Stopping Birth Control
What you need to know about going off birth control
Stopping birth control can be as simple as starting it, but it can bring some strong physical and emotional effects. Learn what you can expect when going off birth control, from the complications of intrauterine devices to the emotional impact of hormonal methods.
Going Off Birth Control
IUD removal will include many of the same steps and sensations as IUD insertion: The doctor will first determine the position of the uterus and then use forceps to grasp the string and pull the device out through the cervix. Although this is normally a quick and routine procedure, complications can result if the strings cannot be located. In some cases, the strings retreat into the cervix or uterus and must be removed very carefully to avoid damaging the uterus. In very few cases, the IUD can embed itself or puncture the wall of the uterus, and the doctor will need to use ultrasound imaging or X-rays to clearly see the position of the IUD before dilating the cervix to remove the device with forceps.
Pregnancy can follow soon after the IUD is removed, as the uterus will quickly return to a fertile state. However, if a woman had an infection that was not detected at the time of insertion, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, her risk of pelvic inflammatory disease will increase dramatically.
Effects of Stopping Birth Control Pills
Going off birth control pills will bring a different experience for every woman, but there are some common symptoms to look out for. Perhaps the most common side effect of getting off birth control pills is the disruption of the menstrual cycle: the welcome regularity of menstrual periods while on the pill will likely give way to spotting, and sometimes to a few months of missed periods after you stop taking the pill. You can expect your cycle to normalize in a few months, once your body has adjusted to its new hormone levels.
Some women experience emotional changes or mood swings when coming off oral contraceptives, which should also disappear once the body begins to adjust. Unfortunately, all of the good side effects will also disappear—you may notice that your skin is not quite as smooth and your premenstrual symptoms worsen. However, there are also some good things that can happen after you stop taking birth control pills, such as weight loss and fertility. Moreover, the protection that the pill provides against ovarian cancer will continue for several years after you stop taking oral contraceptives.
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