Authored by Revere Health

Birth Control: What Happens To My Body When I Stop Taking The Pill?

June 5, 2018 | OB/GYN

5 Birth Control Options

The birth control pill is the most popular contraceptive format in the US, and for most people who take it, the pill works well and provides reliable contraception. It can also help treat certain other female conditions.

A big question many women who take the pill have is simple: When should I stop, and what can I expect when I do this? Here are some suggestions we can offer.

Don’t Stop “Just Because”

In most cases, women will be able to take the pill with consistent success, and without any side effects. In these cases, despite what you may have heard, there’s no reason to stop it. The body doesn’t “need a break” or anything like that. If you’re healthy and enjoying the results of taking the pill, you can continue to do so consistently all the way up until menopause.

On the other hand, there are a few specific situations where stopping the pill might be right:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Other risks of blood clots, which can increase over the age of 35
  • Side effects that are causing significant discomfort
  • Attempting to conceive

Your doctor can inform you of other situations when you might consider stopping.


Period Returning After Stopping

If you do choose to stop taking the pill, know that it can take about four to six weeks for your period to return to normal. If you still haven’t gotten back to normal after three months, contact your doctor. This might be a light adjustment period for some women.

Weight and Other Bodily Results

Here are some of the bodily changes (or lack thereof) that may take place when you stop taking the pill:

  • Harsher period symptoms: The pill changes your hormone levels, which can often reduce PMS and period symptom intensity. When you stop taking it, however, these kinds of symptoms may return in full force.
  • Weight: The birth control pill is considered weight-neutral. Most people do not gain or lose weight on it, and those who do often see the gains or losses replaced in the same amount when they stop taking the pill. This does not include weight gain that might come from lifestyle choices like giving in to PMS-driven food cravings, however.
  • Testosterone: The pill limits testosterone production, which will go back up after you stop. This could result in acne flare-ups or extra hair growth, but it also usually boosts your sex drive. Some women may experience hair loss.
  • Trying to conceive: If you’re stopping the pill in an attempt to conceive a baby, it’s recommended to stop about three months in advance. You should also consider vitamin B and folic acid supplements. If you get pregnant in the first month coming off the pill, you’ll be at slightly higher chance of conceiving twins.
  • Pain: You might have mid-cycle pain that’s common with ovulation once you stop the pill.

Other Questions

Here are answers to a few other important questions in terms of the pill:

  • What happens if I take the pill while pregnant accidentally? Don’t fret here – there’s little to no evidence of birth defects resulting from this happening. Once you discover this, however, stop taking the pill.
  • Can I stop at any time? It doesn’t really matter much whether you finish your current pill packet or just decide to stop midway through.
  • Can women over 35 keep taking the pill? Yes, though this is not recommended if you smoke, due to higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Your doctor can offer further recommendations on stopping birth control pills at your request.



Obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause.




“What to Expect When You Stop ‘The Pill.’” WebMD.

“Birth control pill FAQ: Benefits, risks and choices.” The Mayo Clinic.

The Live Better Team


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.