What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control
When you go off hormonal birth control, you might feel or notice some changes in your body but those arent side effects as we typically think of them. Rather, your body and reproductive system are transitioning back to their pre-birth control state.
Dr. Jane van Dis, MD, FACOG, OB-GYN and member of our medical advisory board, explains: “If you’re going off birth control, expect that some of those experiences and side effects you had before you went on will come back.” Some of these changes like weight gain or weight loss while on birth control can especially affect your menstrual cycle after stopping.
The post-BC changes youll experience vary from person to person, but heres some of what you might expect after stopping birth control:
1.The adjustment period: For most people who quit taking birth control with estrogen and progestin , your ovaries and menstrual cycle will return to normal within 90 days whatever that looked like for you before starting birth control.
The length of time youve spent on birth control will not affect this 90-day time frame, Dr. van Dis explains, since most of the medications clear from your system in 48 hours.
5. Mood swings and depression: Since birth control pills can be associated with changes in mood for some people, stopping BC can result in mood swings, and increased or decreased feelings of depression.
Why Do People Quit Birth Control
Aside from trying to get pregnant, some women stop taking hormonal contraception because of how it makes them feel. One of the biggest side effects and most talked about is hormonal birth controls negative effect on libido .
Another commonly cited side effect of hormonal birth control is its effect on mood, anxiety, and depression. Anxiety and depression have been shown to fluctuate when women take hormonal birth control . But its difficult to say whether those changes are due to birth control or other external factors that can impact mental health .
If youre experiencing any of these side effects, quitting hormonal birth control might provide you with relief.
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Most women know at least one or two other women who have had a bad reaction to the pill. In fact, the question that many of us have about the pill: Why does the pill make me crazy?
Before I get into what the research says about all this, let me just address the elephant in the room; the whole thing about womens sex hormones influencing mood. Which they do. This might be the worlds oldest cliché about women, but that doesnt make it any less true. Womens sex hormones influence womens moods. Mens sex hormones affect mens moods. It would be impossible for them not to.
Back to the question. To start with, all of us feel a little crazy sometimes. Life is hard and can make anyone feel anxious and overwhelmed at times. For some women, being on the pill can magnify these feelings, leading to anxiety disorders and depression. But if these things happen to you, it doesnt mean youre crazy; it just means youre on the wrong pill.
Mood-related issues like anxiety and depression are super-common among women on the pill. Almost half of all women who go on the pill stop using it within the first year because of intolerable side effects, and the one most frequently cited is unpleasant changesin mood. Sometimes its intolerable anxiety; other times, its intolerable depression; or maybe both simultaneously. And even though some womens doctors may tell them that those mood changes arent real or important, a growing body of research suggests otherwise.
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Loss Of Libido & Fatigue After Stopping Birth Control
This was something Paige wasn’t too happy about either. You see, her doctor had told her the answer to her low libido was as simple as stopping that pill. However, as a doctor who has helped thousands of women recover their hormones after using synthetic birth control, I can assure that you that a missing libido post-pill is more the norm. Libido and energy levels in general go hand-in-hand and you may suffer from fatigue after stopping birth control, only worsening the situation. And just like your mood, the only way to get your libido back is to kick that pill and to take steps to reset your hormones.
Eating libido supportive foods like dark chocolate, pineapple, spinach, and oysters are beneficial foods to get you and your libido back together.
Nourishing your adrenals is a huge part of your overall hormone health, including reclaiming your sex life, which is why it is one of the key topics I address in my Post-Birth Control Hormone Reset Program. For Paige adaptogens, along with a hormone friendly diet and daily mind-body practices were exactly what she needed to get her libido back on-line and take her orgasms to the next level.
The Pills Impact On The Brain
Although it has been on the market for more than 50 years, relatively few studies have looked into hormonal birth controls effects on the brain. A 2014 study in Frontiers in Neurosciencedelved into the existing science and found that taking the Pill alters neurotransmitter function and causes structural changes in the brain, including changes in the prefrontal cortex , anterior cingulate gyrus , cerebellum , and parahippocampus .
Although the researchers didnt offer an interpretation of whatthese changes mean, it appears that the longer you take the Pill the morepronounced the differences are. And their findings suggest that some of these changesmay not be entirely reversible even if you stop taking the Pill.
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Adrenal And Thyroid Health
Hypothyroid women are more prone to having depression and anxiety.
The adrenal glands help regulate inflammation. When function is compromised, this can also lead to mood symptoms.
You Might Gain Or Lose Weight
Not everyone loses weight when they stop taking the Pill. Some gain a few pounds. Research shows that a third of women who stop taking oral contraception lose weight, a third gain weight, and a third stay exactly the same, says Dr. Dweck.
If the scale goes down, it’s most likely water weight, since being on the Pill can cause water retention. But remember: Losing water weight isnt the same as losing fat, so any lost pounds likely wont last.
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What Are Some Options For Non
For anyone looking to prevent pregnancy without taking hormonal contraceptives, youve got plenty of options:
- Condoms: When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective , but due to human error, condoms do have a 15% failure rate at preventing pregnancy.
- Copper IUD: If youre hoping for another one-and-done contraceptive, the non-hormonal copper IUD, or ParaGard, might be the best choice for you. Its the most effective form of birth control and can last for 10 years.
- Diaphragm or cervical cap: These two barrier methods can help prevent pregnancy when combined with spermicide . Like condoms, youll need to remember to insert a diaphragm or cap every time youre going to have sex. Diaphragms are 92%-96% effective, while cervical caps are only 71%-86% effective.
- Sponge: Another barrier method, the sponge is 88% effective at preventing pregnancy and must be used every time you have sex.
So, if youre ditching your pill or removing your patch, know that your body is likely to transition back to its before state over your next few cycles. And if youre not feeling great, enlist your primary care provider , OB-GYN, some ibuprofen, or a trusty heating pad for support.
How Could The Pill Be Contributing To Depression
There are several mechanisms at play and more research is needed to understand the far-reaching impacts of the pill. What we do know is the pill depletes nutrients crucial for brain health, disrupts thyroid hormone, causes issues with your adrenals, and inflammation in your gut. Any of these can cause someone to feel depressed.
But more recently there has been evidence showing that pill users experience a decrease in neuroprotective molecules and have increased levels of neurotoxic chemicals compared to women who are not on the pill. That means being on the pill can be bad news for your brain.
How does this happen? It all comes down to how the amino acid tryptophan gets processed while on the pill.
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Can Birth Control Cause Mood Swings
We all know someone who swears that birth control completely wrecked their mood. Whether it was making them feel anxious, depressed, angry or like a crazy, jealous mad woman, there’s no denying there’s a link between birth control and mood swings or mood changes.
And maybe you were one of those people. I know I was.
When I was a teenager, my doctor put me on birth control pills. These made me feel depressed and I honestly had days where I didn’t even recognize who I was anymore. But despite my insistence that the pill was the cause of my mood swings, my doctor assured me that there was no link.
Fast forward to me now. A doctor who works with women every day in my medical practice to undo the effects that hormonal birth control causes. Because it is real. Women come to me with new onset of depression, anxiety and mood swings after starting hormonal birth control. And I listen to their stories of how the pill or other synthetic hormones have created a huge disruption in their life.
I’ve had patients tell me stories about completely falling out of love with their husband or partner after starting birth control. ;
Many women report lacking all motivation and joy, losing interest in hobbies and feeling like birth control robbed them of their mental edge at work.
And there are the women who feel disconnectedfrom their child, their friends, even themselves.
Can Birth Control Help With Anxiety
Anxiety can cause many significant problems in daily functioning, and severely impact a persons quality of life. For women, can taking hormonal birth control cause or alleviate the symptoms of anxiety? The following article will explore what an anxiety disorder is and if birth control has any impact on anxiety.
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What Birth Control Methods Are We Talking About
When it comes to adverse effects, the pill is often the first contraceptive method that springs to mind.
But theres a link between anxiety and all forms of hormonal contraception, says Dr. Enam Abood from Londons Harley Street Health Centre.
A found hormonal contraceptive users had higher rates of anxiety than nonusers.
And a noted that users of IUDs containing the hormone levonorgestrel also had higher anxiety rates.
But the pill seems to have been the focus of more research than other methods.
Combination oral contraceptives and progesterone-only minipills are usually associated with depression and anxiety more than other options of birth control, Lakhani says.
Between 4 and 10 percent of users report mood problems while on the combined pill. Most people, however, say theyre
However, the review did conclude that non-oral combined hormonal contraceptive methods may result in fewer mood changes.
There are a few simple reasons.
First, there isnt enough research into the mental and emotional effects of hormonal birth control.
Second, the research that does exist has produced conflicting results .
And third: All of the above, plus varying research methods, has meant its impossible to prove cause and effect.
In other words, researchers are currently uncertain. Its likely to remain that way until more studies are carried out.
If you have a personal history of anxiety or mood disorders, you may be more prone to the emotional effects of birth control.
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Some womens vulnerability to anxiety and mood disorders may be explained by their estrogen levels, according to new research by Harvard and Emory University neuroscientists presented in this months issue of Biological Psychiatry.
Low estrogen levels can make women more vulnerable to trauma at some points in their menstrual cycles, while high levels of the female sex hormone can partially protect them from emotional disturbance, the research suggests. Since birth control pills affect estrogen levels, they might one day be used to help prevent post-traumatic stress.
Depression and anxiety disorders are twice as common in women as in men, but the reason for this gender difference is unclear. The new work, reviewed by Harvards Mohammed Milad and colleagues in a commentary, suggests that women are most at risk for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder when their estrogen is low during the menstrual cycle.
PTSD is a disorder of recovery, said author Milad, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital . Men may be less at risk because testosterone, the male sex hormone, is converted into estrogen in the male brain, and so is more stable in their brains than in womens.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Betty Acker, MD on November 17, 2020
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Can Birth Control Cause Anxiety
Medically reviewed by;Sophia Yen, MD, MPH; Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on January 4th, 2021
Use birth control to stabilize your hormones. Get your birth control delivered to your mailbox by signing up for Pandia Healths FREE delivery services of birth control = #PandiaPeaceOfMind.
Around 264 million people worldwide suffer from an anxiety disorder. For women, they are nearly 5 times as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men. Anxiety can cause many significant problems in daily functioning, and severely impact a persons quality of life. For women, can taking hormonal birth control cause or alleviate the symptoms of anxiety? The following article will explore what an anxiety disorder is and if birth control has any impact on anxiety.
Hormonal Contraceptives Are For Healthy People
Remember that oral contraceptives and hormonal birth control have all been designed with a healthy woman in mind. Studies also aim to eliminate anyone who has a diagnosis that could skew results.
So, if you’re a woman who already has a preexisting condition, like autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, an adrenal condition or a mood disorder, starting off with these hormones may just be a recipe for disaster in your body.
Sadly, many women and young girls are being put on these hormones to treat symptoms, such as acne, irregular periods, PCOS, or extremely painful periods. Hey, you name the period problem, and you’re going to get a prescription from your doctor for some hormonal suppression.
I take issue with using the pill to mask symptoms and telling a woman that this is the only way to fix her hormones.
They dont fix your hormones. And if youve had a suspicion this is true, but fear to return to nightmare periods then girl, I got you. You need to attend my free masterclass called The Pill Free Period.
And please ladies, this is in no way judgement if you use hormones to manage symptoms. I did it too. But I want you to know you have options.
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And #2 When You Take The Pill You Are Flooding Your Body With Unnatural Synthetic Hormones And These Synthetic Hormones Will Affects Your Thyroid And Affect Your Testosterone Levels
The Pill increases SHBG and TBG.
The best way to understand SHBG and TBG is to think of them like taxi cabs. Hormones, hitch a ride though our bodies by attaching to these proteins or taxi cabs.
SHBG ;is a protein made by your liver and It binds tightly to Three sex hormones found in both men and women. The three hormones that it binds to very tightly are basically your Estrogens and your Androgens
Should Women Who Have A History Of Depression Or Anxiety Steer Clear Of Hormonal Birth Control
TLDR: No. Most women benefit from having a stable level of hormone on hormonal birth control vs. the ups and downs of NOT being on;hormonal;birth control. When you are not on hormonal birth control, then your hormones cycle up and down. When you are on monophasic birth control, then your hormones are maintained at a steady, smooth level. And if you skip the optional bleeding week, even smoother.
The research is still not clear as to whether;hormonal birth control pills make symptoms worse in;women who are prone to anxiety and depression.
The 2017 Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that depression is not a contraindication to hormonal contraception for women with depression, citing a lack of evidence supporting a causal relationship.
One study indicated that women who take combination oral contraceptives or progesterone-only minipills were more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than women who did not take these types of contraceptives. However, this could be due to other factors such as women on birth control are more likely to be in a relationship and at risk of pregnancy, both of which can cause depression and anxiety.
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