What Has Happened Since Stopping Birth Control
I remember being 15 and in so much pain. My mom decided to take me to the gynecologist to see what was going on. As many of you probably have a familiar story, the GYNO was far from helpful. Telling me both the heavy bleeding and pain I was experiencing was "normal" and "part of becoming a women". They did confirm cysts, but threw birth control my way and told me I would be just fine.
Being on birth control did help keep my cysts down. But at the end of the day, it was just a mask and actually caused a load of other symptoms. But throughout the years, I stuck it out. I think many of you can relate to this but, I have pretty much been taking birth control my whole life. With no breaks.
A few short months ago, I was bleeding every single day, all month, every month. So, I decided I wanted to give my body a break from hormones. To let my body go back to normal setting, whatever that may be. If that was even possible. I honestly had no idea what to expect. When I went for my yearly, my doctor said it was ok I was doing this, but recommended I did get back on it fairly soon.
I rolled my eyes, as I do at most of my appointments. Besides being a form of keeping others from getting pregnant, I did not see any other benefits from using birth control. So I ignored his suggestion and have been off of it for four straight months now. It certainly has been a confusing up and down journey being off of it. I have seen positives and negatives, as I truly expected.
My mood has improved
I don't know about any of you, but birth control made my moods unbearable. I am a naturally high strung person, but taking hormones intensified it. Since being off the pill, I have been more calm. I don't have angry outbursts, like I used to. And on those days I do get mad, angry, or sad, I handle those feelings way better than I used to.
Those constant migraines are gone
Ever since I can remember (since starting birth control), I have had horrible migraines and headaches. They would be so bad I could barely even lay down. While I still get the occasional headache, those severe migraines have just about stopped.
This is something that may or may not be related to stopping birth control, but I thought it was worth noting, as it is something that really started bothering me shortly after I stopped my BC. I have always had bladder issues like pressure, constant need to use the bathroom, UTI-like symptoms without a confirmed UTI. I have noticed over these last four months, those symptoms have intensified.
No more month long bleeding
In fact, in the 4 months I have been off birth control, I have not had a period. While that isn't necessarily a good thing, I figured my body would need to take a lot of time to adjust and get used to this new norm and a new cycle. Sure enough, I was right. It is month five of no hormones and my period has finally showed up. I still experience the usual menstrual symptoms like bloat, heavy bleeding and pain. I am certainly interested to see how long this one lasts and in or if it will return.
Desire for sex
I know this topic is uncomfortable for a lot of people. It still is for me sometimes, to be honest, but it's an important topic in the endometriosis world. I know so many of us suffer with a lack of sex drive. That has been me these last few years, and it really can put a damper on relationships. I am thankful my significant other is understanding, but I still feel guilt and sadness over it. I had read that in some women, birth control can cause a decrease in libido. Since being off it, my desire for sex has started to slowly come back. It wasn't right away and it isn't all the time, but I will take what I can get.
My sweat smells worse + my hair grows darker/faster
This is definitely a negative side effect. I have noticed since being off my hormones, my sweat, under my arms, has a different smell... one I wouldn't say is good. I also noticed that my underarm hair grows back in, the next day after shaving and my facial hair has darkened.
Since being off birth control, my doctor has been able to confirm PCOS. They have found that my ovaries have many small follicles on them, which my birth control was obviously masking all of these years. PCOS can certainly explain my absent cycle and the hair growth I have been experiencing.
So being off birth control, there are many positives and negatives for me personally. I haven't decided if going back on the pill will end up being the best thing for me. Allowing my body to adjust and just clean itself out is something I really do want to continue doing for a few more months. But I do know, I have a lot of things to consider. Just going to take it one day at a time!
If you have stopped birth control before, what experience did you have being off it? Reminder- this was my personal decision to stop BC and I also talked with my doctor about it. If you are thinking of stopping birth control, do talk to your doctor. This was my personal experience so keep in mind everyone's experience, including yours, may be different.
Do you live with any other health conditions outside of endometriosis?