EmpowHER Friday: What Happens to Your Body When You Go Off the Pill?

EmpowHER.comApril 17, 2015Articles

When deciding what kind of birth control pill is better suited to your needs, considering the side effects of each method may be the top factor guiding your decision. However, what happens once you decide to go off of it? There may be various reasons for wanting to go off the pill—wanting to conceive, needing to switch methods or simply not needing it any longer.

EmpowHER FridayRegardless of your reason, you may be curious about what changes you can expect. Symptoms can vary from woman to woman, but the following symptoms tend to be the most common.

Irregular Bleeding

If you decide to go off your birth control during the middle of a pill pack, this can shock your cycle and lead to unexpected bleeding, according to Everyday Health. If you want to prevent this irregular bleeding you can opt to finish your entire pack. You will be more able to better predict your next period. After coming off the pill, you should pay close attention to your cycle as it may continue to be irregular for some time. If it remains irregular for more than two or three months, you should contact your doctor.


One of the reasons women choose to go on the pill is to control acne. The pill releases estrogen, a hormone that helps combat oily skin, according to What to Expect. After going off birth control, your body’s testosterone levels will be boosted and this can lead to breakouts.

Mood Swings

Hormones fluctuate every month and the pill often helps stabilize these, as well as mood. Once you go off the pill, it is not uncommon to find yourself grumpier than usual.

Weight Changes

The estrogen in birth control pills can often lead to weight gain as well as water retention, according to Divine Caroline. So going off the pill may often result in weight loss as well as reduced water retention.

Increased Sex Drive

While on birth control, some women may experience vaginal dryness as well as a decreased sex drive due to lower levels of testosterone, according to Women’s Health. Once off the pill, these symptoms should let up, and may lead to an increased libido.

Sensitivity to Smells

According to What to Expect, ovulating women tend to be more receptive to smell compared to women at other stages of their cycle. Since the pill prevents ovulation from taking place, once off the pill, you may find yourself more sensitive to smells. Estrogen and progesterone levels can affect your sense of smell, so as the levels of these two fluctuate, your sensitivity to smell may also fluctuate.


If you were on the pill to prevent pregnancy, once off the pill, your ability to get pregnant should be almost immediate, according to Women’sHealth. If you intend to go off the pill for reasons other than to be able to conceive, you should rely on a back-up form of protection, just to be sure.

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