Like a lot of teenage girls, I went on birth control not too long after starting my period. I was 15 at the time and am now 27, so I’d been on the pill for 12 years. I was first prescribed Yasmin, but after a check in a couple of months into using it, I told my doctor that I was getting headaches, so they switched me to Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. I wasn’t actually getting headaches from Yasmin, I just was disappointed that my boobs hadn’t grown and hoped they would on another pill, hahaha. It’s probably a good thing I was so concerned about my lack of boobs at the time, because Yasmin ended up getting sued years later for potentially being the cause of blood clots that took the lives of several young women.
Now if you’re wondering why I went off the pill in the first place, no- we are not trying to get pregnant or planning to try any time soon. I’ve been thinking about going off the pill for quite some time now, and my last doctor’s visit kind of made the choice for me. I’d gone in to a walk-in to have my prescription renewed and the doctor asked me the routine questions about whether or not I smoke, if there is anything in my family medical history worth noting, etc.
These are questions I’m always asked when I get my prescription renewed, however this time, he also asked me if I ever got migraines with aura (this is when you experience visual disturbances just before you get a migraine, such as seeing flashes, spots, zigzags or even getting blind spots). I’d never been asked this before and I had just had one about two months prior for the first time ever- which was terrifying, by the way. Turns out, migraines with aura increase your risk of stroke- as do combination birth control pills- so it’s a bit of a sketchy combination. Because of this, he wasn’t comfortable prescribing me the pills I’d been taking for the past 12 years and I got the push I was looking for to get off the pill completely.
I was really nervous that when I stopped taking it, would my body would totally freak out? I mean, I’ve been on these pills since I was a teenager… would I be a whole different person when I came off of them? I’d read a ton of stuff on the internet about people’s experiences coming off the pill and they did vary pretty greatly, so I wasn’t sure to expect. As of now, I’ve been off the pill for two months and I’ve noticed quite a lot of changes in myself.
Here’s what happened when I stopped taking birth control:
I don’t talk about it a lot on my blog, but I’ve dealt with anxiety for years. It came out in full force around the time I turned 18 and as time has gone on, my anxiety levels have been very up and down. More often than not, I find myself feeling anxious without any apparent reason, which I think is what has always bothered me most about my anxiety. There have been a lot of times that I’ve had no stress or worries and the overwhelming dread that is anxiety would still hit me like a bag of bricks.
One of the hugest changes I’ve noticed over the past two months is that I’ve had maybe a couple of anxious days in total, which is unheard of for me. For the past almost ten years, I’ve been experiencing anxiety almost daily- up until now. A month into being off the pill, as I first started writing this post, I realized I hadn’t felt anxious in what felt like weeks. Surely this couldn’t be right? I ended up feeling anxious a couple of days later, just before my period, but it only lasted part of the day. I didn’t experience any anxiety again until a few weeks later, again, just part of a day right before my period.
It’s actually kind of mind-blowing for me to just think back on the last couple of months and realize how different I seem to be responding to and handling everyday occurrences that have been a struggle for me in the past because of my anxiety. I am so excited to see how this continues to play out in the future!
More energy and motivation
I’ve always been one of those people who is forever tired and I often feel completely drained come 2pm, even when I haven’t done anything that would remotely justify feeling so exhausted. Over these past couple of months, I’ve felt less tired than usual and my motivation is WAY up. Instead of dragging my feet and thinking about doing something, I just get up and do it.
I’m not going to go into detail because my mom reads my blog, haha, but this was an almost immediate change after coming off the pill. This is a very common experience for people as the pill is known to reduce your sex drive.
UPDATE: Originally, I had written this section as heavier but lighter periods. I’ve been off the pill for close to a year now and my periods are short, fairly light and very consistent cycle-wise.
I’ve read that it can take a few months before your period gets to whatever it’s normal is after coming off the pill. My cycle was totally thrown off when I first got off the pill and I had a period less than three weeks after my last one. The one following that was on a four week cycle, so I’m hoping it stays that way. I’ve noticed that my period is quite heavy the second day but gets lighter over the next two, and then is finished. They used to last 5-6 days when I was on the pill but they’ve been lasting about four off of it.
Almost as soon as I stopped taking the pill, I got five zits around my mouth and chin area, which is a common place for hormonal acne. I also got another chin breakout right before my second period off the pill. I rarely ever get zits, so this is most definitely pill-related. I expect this to happen at least for the next couple of months while my hormones figure themselves out, but I really hope it doesn’t last much longer than that!
Overall, the positives without a doubt outweigh the negatives for me. If I can continue to feel this much better in exchange for dealing with a few extra zits and a heavier (but shorter) period every month, I will absolutely take it. I’d love to hear experiences from others as well, so please leave yours in the comments!