure.


9 Things that Happen To Your Body When You Go Off the Pill. Women'sHealth. Retrieved April 3, 2015. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/going-off-the-pill

5 Surprising Side Effects of Going Off Birth Control. Divine Caroline. Retrieved April 3, 2015. http://www.divinecaroline.com/self/wellness/5-surprising-side-effects-going-birth-control

7 Surprising Symptoms of Going Off Birth Control. What To Expect. Retrieved April 3, 2015. http://www.whattoexpect.com/preconception/photo-gallery/7-surprising-symptoms-of-going-off-birth-control#08

What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control Pills? Everyday Heath. Retrieved April 3, 2015. http://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/what-happens-when-you-stop-taking-birth-control-pills.aspx

What to Expect When You Go On of Off the Pill. Glamour. Retrieved April 3, 2015. http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/blogs/vitamin-g/2014/09/side-effects-going-on-off-the-pill

Reviewed April 6, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN Edited
by Jody Smith

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Rebalancing a woman's hormones after being on the pill is one of the primary areas that we work in. I would love for one of our doctors to speak to your team about our research and use of Femmenessence MacaHarmony in addressing this.
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Natural Health International

April 9, 2015 - 12:55pm
EmpowHER Guest

Great story. Young women have to realize the repercutions of Birth Control Pills. They also cannot exchange pills with friends. If you are suffering and not feeling well, you need to go back to your doctor and try something different or look at other options. This is SO important!!!!!

April 9, 2015 - 9:13am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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