Coming Off The Pill: Possible Side Effects & Tips to Manage Them-image

Coming Off The Pill: Possible Side Effects & Tips to Manage Them

In this article, we’ll look at the potential side effects, symptoms and shifts you might experience when you come off the pill. Read on to understand how to support your reproductive and overall health as you manage your post-contraception journey. Quick facts: Common side effects of coming off the pill Whilst side effects like mood swings, irregular periods and acne, the experience of coming off the pill (or any hormonal contraception) is totally unique to each individual. This is because each of our hormonal make-ups is unique.  While coming off the pill may have some side effects, most can be managed or treated and fertility, including a regular menstrual cycle, typically returns to normal within a few months. Knowing how to manage and prepare for any possible symptoms will make your post-pill journey much easier. Let’s take a look at both the physical and mental side effects of coming off the pill. What are the physical side effects of coming off the pill? Stopping the pill may bring on physical side effects including changes in your menstrual cycle, skin issues and weight fluctuations. Menstrual cycle changes Hormonal fluctuations can cause your menstrual cycle to change. While on the pill, your body receives a steady and specific dose of synthetic oestrogen and or progestogen to prevent pregnancy. When you stop taking the pill, the synthetic hormones gradually leave your system, allowing your natural hormones to kick back in. But since your body hasn’t needed them recently, it can take a while for them to find their rhythm. It takes some time for your natural hormones to balance and your menstrual cycle to regulate. A key sign of hormonal balance is a regular menstrual cycle. After coming off the pill, most people notice cycles return to what was normal within 2-3 months. If you’re testing your hormones after coming off the pill, we recommend waiting three months. If your menstrual cycle doesn’t return after three months, reach out to our in-house fertility experts for guidance. They can provide insights, conduct hormone and fertility tests, and offer personalised advice based on your specific situation. After coming off the pill, you might experience your menstrual cycle differently too. It’s common for your periods to be heavier or to get more painful cramps. If you started the pill to manage irregular, painful or heavy periods, they can unfortunately return. To be informed and have a better understanding of your reproductive health, track your menstrual cycle and symptoms after stopping the pill. This data will empower you and support your reproductive health going forward. Skin problems Some birth control pills have an anti-androgenic effect, meaning they lower testosterone levels in your body, which can reduce acne. If you are taking a birth control pill with this effect, you might find that you break out once you come off it.  This is often temporary. If acne is affecting your confidence and daily life, consult a healthcare professional for advice. You could also switch up your skincare routine or speak with a dermatologist. Unwanted hair growth Again if you were taking a pill with an anti-androgen effect, unwanted hair growth may return after you stop taking it. Although there are several reasons it can occur, unwanted hair growth on the chin, neck and chest is a common symptom of PCOS, and if you’re concerned, it’s a good idea to talk to a Fertility Advisor. Weight fluctuations People’s responses to the pill vary. Some report weight gain, while others report weight loss. These changes may be due to increased appetite and the oestrogen content in the pill causing fluid retention, but this is very individual.  Your weight can impact your reproductive and overall health. If you need support, consult with a fertility nutritionist who can guide you on diet, exercise, and lifestyle adjustments tailored to your needs. Sex drive changes When you come off the pill, you might find your sex drive (libido) increases and you’re up for sex more often. This is because of a boost in testosterone during ovulation.  What are the emotional side effects of coming off the pill? Your hormones also significantly control your mood and coming off the pill can cause emotional and psychological effects too. Mood changes Usually, PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoria disorder), and mood swings may intensify when you stop the pill.  PMS and PMDD symptoms vary, but they often include anxiety, low self-esteem, mood swings, tiredness, irritability, fatigue, sluggishness, sleep issues, breast tenderness, cravings, a lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy, feeling tense, overwhelmed, and even having suicidal thoughts. This typically occurs in the second half of your cycle—the luteal phase—before your period and after ovulation. This is the time to be kind to yourself, and understand that you are not your thoughts, and they will pass. Tracking your menstrual cycle so you know when you might experience PMS can help to support you. When PMS hits, try steering clear of things that could ramp up your anxiety. Combat feelings of sadness or hopelessness with coping strategies that suit you. Think self-care like journaling, meditation, dancing, yoga, baths, or just some quiet time. Spruce up your surroundings for a more relaxed vibe. Soft blankets, candles, mellow lighting, and soothing music can make you feel more zen.And don’t forget, talking it out can work wonders. Share with friends, and family, or book an appointment with our clinical team. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) has been shown to ease the burden of PMDD. Long-term effects and fertility considerations Usually, after a few months of stopping the pill, your ovulation and menstrual cycle will return to normal. If no other underlying health conditions are impacting your fertility, you should be able to conceive.  At Hertility, we can support you at every stage, whether you’re trying to conceive or planning for future children.  Keep in mind that your fertility timeline after coming off the pill depends on many different factors. Age plays a role (females are generally more fertile in their […]

Can I Test My Hormones and Fertility While on Birth Control?-image

Can I Test My Hormones and Fertility While on Birth Control?

You can test some of your hormones with Hertility regardless of the type of birth control you’re using. In this article, we run through the differences between hormonal and non-hormonal birth control and which hormones you can test with us depending on the type you’re using.  Quick facts: Different types of birth control Despite most of us only being able to reel off a handful, there are actually many different types of birth control, or contraception. These include both hormonal and non-hormonal options, plus, long-term and short-term methods. Whatever method of contraception works best for you is personal and will depend on your goals, your body and if you choose to use hormonal contraception, your hormones too.  So, from condoms to coils, let’s take a look at the different types of birth control, how they work, and how each will affect a hormone and fertility test. What is hormonal contraception? Hormonal contraception uses synthetic hormones, which are basically (wo)man-made versions of our natural hormones, to either prevent us from ovulating and/or to bring about bodily changes that prevent pregnancy. Types of hormonal contraception include: How does hormonal contraception work? To understand how hormonal contraceptives work (and how this might affect your test), it’s important to first understand exactly how your hormones control your menstrual cycle and overall fertility. Your menstrual cycle hormones, including oestrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH) and testosterone, all work together to ensure that each month you ovulate a healthy, mature egg from one of your ovaries.  If any of these hormone levels are altered, disrupted or suppressed, your overall menstrual cycle and ovulation can be affected—impacting your fertility and ability to conceive.  Hormonal contraceptives use either a combination of synthetic oestrogen and synthetic progesterone (called progestin), or simply just progestin (depending on the type) to alter the balance of your menstrual hormones.  This brings about a series of bodily changes that prevent pregnancy, including: Hormonal contraception can also be used to help relieve hormonal symptoms, like acne, and those related to your menstrual cycle, like heavy menstrual bleeding. Can I test my hormones if I’m on hormonal contraception? Technically, yes you can—but because your natural hormone levels will be altered due to the synthetic hormones in your system, you won’t be able to get an accurate result of your natural menstrual cycle hormone levels, including your FSH, LH, or oestradiol (E2). The good news is, with Hertility, even if you’re on hormonal contraception, we can still test you for Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) and your thyroid hormones—Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and Free Thyroxine (FT4).  Taking a Hertility Hormone & Fertility Test to test your AMH will give you insight into how many eggs you’ve got left (your ovarian reserve), giving you a good idea of your current fertility. Hormonal contraception can temporarily impact AMH levels, to determine your ovarian reserve more accurately. We would recommend retesting your AMH with your cycling hormones (FSH, oestradiol and LH) at least 3 months after coming off your form of contraception. Your thyroid hormone levels are a good indicator of your general hormone health and remain unaffected by taking any hormonal contraception.  If you’re using a long-term form of hormone contraception, such as the contraceptive injection (known as Depo Provera), you might have to wait up to 12 months for your menstrual cycle hormones to regulate and get back to their natural levels, so we can get an accurate result. What is non-hormonal contraception? These are your contraceptive types that don’t contain any synthetic hormones, and won’t alter your natural hormone levels if you use them.  Types of non-hormonal contraception include: How does non-hormonal contraception work? Non-hormonal contraceptives prevent pregnancy through several different methods, the difference being they tend to use just one method, rather than a combination, like in hormonal contraception. These include:  These include: Can I test my hormones if I’m on non-hormonal contraception? Yes, you’re good to go! Non-hormonal contraception does not alter any of your natural hormone levels, so with our Hormone and Fertility Test you can test all of your menstrual cycle hormones, AMH and thyroid hormones when you’re using non-hormonal contraception. Do I need a hormone test? Testing your hormones and fertility can give you important insights into both your overall and reproductive health.  Whether you’re experiencing possible hormonal symptoms, or planning ahead for your future family forming options—testing can help give you clarity into what’s going on inside your body.  Our At-home Hormone & Fertility Test is personalised to you and based on your unique biometrics, medical history, cycle and symptoms. Our test will screen you for up to 18 reproductive health conditions and give you insights into your ovarian reserve. This can help you to identify any potential underlying health conditions or hormonal imbalances that could affect your chances of conceiving. We recommend regular testing—once a year, or every six months if you’re above 35 or have an underlying condition that might affect fertility. Because our hormones are constantly changing, regular testing helps to ensure you’re tracking any changes over time. This can help you to better manage any symptoms and measure the success of any lifestyle changes or medication if you need to. So, whether you’re curious about your health, planning for future children or trying to conceive, regular hormone testing with our At-Home Hormone & Fertility Tests could be an essential step toward understanding your reproductive health. If you’re on contraception, hormonal or non-hormonal, and want to test your hormones and fertility, you can get started today by taking our online health assessment today. References: