health

6 different reasons you might want to go off birth control.

One (of the eleventy million) thing(s) they forget to tell you about birth control is when you might want to go off it. And it's a wee bit important. Cause chances are, it's something you'll have to deal with at one point or another. 

You might want to go off it because you're struggling with some not-so-great side effects of contraception such as mood changes and loss of libido. Or maybe you just want to try out an alternative method. You might like to start trying for a baby. Or perhaps you just passed the whole menopause jam and feel like you no longer need it.

Whatever the reason, going off birth control can be a Big Thing. 

Watch: Did you know there are different types of birth control pills? Here's some advice on how to find which one is right for you. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia

That's why we went straight to OB/GYN Nicole Stamatopoulos, and asked her for some reasons why you might want to consider stopping birth control, and what to expect when you do.

Before we get into it though, we just want to make it clear that every person's body is different and has its own cute thing going on, so it's important to check in with your doctor to find out what's best for you before making any big changes concerning your reproductive health.

Alrighty. Let's get to it.

1. You want to conceive.

For many of us, getting pregs is something we've actively avoided for years.

So, once you’re ready to start trying for a kid, it can pretty daunting and confusing when trying to work out if there are any rules around stopping birth control.

Listen: Here's what no one tells you about the pill and men. Post continues below. 

In case you need a refresher, depending on the specific type of hormones used, hormonal birth control may work by preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs, preventing sperm from reaching an egg by thickening the cervical mucus, or thinning the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation. 

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So, obviously when you're trying for a baby, you'll probably want to get off whichever birth control you're on - whether this means going off the pill, having your IUD removed, or stopping injections.

Generally, if you're on the pill, it's usually recommended that you finish off your pill pack, rather than stopping mid-way through. Why? Well, if you stop in the middle of your cycle, your uterus might get confused and start bleeding, even though it isn't your 'period'. 

It also makes it super hard to judge when you're ovulating.

While it's possible to get pregnant almost right away after stopping birth control (even a few days after), everyone is different - and it all comes down to the individual. 

But if you are worried about your fertility after going off birth control, or are looking to go off birth control to start conceiving, we'd recommend hitting up your gynecologist or doctor for some more info.

Just FYI: If you do fall pregnant, it's recommended that you shouldn't continue to take birth control during pregnancy. Yep, even if you take it for non-pregnancy-related conditions like acne. Any hormonal drug you take makes its way to the baby you're carrying - so it's best to stop taking the pill once you learn you're pregnant.

2. You're experiencing mood swings and other unpleasant side effects.

There are negative side effects that can come with taking a variety of different birth controls, and they'll affect each person differently. 

For some people, though, the potential side effects far outweigh the benefits. Dr Stamatopoulos said, "side effects such as change of mood and weight concerns" is one of the most common reasons women will go off birth control.

To put this whole thing into perspective, a whopping 34 per cent of participants in a study chose to stop taking the pill within six months because they experienced side effects like headaches, mood changes, weight changes, and sexual dissatisfaction. 

So, yeah - it's super common. If you're dealing with unwanted side effects from birth control, don't ever feel like it's just you. 

If you're struggling with weird symptoms and feel like you need to get off birth control, talk to your doctor and discuss other options.

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3. You want to switch to a different method.

It's common for people to switch between birth control methods depending on what suits their individual lifestyle preferences. 

Because while some birth control options are pretty high maintenance and require some form of scheduling (e.g. taking your pill at a specific time each day for optimal effectiveness... cause this is a thing you're supposed to do), others are longer-acting (like IUD) and don't really require day-to-day action.

"Alternative options of birth control are barrier methods like: condoms, diaphragms and the copper IUD which has no hormones," said Dr Stamatopoulos.

Some women might also discontinue the whole birth control shebang, if their partners are getting a vasectomy.

Like we said though, there are a lot of different birth control options out there, so it’s important that you check in with your GP to discuss them all and make sure you’re on the right one for you.

4. You're no longer in a relationship and not needing it.

If you're taking the pill purely for contraceptive reasons and you're no longer in a relationship, this might be another reason you choose to stop taking it.

Just be careful though if you're still having sex and falling pregnant isn't something you want to do. Break the condoms out.

5. You're at an age where you no longer need contraception.

According to the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CPC), while it's not exactly known when women are no longer at risk of falling pregnant, it's recommended that you continue to take precautions until the age of 55 or until you reach menopause (you’ll know you’re fully in menopause when you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row).

While many women use a low-dose birth control pill to help them with their menopause symptoms, once menopause happens, women can stop taking birth control.

6. You were taking the pill for a different reason and don't require it anymore.

Contraception isn't the only reason women go on birth control - there's a whole heap of other benefits beyond preventing pregnancy.

If you no longer need assistance in dealing with acne, regulating your period cycle, improving the symptoms of PMS and period pain, you might consider ditching birth control.

If this sounds like you, your doctor can help you weigh up the benefits and risks of each birth control method to work out what will be best for you. 

What happens when you go off birth control?

So what can you expect once you stop taking birth control

"The immediate reaction of the body when going off birth control is to have a period, as the hormone levels have dropped," explains Dr Stamatopoulos.

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"If your cycles were regular before going on the pill, I would expect your cycles to go back to normal. If they were previously irregular, they will likely go back to that," she said.

If you also experienced irregularities in your menstrual cycle pre-brith control, you might notice some discomfort and lack of regularity after you go off it. "You may experience worse PMS, heavier periods and longer ones," said Dr Stamatopoulos. 

Sigh.

As mentioned before, birth control also tends to keep acne under wraps, so if this is something you suffered with before, it may come back with a vengeance. 

You might also experience some slight changes in weight when you go off birth control, however this is mostly related to fluid retention.

The good news? Dr Stamatopoulos said some people might not notice any changes at all.

She also said to just keep in mind that every woman's body is different when it comes to hormones and birth control. "This is very general information and not able to be individualised."

Again, if you're looking to switch up your birth control, we reckon you should speak to your doctor.

Feature image: Getty

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