Thinking About Going Off Birth Control? Get Tips and Insights to Discuss With Your Doctor

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Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Monday April 22, 2024

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Everyone has a personal reason behind their preferred method of medical birth control. It can help reduce period symptoms and prevent unwanted pregnancies, but you might feel like it’s time to think about going off birth control. Read more about what you might experience and some answers to frequently asked questions related to stopping birth control before calling your doctor to discuss your next steps.

Why Do People Stop Taking Birth Control?

There are numerous reasons why people stop taking birth control. They might be among the 48.3% of people who experience side effects they’d rather not deal with. People might also want to try getting pregnant. Some individuals consider going off birth control if they get worried about potential long-term side effects after hearing common rumors about infertility and hormonal imbalance.
Getting diagnosed with certain medical conditions can also make people more likely to stop their preferred birth control method. They might develop a chronic disease that makes blood clots more likely, which hormonal birth control can trigger for some individuals. Conditions that require hormone replacement therapy could also make some medical forms of birth control less effective.

Potential Side Effects of Stopping Various Birth Control Methods

Stopping your birth control may have some side effects. It depends on the type of birth control you use. These are the most common side effects of various birth control methods aside from a higher risk of getting pregnant.

The Pill

People stopping their birth control pills experience the most common side effects like:

  • Slightly irregular periods
  • Breakouts
  • Cramping
  • New hair growth or loss

Irregular periods are most likely for the first three months as the body starts depending on its own hormone production to regulate the menstrual cycle.

A Vaginal Ring

The good news is that the vaginal ring only lasts for 28 days and needs removal to start a period. People using this method get a fresh ring every month. When stopping this birth control method, you may have less intense versions of the common side effects listed above because your body already adjusts to the ring’s removal monthly.

The Implant

Going off birth control like the implant has a few extra potential side effects. In addition to those listed above, you might have bruising and swelling around the implant removal opening. You’ll also lose any side effects you may have experienced on the implant. Of the people who tried the implant, six to 62% removed it due to things like menstrual disturbances, acne, mood changes and weight gain.


People who stop using an intrauterine device (IUD) are less likely to have side effects but may experience things like fatigue, cramping, breast tenderness and nausea along with the more common effects listed above. If nausea bothers you, you can always enjoy some sweet potatoes or hard candy to make it go away.

The Patch

The birth control patch provides the same hormones as other forms of birth control, so you can expect similar effects to those stopping the pill. It’s essential to consult with your doctor, primarily if you’ve used the patch for a long time.


If you’re going off birth control injections, you might undergo the symptoms listed above in addition to flu-like side effects such as body aches, weakness, hot flashes and changes in appetite.

Frequently Asked Questions About Going Off Birth Control

Stopping any medication is always a cause for concern. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about stopping birth control you might already be wondering. Bring a list to discuss with your doctor to get straightforward answers tailored to your health history.

What Happens to Your Body When You Go Off Birth Control?

Going off birth control causes changes to your body like irregular menstrual cycles, cramping, breakouts and mood changes. (No worries if you have some cramps— reduce your pain by enjoying an omega-3-packed meal like glazed salmon.) Specific forms of birth control may cause other symptoms, such as hot flashes and nausea. 

Can You Stop Birth Control Cold Turkey?

You can stop birth control cold turkey if you get approval from your doctor. Most birth control methods don’t need gradual reduction because they have to stop regularly for menstrual periods. However, your doctor should give their approval because they know your individual health history.

What Are the Benefits of Going Off Hormonal Birth Control?

There are some benefits of going off hormonal birth control, depending on your experience. Some people have intense adverse reactions due to their metabolism being unable to process medication effectively. This occurs when their polymorphisms don’t properly instruct the liver to break down medications.

Some people believe that stopping birth control prevents infertility, but that’s not true. The vast majority of people who stop their birth control prescription start ovulating in mere days, even while their body adjusts.

The most recent research supports this. It found that 83.1% of participants became pregnant within the first 12 months of stopping their prescriptions and IUDs. Some even got pregnant after getting back on birth control during the study’s duration.

How Long After Stopping Birth Control Do Your Hormones Return to Normal?

Some people feel concerned about their hormone levels as they consider going off birth control. However, they won’t be out of whack forever. It takes around three months for the body to regulate menstrual cycles after a person stops their birth control. That’s the length of time the average person needs to return to the hormone levels they had before starting their prescription or getting their inserted device.

How Long After Stopping Birth Control Are You Fertile?

Half of people stopping their birth control are fertile enough to get pregnant within the first three months of their hormonal rebalancing. The same research shows most will get intentionally pregnant within 12 months of stopping. Given that most couples take a year to get pregnant, stopping birth control shouldn’t affect your ability to conceive within the following year compared to the average conception time. 

Talk With Your Doctor Soon

No matter your reasons for going off birth control, there’s a lot to consider. Talk with your doctor about concerns like potential side effects and any questions you might have. They’ll work with you to explain anything that concerns or confuses you so you make the most confident, informed decision for your health.

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