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What to Know About Getting Off Birth Control

Getting off birth control is brutal, but it's still doable. Here's what you need to know about getting off birth control.

By Ossiana TepfenhartPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

Being diagnosed with a hormone disorder has a lot of funny baggage that comes with it. For years, I thought I had Bipolar Disorder with a side of psychosis. But, no, it was actually a very extreme hormone disorder showing its ugly head.

Back when I was first correctly diagnosed, I found out that I had been taking a form of birth control that was a) ineffective for me and b) was also causing extreme mood swings and hallucinations.

So, along with having to take around 15 Depo shots in a month, I had to make a switch to a new form of birth control that would help reduce the effects. Getting off birth control is not easy. Here's what you need to know, speaking as someone who went through it.

First off, you will need to use condoms for a while.

If you are getting off birth control in order to start a new birth control pill, it's time to stock up on condoms. Your new birth control may take up to a month of regular use to work, and it's generally suggested that you do not have unprotected sex, even if you're just making a switch without pause.

In the case of switching to IUDs or the Ring, your condom wait time might be a bit less. Other birth control methods you could use, such as tubal ligation, will still require condoms regardless for at least a week or two.

Overall, you will need to talk to your doctor to get the full scoop — just to be safe.

Getting off birth control involving hormones will make your hormones crazy.

If you're getting off birth control, your body will feel a crazy withdrawal from the hormones you were getting pumped into it. So, this means that you will probably feel a lot of symptoms that are similar to PMS.

Physically, chances are that the hormone withdrawal will take a toll on you. Your breasts may get sore, you might feel swollen, or you might feel fatigue. These changes are temporary — and you have to remind yourself of that when you're going through them.

Now, let's talk about some of the more striking issues you'll notice during this time...

You might notice fluctuations in your weight.

Birth control has a tendency of having weight-related side effects. If your birth control made you gain weight, getting off birth control may help you lose weight. On the other hand, if your birth control noticeably thinned you out, you might gain that weight back.

Part of the weight fluctuations that you may have will be related to cravings.

I know this part first hand. When my hormones were going berserk due to the switch up, I literally couldn't stop being hungry. I gained and lost 50 pounds pretty quickly due to the fact that I was chowing down on nine meals a day, all while begging for more food.

Oh, and mood swings? You betcha!

Most women, when getting off birth control, will get mood swings. Usually, they are a lot like PMS — or slightly worse. You might want to get weepy, or you might need to get a new tattoo to try to destress. Do what you need to do. No one can judge you for having to cope with hormone issues.

Thankfully, most people will not have the same side effects as I did when it comes to psychosis and sleep disturbances. These side effects are exceptionally rare and are temporary.

Hallucinating and hearing voices due to hormone imbalance was not fun at 3 o'clock in the morning. If you notice that you're hearing voices or seeing things when getting off birth control, go to the doctor immediately. You may have a hormone disorder that requires special care.

Your monthly visitor also may be a bit wonky.

A lot of women who are getting off birth control will notice that their period may be thrown off schedule, or that it's way heavier than normal. Don't worry, this doesn't stay that way for too long. Just stock up on extra tampons, or empty out your cup more often, and you'll be good to go.

Some women also experience cramping when they're just beginning to get off birth control. A warm pad and a relaxing bubble bath can do wonders for this.

There are certain foods that can help ease the switch.

A lot of the foods that help ease PMS symptoms also can help ease the side effects that come with getting off birth control. Any foods rich in Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids tend to help, including yogurt, avocado, salmon, and pumpkin seeds.

When in doubt, a glass of wine can also work wonders. Just saying.

Getting off birth control can affect your love life.

It's really hard to say how birth control will affect your sex life. A lot of women get a spike in libido once they get off birth control — and that's totally normal. Other women tend to lose their libido completely after they get off birth control. Even more notice no difference.

What's interesting is that some women also will lose attraction to a certain "type" of men, while gaining an attraction to others. Obviously, this can make your current relationship pretty bad. Thankfully, this is (sometimes) temporary.

Lastly, remember that these side effects don't last too long.

Getting off birth control isn't fun, but it's definitely doable. Like with all things, these hormonal changes are temporary. Your body will balance out. These side effects shouldn't last more than a month at most, and if they do, you might want to talk to your doctor.


About the Creator

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of New Jersey. This is her work account. She loves gifts and tips, so if you like something, tip her!

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