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What are the Best Tips for Stopping the Contraceptive Pill?

T. Alaine
T. Alaine

Stopping the contraceptive pill will almost certainly produce different effects in the bodies of different women. Before stopping the contraceptive pill, it is wise to recall the reasons the pill was initially prescribed, and assess which, if any, of those reasons have changed. Discussing possible side effects with a doctor, researching alternative birth control methods if necessary, and learning about how the female body behaves in the absence of a contraceptive pill are also important steps.

Taking the contraceptive pill puts hormones into the body that, in absence of the pill, the female body normally produces on its own. By stopping the contraceptive pill, the added hormones leave the body fairly quickly, usually in a couple of days, and the body is signaled to begin producing hormones by itself once again. These hormones are responsible for triggering ovulation and menstruation in women, but it may take time for the body to adjust to producing the hormones after stopping the pill. It is extremely common for women to experience a delay in the return of menstruation while their bodies begin to restore hormone levels, and also for periods to be sparse or irregular for the first couple of cycles as the body returns to normal.

Hormonal contraceptive pills.
Hormonal contraceptive pills.

Before stopping the contraceptive pill, it is important to consider why it was initially pursued. Most women, of course, take the pill to prevent pregnancy, and stop taking the pill when they wish to become pregnant. These women should know that, barring any exceptional fertility problems, they will be capable of becoming pregnant almost immediately after stopping the contraceptive pill. Women who are stopping the pill but do not wish to become pregnant should familiarize themselves with alternative methods of birth control, and be sure to begin using them immediately after stopping the pill.

A woman's body will react when she stops taking birth control pills.
A woman's body will react when she stops taking birth control pills.

Some women take birth control pills to regulate their menstrual cycles. Those who experienced irregular monthly periods before beginning the contraceptive pill will probably have irregular periods after stopping the pill, however it is also possible for women who had precisely regular periods pre-pill to have irregular periods, at least initially, post-pill. Since it is difficult to predict how individual bodies will react, it is wise to prepare for the possibilities of irregular periods, or spotting between periods.

Side effects, especially if they are particularly pronounced, may fade after stopping the contraceptive pill. Fluctuation in weight may occur, as well as changes in mood swings and temperament. Females who saw a reduction in acne or unpleasant premenstrual symptoms may experience resurgences, at least temporarily, while their bodies readjust to producing hormones without the pill.

Discussion Comments


I know you have to be really careful and still use contraceptives immediately after stopping the pill, even if you're planning to get pregnant. Sometimes the body goes a little crazy during ovulation. That's how my cousin's wife got pregnant with fraternal twin boys, like the month after she stopped the pill. She wasn't using anything else.

Her next two children were born fairly soon after, so in about six years, she had four boys. None since then, which tells me she must have learned about alternative methods of contraception.


I'm getting to the age when I'll need to stop the pill -- probably in the next five years or so -- and I am not looking forward to it. I think it's been one of the best health decisions I've made for myself.

I didn't want children, but I also needed something to help regulate my menstrual symptoms. I had long periods, heavy flow, horrible cramps and terrible back pain. Not much helped.

After a month on the pill, I felt great. I couldn't believe how it helped all my symptoms, which leads me to believe my hormones were seriously out of whack. I suppose I'll stop when my doctor thinks I should, but they have helped me so much.

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      Hormonal contraceptive pills.
    • A woman's body will react when she stops taking birth control pills.
      By: Jacob Kearns
      A woman's body will react when she stops taking birth control pills.