There are many reasons why
you may want to stop the pill. Whether you are planning to switch to a different type of contraception
or would like to start a family, you will find it helpful to know which effects quitting the pill can have on your body.
How quickly can I get pregnant?
When you stop taking the pill, the hormones which prevent pregnancy will leave your body within days. This means, that you will be fertile again very soon - most women ovulate again within 14 days after quitting the pill. If you do not want to get pregnant it is important that you start using a different contraceptive straight away.
If you would like to conceive it is recommended that you wait with trying for a baby until your first cycle is over. This will make it easier for your doctor to estimate the due date accurately if you do get pregnant.
How will it affect my periods?
Usually, women experience their first period within weeks of taking the last tablet. It is difficult to say which effect quitting the pill may have on your periods as this can be very different for different women. If you had lighter and less painful periods on the pill it is possible that you find your periods more bothersome once you have come off the pill. However, this does not have to be the case.
A small number of women experience irregular periods
for a while after they have stopped hormonal contraception. In some cases, it may take some time until the first period. If you do not have a period within four weeks you should visit your GP for a check-up.
Are there any other side effects of stopping the pill?
As with any other hormonal contraceptive, stopping the pill will influence your hormonal balance. You may temporarily notice mood swings. Any side effects you noticed while you were taking the pill should subside quickly. If you have gained weight on the pill for example, you may find that you lose weight after terminating the treatment.
At the same time, any benefits of the pill, such as improved skin or lighter periods may disappear within the following weeks as well. It is difficult to predict whether you will notice any side effects of stopping the pill or not, as every woman reacts differently. Some women experience a bout of acne when they stop using the pill. If you have not had skin problems before, this side effect will be temporary and it should improve quickly.
According to a recent study, quitting the pill could also have an unexpected effect on your relationship. A report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Journal concluded, that women who considered their partners very attractive experience improved marital satisfaction after stopping the pill. Women, however, who were less convinced of their partners attractiveness reported decreased satisfaction with their partner after they had discontinued their pill.
Myth: You won’t be fertile for a while after stopping the pill.
Truth: The hormones will leave your body within a few days after you have taken the last pill. You need to use contraception immediately after stopping the pill if you don’t want to get pregnant.
Myth: You need to stop taking the pill after a few years.
Truth: If your pill is working well for you and you aren’t experiencing any unpleasant side effects you can continue taking it up until the menopause (provided you don’t want to have children).
Myth: Stopping the pill will make my skin worse.
Truth: This is not true for everyone. However, if you suffered from acne before you started taking the pill it is possible that your skin problem returns after you stop taking the pill. However, this does not have to be the case.
Myth: You need to stop taking the pill when you reach 35.
Truth: Women over the age of 35 who smoke, are very overweight or have an increased risk of thrombosis are advised to stop taking the combined pill. They can still opt for a oestrogen-free minipill.