woman cramping

5 Birth Control Withdrawal Symptoms

When you first started birth control, you probably experienced some symptoms caused by the hormonal changes to your body. Similarly, if you’ve made the decision to stop taking birth control, you may notice what are known as birth control withdrawal symptoms. As your body adjusts to the removal of external sources of hormones like progesterone and estrogen, it’s common to experience certain side effects. Here are 5 birth control withdrawal symptoms:

1. Changes in Menstrual Cycle

menstrual cycle

When coming off of birth control it can take anywhere from 3-6 months for your menstrual cycle to return to its typical characteristics. During this initial time period, your period may be unpredictable. You may experience changes in duration, how heavy or light it is, and how common cramps are. If your periods stopped completely while on birth control, it may take several months for them to begin again. These changes occur as your body adjusts to a new rhythm of hormonal levels and cycles.

2. Libido Changes

Many women who stop birth control report experiencing an increased sex drive. Some oral contraceptives are known for sexual side effects like low libido and vaginal dryness, so you could experience an increase in libido simply from stopping birth control. When you’re off the pill, your body resets to a default state often causing your sex drive to return to the level it was at before you began birth control.

3. PMS Symptoms

PMS symptoms

The reappearance of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms is another one of the common birth control withdrawal symptoms. The pill is responsible for leveling out chaotic hormones that can make you feel irritable, anxious or depressed. Without the pill keeping things in balance, you may experience PMS symptoms. These could include changes in mood, heavy cramping and more. If you had PMS and heavy periods before starting birth control, these issues could return when you stop.

4. Headaches

Women who use birth control and suddenly stop may develop migraines due to estrogen withdrawal. You may notice headaches right before your period starts, especially if you had migraines before starting birth control. Between 25-50% of women experience these headaches around the time they get their period. However, if the pill gave you migraines, they may go away or decrease in frequency when you stop birth control.

5. Acne Breakouts & Hair Changes

woman shaves face

Acne breakouts can occur, particularly around your period as hormone levels fluctuate, when you stop birth control. Hormonal birth control is known to help with acne for many patients by balancing hormones, so it may return when you get off the pill. Dark, coarse hairs can develop in unwanted areas like the face and chest if your body produces too much androgen, a male sex hormone. In rare instances women can experience hair loss when quitting birth control. This is known as telogen effluvium (TE).

If you’re planning to come off of birth control, you may experience some of these birth control withdrawal symptoms. Here at Woven, we’re on a mission to provide solutions that work for all of your health needs! Learn more about us here!