What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control?

Birth control pills are safe and affordable methods of preventing pregnancy. Choosing to stop taking birth control can increase the chance of getting pregnant, decrease headaches, and increase cramps and acne. It may also take a while for your normal menstrual cycle to return after taking birth control. In the following article we answer the question what happens when you stop taking birth control and also discuss how to order birth control. 

What is Birth Control?

Birth control refers to a number of methods used to prevent pregnancy before it begins. Most often, when people speak about birth control, they are referring to the birth control pill. Birth control pills are safe and affordable methods of preventing pregnancy. They generally come in a pack. One pill should be taken a day. 

There exist two common kinds of birth control pills: combination pills and progestin-only pills. Combination pills are the most common type of birth control pill. They contain both estrogen and progestin. 

How Does Birth Control Work?

In general, birth control works by stopping sperm from joining with an egg. Progestin-only pills work by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus. This makes it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg and for an egg to implant in the endometrium of the uterus. Combination pills work by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg and by thickening cervical mucus. 

What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control?

In addition to increasing the likelihood of getting pregnant, stopping birth control can result in various physical side effects. Side effects of stopping birth control include unwanted acne and hair growth, heavier periods, and increased cramping. It also may take longer than you expect for your normal cycle to return after you stop taking birth control. 

You could get pregnant 

It may be obvious that you can get pregnant after stopping birth control, however, most people fail to realize how quickly it can happen. Many women think it takes a lot of time to conceive after they stop taking the pill. However, research shows that pregnancy rates of women who recently stopped taking the pill are the same as those of women who used no contraceptive at all. As many as 96% of former pill users become pregnant within a year. 

It could take a while to get your natural period back 

Even if your periods were fairly predictable before birth control, it may take a while for them to straighten out. The hormones in birth control pills regulate and prevent ovulation. If you had irregular periods before taking birth control, the regulation you may have enjoyed on the pill will likely stop once you cease taking birth control. It may also take as long as three months for you to begin to have periods again after you stop taking birth control. 

PMS symptoms may reappear 

Many women go on birth control not only to prevent pregnancy but also to help with premenstrual symptoms like cramps. When you stop taking birth control, it is likely that the symptoms you used to experience during periods will return. 

You may cramp more 

Birth control pills help your body control changes in hormones that occur during menstruation. It is common for these hormonal tendencies to come back when you stop taking birth control. Without the balancing effect of birth control, you may start to feel moody, anxious, and depressed again around the time of your period. 

You may have mid-month twinges or cramps

Most hormonal birth control works by preventing you from ovulating. Once your body starts ovulating again, you may feel mild cramping in your side and stomach when your body releases an egg. 

You may lose weight

Some women lose a small amount of weight as a result of hormonal changes when they stop taking birth control. However, recent research has found that the pill does not cause more than a pound of weight gain per year. If you have gained weight while on the pill, it is possible, but somewhat unlikely, that you will lose weight when you stop taking birth control. 

Headaches may go away

Headaches are a common side effect of birth control caused by a sudden drop in estrogen levels. When you stop taking birth control, it is normal for these headaches to decrease in frequency and severity. 

Acne may return and increase

The birth control pill can correct unwanted hormonal imbalances that make skin break out and hair grow during your period. Once you stop taking birth control, your hormones may return to normal, which can cause flare ups in acne and pimples. 

You will still be protected from some forms of cancer 

Birth control has been shown to lower a woman’s risk of gynecologic, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. In fact, birth control pills have been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 50%. Going off birth control will decrease, but not completely eliminate, the cancer-protecting effect of birth control. 

Why Stop Taking Birth Control? 

Taking birth control is a personal choice that should involve serious consideration. It is perfectly normal to begin taking birth control and then choose to stop later. There are many reasons to stop taking birth control. Many women stop taking the pill in an effort to get pregnant. Other women stop taking the pill in favor of another contraceptive, such as condoms. Some women also stop taking birth control because it causes unwanted side effects. 

How to Order Birth Control

Birth control can be obtained through an in-person doctor visit. However, there now exist more convenient methods of ordering birth control. Cloud9 Healthcare allows you to order your prescriptions right from your phone or computer. You also receive fast and free home delivery of your order. Stop overpaying for your prescriptions and connect live with one of our licensed pharmacists now. 


The use of birth control pills is a safe and affordable way to prevent pregnancy. There are two kinds of birth control pills: combination pills and progestin-only pills. 

When you stop taking birth control, it is common to experience cramps, PMS symptoms, acne, and mild weight loss. It may also take a while for your period to return to its normal cycle.

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