Getting off the pill - benefits and side effects

Getting off the pill - benefits and side effects

Feb 17, 2023Felicitas Frank

Ditch the pill and finally be free of hormonal contraception! But what actually happens in the body then? Can it possibly trigger side effects? We show you what you need to be prepared for when you go off the pill and what advantages await you.

You want to get off the pill? - these are the advantages

Let's start with the positives. There are many reasons for quitting the birth control pill. The best reason is certainly a desire to have children. But there are also other motivations, some of which are related to the side effects of the pill. The important thing here is that each of us reacts individually and there are also different types/generations of the pill that have different effects. But what benefits await you when you go off the pill?

  1. A natural cycle: You no longer supply hormones from the outside, you can now return to your natural balance. You have the opportunity to get to know your body and your femininity better without the pill.
  2. The pill is associated with a higher demand for folic acid, B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium. If you stop taking the pill now, it may be easier for you to meet your nutritional needs. Especially if you suffer from a deficiency anyway. If you want to go off the pill because you want to get pregnant, replenished nutrient stores are important for healthy baby development.
  3. Lower risk of thrombosis and pulmonary embolism: Birth control pills (especially those of the third and fourth generation) increase the risk of thrombosis by 1.7 times. The risk of pulmonary embolism also increases. Both are serious conditions.
  4. Water retention decreases when you stop taking the pill. This can also reduce your body weight.
  5. Better chances of recognizing the right partner when they are standing in front of you. It sounds absurd, but the pill affects women's natural instincts. When you stop taking the hormone drug, you subconsciously pay more attention to your partner's smell and appearance.
  6. Although the pill lowers the emotional roller coaster before your period, it is also associated with depressive moods. If you stop taking the pill, this can have a positive effect on your general mood.
  7. Increase in libido: For many women, the desire for sex decreases when they take the pill. This can change again when you stop taking the pill.
  8. Less stress and cost: No daily pill alarm clock, no trouble with the prescription and, depending on which contraception you decide to use afterwards, also lower costs.
  9. Many women report increased performance in sports as well as at work after they stop taking the pill. They feel full of energy without the pill

lady's mantle is a known medicinal plant for period problems

What happens in the body when you stop taking the pill?

Your entire organism has to get used to the new situation and find its hormonal balance. How long this takes after stopping the pill is very individual. Many women first fall into a small "hole", because the body is adjusted to the supply of hormones. How this manifests itself varies from woman to woman. If you had to deal with many side effects of the pill, it will probably be easier for you to stop taking it. If, on the other hand, you have benefited from the advantages of the pill, such as a regular cycle, beautiful skin and hair, then the consequences of discontinuing the pill may be more stressful for you. However, this cannot be said in general. Exactly how your body reacts is very individual. Let's take a look at possible side effects.

What side effects can result from stopping the pill?

  1. Irregular cycle: At the beginning, this affects almost all women. For some, the cycle balances itself out after a few months, for other women it can take up to a year. Intermittent bleeding is also possible during this time.
  2. Heavier and/or longer periods are possible.
  3. Blemished skin and temporary hair loss. The latter is usually only a phenomenon of a few weeks. Skin blemishes may last longer due to hormonal fluctuations and may be more or less pronounced depending on the cycle phase.
  4. PMS symptoms can worsen.
  5. Mood swings, especially before and during menstruation, are possible.
  6. You may become pregnant. This is an advantage for some women and rather undesirable for others. If you want to avoid pregnancy, look for alternative contraception, because fertility increases after you stop taking the pill.

How can you support your body after stopping the pill?

If you want to stop taking the pill, you should be sure, because a constant change between taking hormones and stopping is a great strain on your body. If you have decided to do so, you should find the right time for you. Stopping the pill right away is not a good idea. You should at least finish your blister to avoid a total hormone chaos in your body. If you are facing a big challenge at work or in your private life, it may be a good idea to wait another month or two so that you don't put yourself under too much stress at the same time.

But what can you do to support your body during the changeover?

  • Monk's pepper is known to regulate hormonal fluctuations in women. You can take monk's pepper as a dietary supplement. Other medicinal plants such as lady's mantle can also ease the transition.
  • Be aware of your body and focus on the positive things. This can reduce your stress level and make the transition more comfortable. Exchanging ideas with other women can also help. How did they experience this time? What helped them? And finally, the question: What is normal and when should you see a doctor? A diary with symptoms, bleeding and special features is also recommended for this.
  • Supply your body with all important vitamins and minerals. A healthy diet is crucial for this. Especially if you have stopped taking the pill because you want to have a child, you should make sure you get enough folic acid.

Learn more about the connection between diet and PMS → Food against PMS

  • Give your body a break: yoga, relaxation and more can ease cramps and help you accept the new situation. If you give your body time, it can focus on the change.

If you experience more or different discomfort during your period, these two articles can help you:

Tips against a bloated belly during your period
Gentle exercise during your period

Extra tip for men: You've been enjoying the benefits of the pill for quite some time without taking any health risks. Now it's time to give something back to your partner. Support her as much as you can and take the mood swings in calmly.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to stopping the pill. Ultimately, this is an individual decision that you should make alone or with your partner. Medical advice can help you if you are unsure.