What should you expect when getting off birth control?
Many women start birth control in their teenage years and then remain on birth control for ten-plus years. Birth control won’t harm your fertility in any way, but you may notice some changes in your body when you decide to get off birth control. Some women have an easy adjustment when stopping birth control and others experience some side effects.
Why would you want to get off birth control?
The most obvious reason for getting off birth control is that you would like to get pregnant. Many women stay on birth control until they are ready to have a child. It is recommended that you don’t try to conceive until you have been off birth control for at least two months. In these two months, your menstrual cycle will become more regular. You also can begin taking prenatal vitamins, stop drinking, and make healthier lifestyle choices. This is important for your chances of conception and your health while pregnant.
Wanting to conceive is not the only reason that women decide to get off birth control. Some women are tired of the side effects they experience when being on birth control. 23% of people who get off birth control decide to due to side effects. Side effects such as abnormal bleeding, headaches, chest pain, or shortness of breath are signs that you should stop birth control. Some women also decide to get off birth control to explore other options such as non-hormonal birth control like the copper IUD. You don’t need to have any specific reason to stop your birth control prescription, but you should inform your doctor if you decide to do so. 
Are there side effects when getting off birth control?
Going off hormonal birth control will change the balance of hormones in your body. Hormonal birth control gives your body an external source of progesterone and estrogen. When you remove this external source your body will need to adjust. There are a few side effects that you may experience when getting off birth control:
- Irregular or changing menstrual cycle.
- A heavier and more uncomfortable period.
- Feeling more affected by Premenstrual Syndrome.
- Changes in mood or weight.
- Acne and odd hair growth.
- Some people experience headaches.
- Change in sex drive is also possible.
These side effects usually only last a couple of months. If any of these side effects persist for a long period you should see a health professional. Some women also lose their period for a month after stopping birth control, this isn’t abnormal. You may not be able to conceive for a couple of months after getting off birth control, but if this continues for a long period you should see a doctor. These side effects are similar to ones you may experience when beginning birth control as well. It is important to discuss any side effects you may be concerned about with your doctor. 
How should you get off birth control?
Whether you have the pill, the patch, or an IUD there are some suggestions when it comes to how you should stop your birth control. If you are on the patch, the pill, or the ring you can stop whenever you want to. It is recommended that you stop when you finish a cycle, this is typically right before you get your period. If you have an IUD you should make an appointment to have it removed. Some women can remove it themselves, but this is not recommended. You could dislodge it instead of fully removing it. The procedure is quick and easy to have done by your gynecologist. Speaking with your doctor about your decision to stop birth control is the most important step to take. Your doctor will inform you about any side effects and ease your nerves if you have any concerns.