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FAQ When Going On or Off Birth Control Pills

If you have a special event like a wedding or vacation coming up, consider how a change with your birth control might impact you. If you plan to make a change, allow yourself enough time to acclimate before your special event. Changes can affect:

  • mood
  • skin
  • period changes ( heavier, less regular )
  • sex drive

Read about how you can be affected by changes to your birth control below.

Your mood may be affected: some people are more sensitive to hormones than others, so it’s difficult to predict how you will react to going on or off birth control pills. Some women have reported feeling depressed or anxious when starting the pill and others say they feel better. What we know is that hormonal birth control pills contain progesterone and estrogen hormones, both of which can impact mood. There are also other forms of birth control that do not contain hormones, so you have other options.

Facial skin can change: acne is triggered by over-production of sebum, an oil made by glands in your skin that can clog pores and create bacteria that leads to facial breakouts. Androgen hormones like testosterone contribute to producing sebum and your ovaries and adrenal glands naturally produce a low level of them. Birth control pills contain estrogen and progesterone, hormones that lower the amount of androgen in your body, so they can counteract the testosterone and lower the production of sebum, leading to clearer skin.

The opposite can happen when going off the pill, so managing the timing of starting and stopping birth control is in your best interest for clear facial skin.

Your period could be different: Most women on the birth control pill have lighter, shorter and very regular periods. There also tends to be less cramping. Going on the pill can offer all of these benefits; but be mindful that going off the pill may mean that periods will change again.

Sex drive can be a concern: While some women say they experience a decrease in sexual desire when taking birth control pills, most women have no change, and some may even notice an increase.  Many other things can impact a woman’s sex drive, including health, age, stress and relationships.  The best advice is to contact a medical professional to guide your decisions in advance.

At Southdale ObGyn, we offer you the choice of a physician, Certified Nurse Midwife or Certified Nurse Practitioner. Whomever you choose, make sure to discuss the options and side effects of changes to your birth control. We can help you ensure that you give yourself enough time before your special event.