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I came off birth control - what's going on with me?

(5 Posts)
Blackbird1234 Tue 16-Feb-21 15:20:53

I’ve been on the pill since the age of 15, I’m now 26 and came off of it in December 2020. I did a load of research beforehand and the general consensus was that I was definitely going to experience the following:

- Acne
- Changes in cycle/length/heaviness of period (if you’d even get it at all for a while)
- Bad cramps
- Deflated boobs
- Weight fluctuations
- Mood swings
- Shorter cycles
- General discomfort
- Increased sex drive
All amongst a bunch of other possibilities like hair loss, hair being more greasy, headaches.. the list goes on. Essentially, I was prepared to feel like utter shit for a little while, before my hormones balanced out and I would inevitably feel a bit more like “me”.

I’ve kept a diary since coming off the pill and I feel like absolutely none of this happened and I just don’t know what’s going on.

- Acne:
I’ve never had acne, only the occasional spot. This got worse in the last 4 months of me using the pill and since I stopped, it’s cleared up lots.)
- Changes in cycle/length/heaviness of period (if you’d even get it at all for a while):
Almost no changes to my period at all. It’s still at the same time every month so far (give or take a couple of days), the length and heaviness of it is exactly the same as before.
- Bad cramps:
Nope, I feel like they were worse before stopping the pill.
- PMS:
Not particularly, I’ve never really suffered from this and haven’t experienced any changes other than maybe feeling slightly more sensitive really every now and then, but not enough for anyone to notice.
- Deflated boobs:
I even measured - no change at all.
- Weight fluctuations:
None, I’ve weighed and measured. I put on a tiny bit of weight but that was due to eating bread at every meal for about 5 weeks over Christmas, back to normal now.
- Mood swings:
Again, not really.
- Shorter cycles:
Nope, still the same, I’ve been tracking via an app.
- General discomfort:
The only discomfort I’m experiencing is that my boobs now hurt a few days before my period, which didn’t use to happen.
- Increased sex drive:
Probably the strangest of them all. I’ve never had much of a sex drive at all but for about 3 weeks last month I was really looking forward to sex and interested in it and I was so happy about this. But now nothing?!

It sounds dumb, but I feel like I really prepared for all of the above, everyone else seems to experience it, so what’s wrong with me? Is it too soon for me to see these changes? I know I should feel very grateful that I don’t have loads of crappy symptoms but I kinda feel like something must be wrong as the majority of women (that I've read the articles of) have experienced all of the above - I kinda feel like the odd one out.

Since going on the pill, I’ve felt a little bit “numb” emotions wise, I don’t care about most things either way (the mundane, I do care about big things) so feel I don’t really have an opinion on things because I just don’t care (some people consider this being very “chill” but I just don’t know anymore), so I was kind of looking forward to seeing what the real “me” is.

Absolutely any advice, help or anything at all would be very welcome and thank you for reading this far! x

OP’s posts: |
PassionPeach Tue 16-Feb-21 16:12:39

I think maybe you expected a little bit too much, but I don't blame you for doing so. For some it can barely change a thing whereas for others it is revolutionary. For example, I was on hormones from 15 to 30 and had my implant removed last year. Turns out it is what was causing my crippling anxiety, suicidal ideation, depression, mood swings and sleep issues. An entire half of my life wasted on feeling that way and all the time being told it was just how I am and nothing would change it apart from anti-depressants and therapy. I think back now and wonder why no one had suggested to me that it could be the hormones. I'd lost work because of my mental state, lost friends, missed out on traveling, parties, nights out, the whole lot. I did a lot of reading online about women similar to me who then came off hormones and decided to chance it. Within a week of coming off hormones I felt amazing. My sleep was improved, my moods were infinitely more positive and I no longer felt like I hated everyone and everything. Sex drive came back too which was nice. I hadn't felt that since I was a teen.

But a friend of mine did similar and like you, she only ticked a few of the boxes, but she's happy she has given it a go. She knows that while she hasn't got the entire spectrum of results she wanted, that she is better for it. Pumping yourself full of hormones can't be good for you in the long term and I think that needs to be looked at more instead of just tossing them down women's throats. I get they work well but there are reasons why there isn't one for men (pssst, it's partially because they can't bear the thought of dealing with the side effects we do!). I hope you do eventually get more out of it than you are now, but I feel like you've experienced a success!

IliveonCoffee Tue 16-Feb-21 17:21:17

I can't comment on exactly what you've been reading, but a lot of these things are written to be reassuring. Like "don't worry, it's perfectly normal to have any or all of these changes after coming off of long term contraception"
Occasionally this means they might over emphasize the changes, you might experience.

I'm similar, I've been on long term contraception since 18, and I'm 28 this year, maybe coming off in the next year or two.

I also think emotional changes in yourself can be hard to pick up, at least if they're not extreme. I wonder myself occasionally, if its 'the hormones' that influence how I'm feeling or if its just how I am.

And you won't see it in the moment. There are times where I've been a vile bitch, and I can look at on reflection and say yeah, maybe I was overly tetchy then. But at the time, I didn't realise.

Other people will notice more than you, you say you come across chilled. I doubt you will suddenly turn deeply passionate over everything overnight in a way you'd notice. If indeed it was a hormonal influence, you might only realise if someone comments you seem less chilled / more passionate, because in your head, your reaction feels as reasonable as before...

I'm not sure I'm making much sense. But say for example, you tear up over an advert, when normally you don't. You won't go 'oh I'm getting more emotional, it's the hormones!' You go, oh that ad was really cutting. Eventually you're the person that's crying at ads and maybe wailing at the sistine grin, but in your head you've not changed as person or you've justified it environmentally - e.g. oh I've grown up, I've had x experience so of course it feels closer to home.

Blackbird1234 Tue 16-Feb-21 17:40:42

@PassionPeach I think you're right. I think that my expectations were too high and now I'm feeling a bit down about it. Having high expectations is very unlike me, I'm very much "if you don't expect anything then you'll never be disappointed" but absolutely all of the articles/research I read told me what would happen with certainty, so maybe I'm also a bit pissed they got my hopes up hahaha.

I'm really glad that coming off of the pill changed your life so much. It sucks that the pill is the only option presented to us and no one really tells you of the side effects. Whilst you may feel you've missed out on things over the years, I think you should look at it as though you've now gained something and can make sure to make the next part of your life amazing and full of adventure, if Covid ever goes awaygrin
I definitely don't regret coming off of the pill, it was a good decision and I'm really happy with the few/minimal changes that I have seen, so maybe I should just take that as a win and run, rather than mope about the things that didn't change. Maybe they still will, maybe they won't!

@IliveonCoffee Ah, maybe that's where I've gone wrong then. I've taken the reassuring messages to be promises and I shouldn't have. Only time will tell and I'm sure that if things remain as they are, that I'll look back and be grateful that I haven't experienced lots of the nasty side effects. The one I really was hoping for was sex drive and it has been fluctuating more than before, so maybe there is still hope for it. That and the boobs deflating, but I can't have everything grin

You really are making sense, I didn't even think of it like that! I'll carry on writing in my little diary and I'll ask people around me if they think I have changed at all over the next couple of months, maybe I will be surprised. I don't recall any emotional changes other than definite anger at a couple of things whereas previously I would've been mildly annoyed - it didn't last long, but it still counts as a change.

Thank you both for taking the time to write something, it means a lot and I'll try to stop expecting changes and simply accept them if/when they come smile

OP’s posts: |
LunaHeather Tue 16-Feb-21 17:43:57

I don't know why you want any of these things

But it may be too early for them to show up anyway.

I have come off it twice, never again unless straight on to HRT!

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