Every form of birth control comes with a laundry list of potential side effects—that's why those TV commercials feel like they go on F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Annoying, yes, but those warnings are mentioned so that you understand what could occur to your body when trying a new method.
But what happens when you go off the Pill and test out an IUD? Or scrap hormones altogether and resort to a condom-only sex life? It could happen—who wants to deal with daily pills during a year-long dry spell?—which is why you need to understand how your body could react to any sudden change. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine breaks down all of the possible ways jumping birth control methods throws your body for a wild ride—and we're not talking about a Six Flags roller coaster.
For plenty of women, hormonal birth control lessens that I-CAN'T-TAKE-IT pain of monthly period cramps. So when you go off something like the Pill, these gut-wrenching symptoms may reappear.
Sorry, but going from the Pill to an IUD or rubbers doesn't leave you a grace period between methods. If you go off hormone-based birth control and don't use another method after, you can get pregnant right away. There are no such things as "leftover hormones" lingering in your body fighting pregnancy.
If you were acne-prone pre-birth control, you could see more zits rear their ugly heads again. Dammit. The estrogen and progestin in the Pill for example, reduce androgen—which normally promotes oil production and clogs pores. When androgen levels go back up, your skin might not look so smooth.
Some women may experience more sensitivity, while other women's breasts might lose sensation.
There is really no other appropriate way to describe what happens. Methods with more estrogen help a woman produce more lubrication down there, while ones toting tons of progestin can dry you out. Once you ditch your plan, any vaginal dryness might take awhile to sort itself out.
Some birth control options cause your body to retain fluids, and when you go off of them, you'll end up losing that water weight (eventually)—up to three or four pounds. We're not mad at that.
If your libido's kinda been on the fritz, it could be your birth control. Once you go off it, you might notice yourself checking out more people on the streets and hitting up your old flame from last year's NYE soirée (he won't mind).
You should also check out:
Everything You Need to Know About IUDs (opens in new tab)
11 Things You Need to Tell Your Gyno (opens in new tab)
6 Period Problems You Should Never Ignore (opens in new tab)
When I'm not stalking future-but-never-going-to-happen husbands on Facebook, you can catch me eating at one of NYC's B-rated or below dining establishments—A-rated restaurants are for basics. Fun fact: Bloody Marys got me into eating celery on the regular. And for your safety, please do not disturb before 10 a.m. or coffee, whichever comes first.
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