Strive Pharmacy believes proper planning helps women understand how to stop taking birth control pills safely. Ultimately, this can be done at any time, whenever you are ready. 

What happens if you stop taking birth control? In addition to possibly getting pregnant, you’ll experience certain changes. Here are eight tips to safely stop taking birth control pills: 

1. Contact your doctor. 

Talk with your OB-GYN before stopping birth control altogether. Discuss your medical history and follow their suggestions. This is especially helpful if you had unpleasant side effects from the pill, but don’t want to get pregnant right away. 

2. Exercise.

There are a few physical side effects when you stop taking oral contraceptives. Some women feel the urge to eat more than usual or experience premenstrual symptoms such as cramps and bloating. Exercise helps to counterbalance some of those symptoms. 

If you don’t exercise regularly, now is an excellent time to start. It helps reduce cramps significantly and makes you feel better through this adjustment period. 

3. Prepare for a return to “normal.” 

Why did you start taking birth control pills? Many take this medicine for reasons other than to avoid pregnancy. If you, too, began this process for other reasons, those reasons may return. 

For example, some women take the pill to clear up unwanted acne. When you stop, the acne may return. Perhaps see a dermatologist to find alternative ways to deal with breakouts. 

Other women want to regulate their menstrual period. So, be prepared to have a less regular cycle. Perhaps talk to your gynecologist about other ways to regulate, if necessary. 

Or maybe you’ve been on oral contraceptives to prevent hot flashes. Talk to your doctor about holistic or other ways to deal with menopausal symptoms. 

4. Be patient with yourself. 

You may experience some emotional changes. Some examples include an increase in libido or depressive symptoms. If you feel these are interfering with your everyday life, seek help from a therapist or psychiatrist. Meditating, support groups, and journaling can also help. 

5. Stock up. 

Every woman is different, so there’s no set time for when your body reverts to having periods again. It may take anywhere from four weeks to four months. If it’s been more than three months, schedule another appointment to talk with your gynecologist.

When your periods do start, they may be erratic for a while. This is especially true if you dealt with irregular periods before taking the pill. You might also experience spotting, as well as heavier or lighter flows. 

Purchase a supply of feminine products such as maxi pads and tampons ahead of time, so you’re prepared. Carry a few of each in your purse and car, so you have them when not at home. A more regular cycle should return after a few months. 

6. Choose another method. 

If you’re not trying to get pregnant, choose another birth control method before you stop taking the pill. Don’t risk an unwanted pregnancy; be proactive. 

7. You may stop all at once. 

The birth control pill is one of the few prescriptions you don’t have to wean yourself off or finish a packet before stopping.

8. Consider a folate supplement. 

Oral contraceptives decrease the amount of folate in your body. This can harm early embryonic development, and your body needs enough folate as early as a day or two after conception. If you want to get pregnant, talk to your doctor about taking prenatal vitamins or a folate supplement. 

Contact us

Just understanding what happens if you stop taking birth control can be helpful and prevent surprises. Call us at Strive Pharmacy if you need medication during this adjustment period. 

Learn how long our compounding pharmacy can help alleviate side effects and make the transition off birth control easier.