Birth control is something that most women will use at some point in their lifetime.

The uses of birth control stretch so much further than simply preventing pregnancy, which is why it is so commonly used.

Stopping Birth Control: A Quick Guide

But no matter why you start taking birth control, eventually, a time will come when you need to stop taking it. 

For most women, stopping birth control is pretty straightforward.

The ease with which you will be able to stop birth control really does depend on your own personal circumstances and the type of birth control that you are taking.

For some people, a combination of these things can lead to very unpleasant side effects when they stop taking their birth control. 

In this guide, we’re taking a look at how to stop taking birth control safely. We’ve taken a look at some of the major side effects associated with stopping birth control among other things. 

Read on to find out more!

How To Stop Taking Birth Control

There are a number of different reasons why you may decide to stop taking birth control.

Perhaps you want to have children or a break from the birth control you are taking.

You might simply want to stop taking your birth control so that you can start a different method.

Regardless of the reason why you want to stop taking your birth control, it is important to acknowledge that this isn’t necessarily going to be easy. 

Generally, if you are considering stopping your birth control, then you should consult with a doctor.

Your doctor will be able to give you advice on the best method for stopping your birth control, and they will also give you more in-depth information about the potential side effects of doing this.

As your doctor knows your personal and medical history, they will be able to give advice that is tailored to you. 

To give you a rough idea about how to stop taking birth control, below we’ve taken a look at some of the most common methods of birth control. 

The Pill Or Mini Pill

Among female contraceptives, the pill and mini pill are the most commonly used birth control methods.

If you are going on contraception for the first time, this is normally the method that your doctor will recommend, and for many women, it is the method that they choose. 

One of the biggest appeals of either the pill or the mini pill for most women is the fact that it is generally a lot easier to stop taking this form of birth control.

To stop taking this form of contraception, you simply have to stop taking the tablets. So, it is a lot easier to come off of this form of birth control in comparison to some other methods. 

Theoretically, you can stop taking either the pill or the mini pill, at any time. But to avoid side effects, it is recommended that you stop taking it at the end of a pill packet.

Stopping earlier can trigger bleeding randomly, bleeding that isn’t associated with your menstrual cycle. 

Generally, when you stop taking the pill, your uterus will become confused and for 2–3 months you will have something called “interim bleeding”.

This bleeding will be similar to your period, but it won’t actually be associated with ovulation. Instead, it is simply your body adjusting to the lack of hormones from the pill.

If you stop taking the pill at the end of the packet, then you will usually avoid this, and your body will adjust back to normal much quicker. 

If your reason for stopping taking the pill is because you hope to conceive then stopping at the end of the packet will make tracking ovulation much easier.

This is something that will really increase your chances of becoming pregnant much quicker. 

Implants And IUDs

If you have chosen a more invasive method of birth control, such as an implant or IUD, then your experience with stopping this birth control will be very different.

Both IUDs and implants will need to be removed by a doctor or a nurse. So, you should consult with your doctor if you want your birth control method removed. 

Generally, the removal of your implant or IUD will cause some vaginal bleeding, but within a few days this should stop, and your fertility will bounce right back to normal.

However, if you experience chills, a fever, or excessive bleeding after having your implant or IUD removed, you should consult with your doctor immediately as it is a sign that something is wrong. 

Shots And Patches

Another popular form of birth control among women is the birth control shot. This shot is taken once every 3 months and is generally administered by a doctor or nurse.

For most women, the shot will get to work immediately, stopping your fertility, and generally stopping your periods too. 

As this form of birth control is administered once every 3 months, stopping it is as easy as simply not getting your next shot.

However, this is a powerful form of birth control, and the side effects can last up to 9 months from your last shot.

So, if you are stopping this birth control because you hope to conceive, you should speak with your doctor. 

The removal of your birth control patch will pretty much seize the effects of that birth control method instantly.

As soon as you take the patch off, your body will no longer receive estrogen or progesterone from the patch, so this will essentially mean that you can get pregnant instantly.

Generally, it will take a few days for the extra hormones to leave your body, but if you don’t want to get pregnant, you should start a new form of birth control immediately

Stopping Birth Control: A Quick Guide (1)

The Side Effects Of Stopping Birth Control

Now that we have taken a look at how to stop taking some of the most common forms of birth control, let’s take a look at some of the side effects of this. 

Generally, the potential side effects of stopping birth control are the same across all the different methods, this is due to the fact that they all use similar hormones to prevent pregnancy. 

So, if you are thinking of stopping your birth control, these are some of the potential side effects you might encounter. 

General Side Effects

Typically, the side effects associated with stopping birth control will differ from person to person.

However, there are some general side effects that you might experience when you stop taking birth control.

They include:

  • Cramps during ovulation
  • Changes to your menstrual cycle
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes
  • Tender breasts
  • Changes in libido 
  • PMS symptoms

Before we wrap this up, let’s take a look at a couple of these side effects in a little more detail. 

Weight Gain And Acne

Weight gain, or more specifically weight fluctuation, is a common side effect of coming off birth control.

However, this can easily be counterbalanced by following a healthy diet and completing regular exercise. 

The weight gain associated with coming off birth control is caused by your body adjusting to the lack of estrogen, or progesterone, that it had previously become acclimated to while you were on birth control.

This adjustment can also cause acne. 

Generally, you will only experience acne when you come off birth control if you experienced it before you went on birth control.

If this is something you are concerned about, you should speak with your doctor about it. 

Headaches And Cramps

Another common side effect of stopping birth control is experiencing headaches and cramps. Again, these are caused by your body reacting to the hormonal differences within it. 

Generally, these symptoms will occur around the time of your period, and will only last for a handful of cycles.

If intense headaches or cramping persists past 2-3 menstrual cycles after stopping your birth control, you should consult with your doctor. 

Tender Breasts

Breast tenderness is something that comes and goes throughout your cycle and is most persistent during ovulation.

While you were on birth control, you won’t have experienced this as you wouldn’t have been ovulating.

So, when you stop taking your birth control, this symptom can come back with high intensity. 

If the pain is really bad, then a cold compress might help.

However, most of the time, this pain will be something you can live with as it will come and go throughout your cycle.


PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a common condition that affects women with a mixture of physical and emotional side effects.

It can sometimes flare after stopping birth control. If this is something you are concerned about, consult with your doctor. 


Generally, there is no reason why you won’t conceive after being on birth control.

You should be able to conceive pretty soon after stopping your birth control method, however, it can take a couple of cycles for your body to return to normal.

Especially if you have been on birth control for a long time. 

If you are coming off birth control and intending to try to conceive, you should consult with your doctor for any advice or additional information they can provide. 


In short, for most women, stopping birth control will be simple enough.

Most women will be able to stop taking their birth control without any major side effects or discomfort. 

However, for some women, stopping taking birth control will lead to unpleasant side effects, including weight gain, acne, tender breasts, and lots more.

Ultimately, how you react to stopping your birth control will depend on your personal circumstances. If you have any concerns about this, you should consult with your doctor. 

We hope you have found this information helpful. Thank you for reading! 

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