The Effects of Stopping Birth Control

Discussion in 'Archived Discussions' started by Raunchy-Row, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    This is all very interesting to me, since I have been on various brands of oral contraceptives for 25 years, and have had a most terrible time fighting depression and anxiety for the past 17 of those years. Even though I've been on several brands of anti-depressants, and am currently on Well-Butrin and Xanax (and Adderall-for my "severe adult ADHD" -Doctor's quote), nothing has worked for me, and I have told my Psychiatrists several times that "I am just a naturally depressed person". But I only had short episodes of depression prior to age 28, so I know that can't be a true statement. I've been requesting help for severe PMS and depression for years and years, yet no one ever seemed to think my birth control pills might be causing a problem. But this spring, after I realized I'd been fighting this depression for 17 years with constant Professional help and no progress, and, also, everything you read about one of the side effects of the pill being depression (this was really impressed upon me when I was looking for information on STOPPING the Pill, but of course, like other posters here, found none), and then, when Seasonale became so popular and my doctor put me on that, suddenly my PMS became much easier to bear, and FINALLY I put 2 and 2 together and figured out that the HORMONES in my birth control pills play a HUGE part in my emotional well-being. I liked the relief from the PMS so much that I asked my doctor could I do the same thing (skip the placebo pills) with the new Yasmin she had put me on (since I had a lot of acne and facial fuzziness on the Seasonale), and she said no problem. But after being on Yasmin for four weeks, and fighting a rash for three, I finally figured it might be the Yasmin causing the rash, so I stopped taking it, and the rash went away.
    But I've been so depressed for so many years, that I've decided to take this opportunity to stop the Pill for a year or so (hubby's got medical problems, we can't have sex). My doctor discouraged me from doing this last year and this year, reminding me of how horrible my periods will be. I'm grabbing at straws, hoping something will work to relieve me of this depression.
    I can't understand why, when all the literature tells you how the Pill can cause depression, none of my doctors have ever wanted to try to take me off of it, always quickly dismissing my questions and concerns that it could be a possible cause.
    Plus, does anyone else get sick and tired of the fact that because you're on the Pill, you have to go once every year and have the (excuse me) con-sarned doctor stick their (excuse me) con-sarned fingers and God knows what else up you just so you can get the (excuse me) gal-derned prescription?!! I for one, am sick and tired of THAT particular aspect, I tell you. But I've only been off it for a month, with no significant changes in my mood - still in constant depression, crying every morning - but this is normal for me even when on the Pill, so I'm hoping for something, anything, to change hormonally that might possibly help me to feel better.
    Thanks everyone for posting, please keep doing so, it really helps people, and if anyone knows of any other site with info on stopping the Pill, please let me know.)
  2. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member 22 and ive always had the WORST pms sypmtoms ever. for the 2 weeks of pms every month, i would gain like up to 7 lbs and then beat myself up over thinking that i must have been slacking to get so fat. i would exercise excessively for that time and then think that i had done a good job because when the pms was over, i would be thin again (that was before i realized that the pms was causing the weight gain.) i started seeing this trend every month. its not fair to be fat for literally half of the year, right? not to mention all the mood swings and bitchiness. thats when i decided to get on yasmin. my moods didnt improve at all; instead, i would just cry all the time at EVERYTHING like a lot of you are saying! on top of it, i have gained about 10 lbs DESPITE changing my eating more and more to be healthier and exercising 5 days a week with strength training. i know for a fact that this weight has been caused by the pill because for 6 weeks i had the strictest of regimens to try to get in better shape for a wedding i had to go to. the results? NIL. i got off the pill a few days ago, so i hope that i just return to normal. at least i know that even if i am fat for a week or so, its gonna go away and i can expect it every month. pms makes me crazy, but the pill just made me psycho.)
  3. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    hey melisah!
    i feel for you i really do!! i just quit my bcp and ive been upset for awhile, i'm trying to get back to normal. when you're on the bcp there's nothing you can do to feel better,,but once you're off of it there is. i just wanted to help you with your pms! i don't know anything about the weight gain, but i do know that there are many vitamins out there that can help with the mood swings. since they are natural mood swings from natural hormones, you can take certain vitamins to make you feel better. kind of like if you don't get enough calcium, you take calcium pills!! anyway! vitamin B really helps with the moodiness,,especially vitamins B6 and B12. you won't notice anything at first..but if you take it every day for awhile you will gradually start to get better. i suggest you talk to a doctor about your pms and taking vitamins, and mention that birth control is absolutely not an option, lol. i just wanted to give you some hope!! good luck!! we're all here for you!)
  4. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well I don't know if this will help any of you but you should look into natural progesterone cream. It will help with your moodswings during pms and possibly some of the depression. You can find it at your local health food store. If you do a little research on line about it too you'll find some really helpful info. For those of you who still haven't started your period from being on the pill it should help that too.)
  5. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    i just wanted to add my two bits to all of you experiancing weird sympoms after going off the pill. The pill is a drug and like any other drug used over a long period of time you will experiance withdrawl. for many women they have been on it for so long that there bodies have forgotten how to make and process hormones on there own...youve been giving it to them for x amount of years! But our bodies are amazing machines and with a lil TLC they can repair themselves but it takes time. The pill is a MAJOR drug that effects every organ in our body, and depletes us of many vital minerals and vitamins. Eat halthy, exercise, deffinatly try the st. johns wart tea (takes a couple weeks to reach full effect), deffinatly take calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D-the pill depletes us of mag and cal and the combo of the above vitamins/minerals taken together helps the absorbtion rate, get lots of sleep in a dark room wich will increase melatonin production and make you feel more rested...and hang on to your seats cuz it is gonna be a bumpy rie but it is worth it! It will pass, i promise you. keep talking with other women, its a big help and try not to take another pill (antideppressant) to mask the symptoms-they are all messages your body is trying to tell you, listen to her)
  6. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    Oh Thank God...

    I just stopped my BCP or rather never started the new pack after my last cycle..

    I have been on BCP since I was 15/16 and am now 27... and I feel horrible..

    I am totally tired and unmotivated - great for the career let me tell you - and I just feel off and like I am about to get sick...

    it sucks....

    I have heard other women talk about how great their sex drive is and how wonderful they feel... I just want to feel like that... now I learn i may even gain weight... Joy... what a pain it is being a women sometimes..)

  7. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    Nic... and all others! Hi. I myself just stopped the pill about 3 weeks ago, without even waiting until the end of the cycle (which might have been a bad choice) - but I am fed up with taking perscription meds. I was on 5 diff. perscriptions from 2 for depression and anxiety, to birth-control, and 2 for my skin! YIKES. I am only 23 years old and was on FIVE perscriptions??? I just finally said, something is wrong with this picture. My life sounds so similar to so many of you. I get horribly moody, angry for no reason... can be happy and feel completely fine one minute, and feel so angry and confused and destructive the next instant. It totally confuses and upsets my husband - but he (thank God) is wonderful to me and has just continued to try his best to help me through this. After my grandma died the summer of 2003, I started getting depressed, which then turned into anxiety as well. Went to a pychologist in the spring of '04 who put me on Lexapro and Xanex Xr... Funny enough the day I started taking them my depression disapeared (which seems WAY WAY to quick for them to work) I had also just graduated from college and moved home -- which is what I think helped my depression. Who knows. That summer I started taking the pill (as I was getting married) and expirenced CRAZY side-effects. Really dizzy, really moody, irratic bleeding... ETC, for about 2 months. Then everything subsidded or so I thought. But even with antidepressants, anxiety meds. I still felt sooo anxious.. ALL the time. CRAZY mood swings, cried almost every day. (my poor husband) I went off the meds (except bc) and felt a little better, but then went back on them as my anxiety got bad again due to a really stressful job. It wasn't until just this summer ('05) that a light-bulb came on. I came across this web site about natural cures... which, feeling at my wits end, intrigued me. I started doing some research into perscription medications, and all this other stuff, and what I found out just shocked me! I stopped taking all my medications within 2 months... and am slowly now getting off even my perscription skin creams. I think drugs (perscription and non) are doing us all more harm than good! I would encourage you all to start checking out your perscriptions and what the fine-print says about them. They are messing with our minds and our bodies. I've had a pretty rough time getting off the pill for sure -- which just makes me think even harder about "what in the heck was the pill doing to my body??!!" Anyway.... I'm just starting my journey back to health, I am hoping and praying that the new natural course that I am on will lead me back to the life I used to have.. The one I remember without depression, anxiety, achey joints, dizziness, mood-swings, crying all the time, feeling out of control, stomach aches, headaches, backaches, blurred vision, foggy head, loss of concentration, and sometimes,... just plain frustrated, angry, and hopeless. Please, start checking out more natural ways of taking care of your body and mind... if any of you are interested, you should read this book by Kevin Trudeau called "Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About" -> it has opened my eyes, and has started changing my life a little bit at a time. Anyway... I'm glad to know that I am not alone either - good luck to everyone, and finding your health again.
  8. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member


    I hope this reaches you in time. About 10 months ago I started having the same types of symptoms as you: terrible mood swings, erratic heart beat, numbness in my feet and hands when exercising, etc. My doctors basically told me that I was crazy, so I started doing my own research. That led me to a consultation with my mom's Chinese herablist who suggested that I might be hypogylcemic. That led me to a book by Edward and Patricia Krimmel - The Low Blood Sugar Handbook. The change has been amazing. I read the book, I followed the diet, and things have changed so much for the better. I no longer have PMS (although I stopped taking my Pill this week, so that may change), and all of my other symptoms vanished within a couple of weeks. Don't believe all of that baloney about depression; all of the processed foods that we eat stimulate the depression. I now eat a relatively natural diet, and I'm a new person. Please look into it.)
  9. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    I am so sorry that you have had to go through all of that. I usually don't respond to board messages, I just read them. However, I really felt like I needed to let you all know about something that could really help all of the symptoms of post-birth-control. The whole issue is with your hormones. There is a cream that you can rub on your skin called Prolief. It is made by Arbonne. There are a lot of reasons that it could solve your problems. This cream is a natural progesterone with no dangerous chemicals and no artificals added. I am an Arbonne Consultant and have had many women come to me with the same problems that y'all have. I'm not trying to sell anything to you but I want you to know that it has helped many, many women. If you would like any information, go to or do a google search. This really is a big help. If you have any questions, you can email me at I hope this will help some of you.)
  10. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    Do you have to have a certain deficiency for the progesterone cream to work? I know high levels of one thing and low levels of another can cause depression... but am confused by it all really!
    How do you know if something like progesterone cream will hurt or help?)


    Sad to hear what you are all experiencing, but great to hear advice and suggestions.

    Main thing is is that we have woken up to the bad effects and are doing something about it, stick in there!)
  11. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    Hi there.

    Read all the posts and i do have to say, im a bit in the same boat.

    Tried for ages to type in the right words in google to find this thread.

    I am planning on finishing up my bcp packet and then stopping.
    I know that people say you should consult your doctor about stopping, but im from the states and ive been living in england for a wee bit, so its kinda hard to see a doc and im not one to pick up the phone.

    The only concern for me there a certain amount of days before you are done with a packet of pills to start using other forms of birth control, such as a condom, etc.

    I am not one to know all the details of the birds and bees, but i like to play it safe.

    Also, alot of you have mentioned things about depression, et cetera and i do have to add in that ive felt more depressed while on the pill than off it..ive been on ortho tri-cyclen for about a year. My mood swings suck ass and i feel crappy about how i react with the people around me, especially my bf and my family.

    So, yay about misery loving company, but im glad im not alone on this...

    Honestly, we should make this thread more accessible for other folks.

  12. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    I didn't consult my doctor when I stopped since I didn't want the arguments about trying another pill. After what I read here, my mind was made up not to put this crap into my body and I didn't want anti-depressants because of knowledge of friends that have had a terrible and addictive time with them.

    When things got too much for me and my first proper cycle was late, I went to see my doctor. She didn't even take my blood pressure, or do a single test of anything and told me she had no experience of the pill having such effects. Basically saying it had to be something else.

    I have found more support here than from the medical profession and would rather take vitimin supplements etc that don't have nasty side effects than anything they recommended. Of course British citizen or not I'm sure you could go to any hospital or surgery and ask advice if things were very difficult.

    I think once you stop taking the pill you need another form of contraceptive right away. The time is how long you need to take it before its effective. I think you can get pregnant if you miss one so I wouldn't risk being unprotected if pregnancy is not an option.)
  13. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    Progesterone is what all of you need to balance out this problem. Do a google search for 'progesterone' or 'Arbonne Prolief'. I really suggest that y'all do some research and find out how this can help you. There are a lot of articles from many, many doctors saying that progesterone is something that is important for every woman to know about. Hope this helps!)
  14. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    I just got off birth control this month after being on it for about 12 years (different types - no noticable side effects getting on them) and ever since I've stopped I have lower self-esteem than normal - really hard on myself and not loving my body at all, I think I've gained weight, I feel like I'm having a breakdown, I feel like crap and just want to sleep all the time, I don't want to do anything or put any effort into anything and I'm always tired - yet oddly enough my sex drive has increased a little. I feel like I'm falling into a depression and it's scary... my husband found this site and pointed me to it and said it's apparently normal to feel this way -but how do you deal with it? how long does it last? help...)
  15. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    I have been reading through all your comments and thinking to myself how crazy it is that we are all experiencing all these negative symptoms as a result of hormonal birth control (whether it's starting it, stopping, switching, etc) that I am absolutely shocked at why we even consider continuing with it!

    As a scientist in training, I have been conducting an experiment of my own.

    I was on birth control pills of every kind for 7 years, during which time I experienced all those crazy emotional symptoms for many of those years...the daily crying, emotional instability, etc...

    but I also got hemorrhoids and developed a benign lump in my breast during that time.

    There was no way to prove that this was caused by the hormones, many different changes had taken place in my life over that time. If nothing else, I had gone from being 18 to being 25 years old. They were emotional times.

    But, when I started my graduate school program in nutrition I started taking basic physiology, biochemistry, biology, and nutritional courses which all made me realize and learn new things about what hormones really are and what they do in our bodies.

    After learning that being on the pill is basically your body thinking it's already pregnant, and therefore not releasing a new egg from the ovary, and after learning that increased levels of estrogen from any source (whether it be the pill, or dietary sources such as soy isoflavones and other estrogenic compounds), I decided to stop.

    For the first several months I too was on an emotional roller-coaster, had decreased sex drive (not just emotionally and physically but because condoms are just not that enjoyable for me or for my boyfriend), and other symptoms. But they eventually went away. I'm not sure how long it took. Several months.

    It's three years later now and I had sort of gotten used to the smaller, less achy and swollen breasts, and the emotional stability. But my desire to be free of condoms and a visit to my nurse practitioner on a yearly exam prompted me to try hormonal birth control one more time.

    This time, it is Nuvaring, which, since it is directly delivering the hormones to the area needed, requires lower doses and has less of the side-effects of the orally ingested pill.

    But after only a week or so on it, I immediately got swollen, tender, achy breasts, and my hemmorrhoids worsened. I haven't been sleeping as well, and feel a little funny. The emotional symptoms compared to the pill are negligible if any.

    I had been planning on trying it out for 2 months to give it a shot, as they say, but I am terminating my study prematurely.

    What I have learned from my scientific training is that there are certain predispositions that we all have based on our genetics. Some of us may be more prone to vascular diseases, to breast cancer or bening breast lumps, to other effects that are in fact exacerbated by the increased estrogen and progesterone in our lives from birth control.

    Our genes interact with the environment to produce the phenotypes (outcomes) we experience. In one case, increased estrogen may be beneficial, in another it may be detrimental. But until our medical assessment technologies become more sophisticated we may not be able to get a lab test that tells us which of these is true for us.

    So what can we do? We can pay more attention to our bodies, learn to recognize our own symptoms, the things which cause or exacerbate them, and educate ourselves. We can even conduct simple "experiments" for ourselves to learn what is the best path for us.

    The classic nutrition experiment is to eliminate a food or consituent from the diet and observe the effects/changes, followed by a re-introduction of that element and again observing the symptoms/changes. The key is to only change one thing at a time so that you can know it was that particular element that caused the change. Otherwise there are "confounding variables" that may be influencing the outcome.

    After my own recent experiment, I have definitely decided to go off the hormonal birth control because for me it is obviously the wrong choice. It almost immediately exacerbated both of my primary health concerns with regard to hormones. It is clear to me that no matter what the doctors say out there from the studies that have been conducted, I am making a decision for myself based on my own personal evidence about my body, rather than an average derived from a study of many women who may or may not have some of my same predispositions.

    I encourage you to learn for yourself what makes sense for you and to be honest with yourself about changes you see in your body and in your health. Some of these things are very awkward to think about and talk about, and other considerations such as the impracticality and lessened sexual experience of condoms, may cause us to make what can ultimately be negative health choices.

    My grandmother has vericose vains, my father and grandfather both had triple bypass operations, apparently, the vasculature is a weakpoint in our family. Hemorrhoids, which are basically just vericose vains in the anal area, are another manifestation of this weakness.

    I also took into account the fact that in pregnancy, a time of extreme hormonal fluctuations and elevations, hemorrhoids are induced in some women. This is how my mother first got them, from carrying me.

    Add to that the "coincidental" fact that I got both hemorrhoids and the breast lump a couple of years into taking the pill, and the return and exacerbation of these symptoms upon restarting hormonal treatment, I can conclude only thing:

    that hormonal birth control is not for me.

    I believe in prevention. I therefore believe that we have to recognize early signs and manifestations of problems with our bodies that may eventually lead to disease development, whether it is heart disease, arthritis, cancer, or osteoporosis. As for developing those assessment techniques for actually being able to measure idices and markers of these predispositions and interactions with our environment, I'm working on it!! Hoping to be writing that thesis by next summer )
    (originally posted by RSG)
  16. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    I've been reading more of the posts and talking to my husband about my side effects from coming off the birth control, that I'm realizing some problems I was having before might have been caused by the birth control -I just wrote it off to what I just have to live with (like hemmroids, and low sex drive) it should be interesting to see what happens after my body regulates... I've also been getting regular headaches, often daily or every other day since stopping the birth control, so I'm going to keep exercising regularly and taking vitamins and trying to eat better and with the support of my husband through the emotional parts, I think everything will be ok - I'll just never take birth control ever again... thanks for opening my eyes!!)

  17. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    I actually decided to just stop immediately after I found out about the connections between hormonal birth control and some of my predispositions/health issues. I had started the ring on the 5th day of my period, as instructed by the manufacturer, and had it in place for about 10 days. So, I was about halfway through my cycle when I stopped. I have not had any real effects yet. I had a very minor headache yesterday, but mostly I am not experiencing too much else. I think this is because I was only on the birth control for a total of 10 days this time and my body probably never fully adjusted to it. Interestingly, it's been about 3 days since I took the ring out and my breasts are still swollen and tender! I guess it takes a while for the stuff to leave your system. No wonder it took so long to adjust when I stopped the pill after being on it for 7 years!

    By the way, I also did some further research online and found out that women who have fibrocystic breasts, which are benign lumps that don't seem to develop into cancer in most women, should NOT be on hormonal birth control or be ingesting any estrogenic compounds in their diet. These compounds exacerbate the condition. The most common estrogenic compounds are soy isoflavones, so anything made with soy, from soymilk, to tofu, and edamame, is not a good idea for women with this condition. They claim that fibrocystic breasts are a benign condition. However, I do know that certain forms of breast cancer are induced by estrogen (other types are not), and therefore I am very cautious about another condition that alters the breast tissue as a result of hormones. The jury is still out on most of this research, and I'd rather not be the guinea pig!!)
  18. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well, I'm really glad to have found this website. I can't find any other information about stopping birth control pills, but plenty on beginning them, etc! I've been on birth control since I was 15, I began with orthotricyclen pills, and switched to the ortho evra patch when I was about 17, and have been on the patch ever since, and I'm 20 now. I've been considering stopping the pill for some time now. I haven't really experienced any emotional side effects from the b/c, but I do get nausea and sometimes even physically sick from it, I've also noticed a deacreased sexual drive, which I didn't attribute to the pill until I've read other posts on this site. I take my patch off today and have one week off this coming week before I would normally start a new pack next week, but I think I am going to stop. After reading this I really think I should, but the posts have also scared me from all the negative effects people have experienced, especially since I am in taking classes and have other obligations such as dancing class. Anyone taking or stopped taking ortho evra who didn't have many emotional reactions to the b/c but more physical ones? I have one week to decide, and I will try to reach my doctor by phone, but... anyone stop b/c without such bad effects, or anyone stop who had a similar situation to me? Thanks.)
  19. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    I just came off the pill after being on for 14 years. I stopped Aug 18 and still have not gotten a period - not even a fake one. It's been 30 days....I am bloated all to hell - I gained 4 pounds!! I am not impressed! I had just lost those pounds over June and July and now they are back and I look like the Michelin Man.)
  20. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    You could try Natrum Muriaticum pillules for the bloatedness it has helped me a lot. Also try to eat more frequent and smaller meals and plenty of fruit, it has made the bloating process a lot easier for me.

    I'm trying not to get too concerned about the weight gain myself as it seems to go up and down at different points in my cycle and I figure I can deal with that once the hormones are more balanced. No need to give my body more stress than necessary. Each natural period seems to help the symptoms subside, so I'm actually looking forward to them for the first time in my life.

    Does anyone else have worse symptoms before they ovulate ie in the third week of their cycle, than right before their period? I seem to descend into madness at this point when the rest seems much more easy to cope with.)

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