Discontinuing the pill: Tips and what to consider

from Mag. Margit Weichselbraun
on 29.06.2022
Discontinuing the pill: Tips and what to consider Discontinuing the pill: Tips and what to consider

Whether it’s tolerability, a desire to have children, or scepticism, there are many reasons why women play with the idea of giving up the pill at some point in their lives. You can find out what stopping the pill means and what you should consider here.

The pill – freedom rethought

Wedding, house, child – this traditional and linear picture of life is often completely outdated for modern women. And even if their life planning does follow this pattern, today’s women determine the timeline behind it. They are increasingly focused on excellent education and, even if they buy into this scenario, they generally have children much later than their mothers and grandmothers. The introduction of the pill about 60 years ago, which has been established as the most commonly used contraceptive in the German-speaking region, has contributed significantly to this development. But its popularity is now seeing a slight turnaround. Pill scepticism is trending now, especially in younger women.

How does the pill affect your hormone balance?

The pill is a highly effective contraceptive that contains man-made sex hormones. The most commonly used micro pill is an oestrogen-progesterone combination that exerts its contraceptive effect in three ways. It...

  • suppresses ovulation.
  • changes the cervical mucus in the cervical canal, preventing sperm from entering the uterus.
  • prevents the monthly build-up of the lining of the uterus and thus the implantation of a fertilised egg.

Mini pills and progesterone pills, on the other hand, are oestrogen-free preparations that contain only hormones from the progesterone group. These pills work primarily by altering the cervical mucus. However, not all of these drugs prevent ovulation.

Consequences: What happens when you stop using the pill and how does the body change?

Hormones are small messengers that have a big effect. Just as the artificial intake of sex hormones interferes with our hormone balance and changes the processes in our bodies, their discontinuation does not pass unnoticed either. After stopping the pill, our body has to reestablish its own natural hormone balance. This transition period can be accompanied by some side effects. How long this hormonal change lasts varies from woman to woman. For some, it’s a few weeks, for others it’s months.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Irregular cycle lengths
  • Lubrication and intermediate bleeding
  • Skin and hair changes
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Circulatory complaints
  • PMS

However, many women report positive aspects that occur after stopping the pill

These benefits include:

  • Increased libido. Taking the pill makes the female body react as if to pregnancy. This hormonal straitjacket also affects many users’ sexual desire. By stopping the pill, the female hormone balance can regain its natural rhythm once again. For many women, their reclaimed fertility is associated with an increase in sexual pleasure.
  • Weight loss. Losing weight during sleep? Go on! By taking the pill, 1 to 2 kg of water can be retained in the body due to oestrogen, but this disappears quite naturally once the pill is discontinued.
  • Body awareness. Many women feel much freer by stopping the pill. At the same time, many of them also develop better body awareness – and see how their natural fertility cycle actually affects them.

You need to keep this in mind when discontinuing the pill

The right time to stop taking the pill is something that each woman has to decide for herself. Women who want to take this step should initiate the project with their partner in advance (if in a relationship) and consult their gynaecologist. In a gynaecological consultation, it is possible for all your questions and the further procedure to be clarified. If you are not planning to have a child, you can find out about alternative methods of contraception. However, if you are planning to become pregnant, screening tests may be done.

After stopping the pill, the female body has to get used to life without artificial hormones. During this transition phase, it is recommended that you support your body by keeping stress levels as low as possible.

How the body ultimately reacts to discontinuation varies from woman to woman. While one woman may breeze through stopping the pill, others might experience a physical and/or emotional roller coaster ride. However, after a few weeks or months, the natural cycle has usually reasserted itself.

Can I get pregnant right after stopping the pill?

Yes. After stopping the pill, a woman’s fertility returns at different rates. In principle, however, it is possible that ovulation may occur before the first natural menstrual period and that pregnancy may occur as a result.

Micronutrients and the pill: What need for nutrients can be increased by the pill?

There are women who, after taking the pill for a long time, naturally develop a gut feeling of having to pay more attention to their body. From a nutritional point of view, this gut feeling is not entirely unfounded, because the pill can actually boost the need for certain micronutrients.

Thus, vitamin B6, but also folic acid, is taken more frequently when using the pill. Women should always be well supplied with both vitamins. Vitamin B6, as well as also folic acid, has an important role not only in the formation of blood. The B vitamin has also – deservedly – gained a reputation as an essential pregnancy vitamin*. In addition, the pill also boosts the need for the vitamins B2 and C, as well as magnesium – all power supplies that support normal energy metabolism in our body and help reduce tiredness and fatigue.

* Folic acid helps with the growth of maternal tissue during pregnancy.

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Without a doubt, women can count on the pill for contraceptive purposes. Nevertheless, users should be aware that artificial hormone intake increases their need for micronutrients. By focusing on a balanced diet that is rich in vital substances and, if necessary, additional support from selected dietary supplements, pill users can prevent a micronutrient deficiency.

Which micronutrients support the hormonal balance after the pill?

After stopping the pill, the female hormones resume their natural course. This is also reflected on a physical and emotional level. The good news: There are nutritional ways to support the well-being of woman. A secret tip here is Vitex agnus-castus (monk's pepper), which helps maintain well-being before and during menstruation – but should not be used together with hormonal contraception (e.g. birth control pills). A perfect team player is found in Vitamin B6, which helps regulate hormone activity. In addition, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B2 work closely together to help reduce tiredness and fatigue and help women master their everyday life with zest and energy.

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Premium preparation for the hormonal balance of women
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More and more women are choosing to stop using birth control pills. Sudden hormone cessation is an enormous change for the female hormone status quo. However, the associated side effects are usually only temporary in nature. Women who want to continue to use the pill can supplement this contraceptive with a targeted supplement.

Literature by the author 

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