About a year ago, I decided to stop taking birth control. I felt as if five years on the pill was long enough and I needed a break. I wasn’t prepared for how my body would change after it.
I was paranoid about negatively affecting my long-term fertility.
While I know science says otherwise, I was afraid that the longer I was on the pill, the less likely I’d be to conceive down the road. Being a mom is important to me and I didn’t want to take any chances, so despite most doctors agreeing that the pill is totally safe in that regard, I decided to come off it. The changes in my body were pretty immediate.
I started to lose weight.
My face slimmed down, my stomach was noticeably flatter, and I was less bloated on a daily basis. Within the first two weeks of stopping the pill, I lost close to five pounds. That sounds extreme, but considering it was likely water weight that was being retained by the hormones of the pill, it was a pretty welcome change.
I began noticing a change in my breasts.
I’ve never had a large chest, but my breasts were noticeably smaller after I stopped taking the pill. There was also a change in sensitivity. Around the time of my cycle, my breasts became a lot more tender and became extremely sensitive to the touch.
My cycle became irregular.
As early as my next period after quitting birth control, my cycle became pretty erratic. My body no longer followed a 28-day cycle and would sync to my friends’ cycles. My periods also got a lot shorter, with each cycle only lasting about three days. This was a huge change from my typical week-long period.
My PMS got pretty bad.
I never really experienced mood swings or a rush of emotions during my cycle previously, but suddenly the raging PMS I’d experience every month was taking over my life for a few days prior to getting my period. There was no longer any regulation happening with my hormones and I could definitely tell. I could literally cry over a broken jar of pickles one moment and be pissed that it broke the next.
My appetite/cravings changed.
I could devour a pound of chocolate with ease and eat enough salt for an entire family. Not only did my cravings change, but my appetite did as well. About two days before the start of my period, my hunger would be insatiable. No matter how much I ate, I wasn’t satisfied. Then as soon as my period started, my appetite would be non-existent. I was lucky if I consumed a third of my normal daily caloric intake.
My sex drive increased.
While on the pill, I had a sex drive, but nothing like I was about to experience. Within a month of being off of the pill, my horniness levels went into overdrive. I was down to do the deed at any time, especially when I had my period. Thank goodness my boyfriend at the time didn’t mind period sex, because that’s when I wanted it the most.
I became a lot more aware of my ovulation.
Ovulation was something I never really paid attention to, seeing as the pill kept me pretty regulated and protected. Pregnancy was always a slight risk, but now that I was no longer on birth control, that risk rose dramatically. I had to track when ovulation was occurring and be extremely careful around that time. Eventually, I became so in tune with my body that I could feel the difference around the time the egg was releasing. This made tracking ovulation a lot easier.
I never suffered with vaginal dryness anymore—the exact opposite actually.
Vaginal dryness was an issue I’d struggled with here and there, but that quickly became a thing of the past. Once I stopped the pill, there wasn’t a single instance I can remember that I struggled with dryness; in fact, I seemed to be dealing with extreme wetness instead. I also started to notice a strange vaginal discharge. I’d never really experienced discharge before, so this was something completely unexpected. At first I was a little concerned, but then I learned it was completely normal.
At the end of the day, I’m glad I made the decision to stop taking the pill.
My body went through some pretty weird changes, but overall it was the right decision. My hormones and cycle returned to their natural rhythm and I have peace of mind knowing birth control won’t be affecting my fertility in the future. When the time comes, I can become the mom I’ve always wanted to be.