11 Side Effects of Stopping Birth Control & How To Manage Them

When stopping birth control methods, you may experience various side effects, including acne, weight changes, cramping, or irregular menstrual cycles.

You can come off some birth control methods by yourself by simply stopping them, such as the pills, or removing them, such as the patches. 

However, some birth control methods, such as implants or IUDs (intrauterine devices), need to be removed by a healthcare professional.

This article explores what happens when you stop taking birth control, potential side effects, how to manage the side effects, the benefits of coming off birth control, and how long birth control withdrawal symptoms last after stopping.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control?

The side effects of getting off birth control may vary in different individuals, and it’s important to note that not everyone will experience them.

Some of the potential side effects of stopping birth control are:

1) A Higher Likelihood of Getting Pregnant

In most people, ovulation becomes regular within one or two months after stopping birth control. One study found that 80 percent of people could conceive within a year after getting off hormonal birth control, such as oral pills, IUDs, and contraceptive injections.

2) Menstrual Cycle Changes

One of the major side effects of getting off birth control is that your periods may become irregular and heavier. You may also have more cramping during periods after ending birth control.

3) Premenstrual Syndrome

The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may also reappear after you get off birth control. You may feel more anxious, irritable, and depressed before your periods.

4) Ovulation Cramps

Most hormonal birth control methods work by preventing ovulation. So, as you stop birth control, your body begins ovulating again, and you may feel a cramping pain on one side of the pelvis at the time of ovulation. 

5) Headaches

Many women report migraine headaches during their periods that happen due to reduced levels of estrogen. Certain types of birth control pills (for example, extended-cycle pills) that extend the duration between periods or skip them altogether may prevent the occurrence of migraines.

For these women, stopping birth control may increase the frequency of headaches.

organic garlic supplement

6) Weight Changes

If you have been using progestin-only birth control (such as injections, certain pills, or hormonal IUDs), you may have gained a couple of pounds after starting them. Hence, by stopping birth control, you may lose some weight.

7) Acne and Unwanted Hair Growth

The hormonal contraceptive pills, especially the combination pills (containing both progestin and estrogen hormones), help in reducing the levels of androgen in the body. Hence, stopping them can bring back the symptoms of acne and unwanted hair growth in areas such as the face, chest, and back.

8) Tender Breasts

Tenderness of breasts before periods is a common symptom in many women that may occur due to increased levels of progesterone (the latter stimulates the growth of milk glands, causing breast tenderness).

Taking birth control pills helps regulate hormone levels and relieve the symptoms of breast tenderness. Hence, when you go off birth control pills, you may again start getting tenderness of breasts before your periods.

9) Changes in Libido

In some women, hormonal birth control may reduce their sex drive. Hence, stopping birth control may increase their sex drive and libido.

10) Bleeding After Mirena IUD Removal

After removing a Mirena IUD, women may experience discomfort and bleeding for a couple of days.

11) Mirena Crash

The Mirena IUD releases a synthetic type of progesterone hormone known as levonorgestrel. 

In some people, longer-lasting physical, neurological, and psychological symptoms appear after the removal of the Mirena IUD due to a drop in the progesterone hormone. 

There is no description of the Mirena crash by doctors in medical literature, and its description is obtained from personal experiences and reports from women.

The symptoms of the Mirena crash patients have reported include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced sex drive

These symptoms may last for weeks or months in some cases. However, no research has been carried out on the Mirena crash, its causes, symptoms, and potential treatment.

You can use OTC painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to help with pain. You may try complementary treatments, including yoga, heating pads, warm baths, etc., to ease cramping.

Talk to a doctor if you’re experiencing the above symptoms or any side effects you are concerned about.

Managing the Side Effects From Getting Off Contraception 

The side effects of quitting hormonal birth control are temporary, and most of them disappear gradually without any type of treatment.

You should manage individual side effects separately.

1) Avoiding Pregnancy

If you don’t want to conceive, use condoms or any other kind of contraceptive method immediately after stopping birth control pills.

2) How To Manage Hormonal Acne

You may manage hormonal acne by reducing stress, including probiotic supplements in your diet, or switching cleansers.

3) Managing Heavy Periods

You may manage heavy periods by using menstrual cups, getting plenty of rest, and wearing period panties during sleep. You can also use a heating pad to reduce period cramps

4) Dealing With Period Cramps

Doing regular, gentle exercises such as yoga may reduce stress and help deal with cramping and pain during periods. You should also drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

5) Alleviating Sore Breasts

To manage tender, sore breasts, you may apply cold compresses to the breasts.

6) Managing Headaches

To manage headaches, you may take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medicines.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

  • Receive 10% off our best-selling supplements
  • Get Your FREE Sleep Guide
  • Be the first to hear about sales and promotions
  • Stay up to date on our latest health news

By clicking “Download Now”, I agree to Ben's Natural Health Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

When to Consult a Healthcare Professional?

The side effects after going off birth control will disappear gradually over time; however, they may last longer in some individuals. 

If any of the side effects of stopping contraceptives do not resolve with time, you should consult your healthcare physician.

It is also important to speak to your physician if you do not get your periods within six months of getting off hormonal birth control.

Furthermore, after the removal of the IUD, if you develop symptoms of chills, fever, or excessive bleeding from the vagina, you should seek immediate medical attention.

What Are The Potential Benefits of Coming off Birth Control?

The benefits of stopping birth control may vary in different individuals. Some of the potential benefits include:

  • Lighter periods
  • Clearer skin
  • The ability to conceive immediately after stopping birth control
  • Increased sex drive and libido
  • Improved mood

Can You Stop Birth Control at Any Time?

It’s a good idea to speak to a healthcare professional if you want to come off birth control.

There is no right or wrong time to stop taking birth control. If you are taking contraceptive pills, you can simply stop taking them, irrespective of whether you have completed the pack or not.

If you are using the NuvaRing contraceptive, you may remove it on your own.

But, if you are using an internal birth control device such as an IUD or an implant, you have to get them removed by a trained nurse or doctor.

How Long Does Birth Control Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Your body may take anywhere between a few weeks and months to adjust after you stop birth control. 

During this time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms of weight changes, acne, headaches, menstrual cycle irregularities, heavy periods, mood swings, etc.

This is referred to as post-birth control syndrome, though it is not a medical diagnosis given by doctors officially.


  • Some people may develop side effects after stopping birth control. Though a very small amount of research has been done on this, the side effects may occur due to a change in the level of hormones.
  • The adverse effects of stopping birth control are temporary. These may include acne, unwanted hair growth, mood swings, and weight changes. 
  • Removal of an IUD may result in vaginal bleeding in some cases that gets better within a couple of days.
  • If you are planning to stop hormonal birth control, it is best to consult your healthcare physician before doing so. They may recommend safe ways to do it and help you understand what you should expect and what happens when you stop taking birth control.

Explore More

condom size chart

How Big Are Condoms? How To Know What Size Condom To Buy.


  1. Girum, T., Wasie, A. Return of fertility after discontinuation of contraception: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Contracept Reprod Med 3, 9 (2018).
  2. Raffaelli, B., Do, T.P., Chaudhry, B.A. et al. Menstrual migraine is caused by estrogen withdrawal: revisiting the evidence. J Headache Pain 24, 131 (2023).
  3. Nappi RE, Tiranini L, Sacco S, De Matteis E, De Icco R, Tassorelli C. Role of Estrogens in Menstrual Migraine. Cells. 2022 Apr 15;11(8):1355. doi: 10.3390/cells11081355. PMID: 35456034; PMCID: PMC9025552.
  4. Contraception: An International Reproductive Health Journal, November 2011.
  5. European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care: “The influence of combined oral contraceptives on female sexual desire: a systematic review.”
  6. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: “Intrauterine Device (IUD),” “Birth Control Shot,” “Birth control methods.”
  7. Cooper DB, et al. (2022). Oral contraceptive pills.
  8. Johnson BA. (2005). Insertion and removal of intrauterine devices.
  9. Hwang JH. (2019). Treatment of postpill amenorrhea with abdominal obesity by traditional Korean medicine treatment focused on pharmacopuncture and moxibustion.

Top Products

Total Health


Glucose Control