I’ve had a handful of messages in relation to one of my previous posts – “Coming off the contraceptive pill after 10 years”. So I thought I’d do a little update for anyone who might be curious as to what happened next.
So after taking my daily dose of synthetic hormones for over a decade, and coming to the sad realisation that I’d been on the pill for all of my adult life – I decided it was finally time to start exploring alternative avenues. However, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.. Would I instantly revert back to being a hormonal teenager? Or perhaps find myself transformed into a woman perfectly in tune with her cycle?! And how long would it take for my periods and fertility to revert back to “normal”??
It’s now been around 8 months since I ditched contraception. And the good news? I’m still absolutely convinced that it was right decision for me.
Below are a few common questions. Along with a little bit of extra TEA, to keep things interesting.
I read somewhere that you’re more likely to bleed longer, heavier and more painfully post-pill. Unfortunately, I can confirm this to be the case for me personally. My periods are noticeably heavier than they were whilst I was on the pill (soz if that’s TMI, just keeping it 100). It therefore didn’t come as much of a surprise when my period pains became way more intense too – hot water bottle on standby. BUT, I did have super light and relatively painless periods beforehand so that was kind of expected (because the pill typically makes periods lighter and less painful). But I am surprisingly comfortable with these recent changes despite the pain and inconvenience. Because I know that it’s just my body doing its natural thang, which makes it easier to endure in a way.
Oh, did I mention that my nipples become the most sensitive things in life when I’m due on?
It’s hard to say if my periods have returned to “normal” as so much has changed since I was 16 i.e lifestyle, body, diet ETC. But I do remember my periods being similar to how they are now, so it’s definitely a possibility. In terms of fertility.. I’ve honestly no idea. But since the pills main function is to prevent your body from ovulating, or releasing an egg, it’s probably safest to assume that normal service resumes after you stop taking it.
Ahh yes.. my new-found demonic mood swings when I’m due on <3. But seriously girls. Little insignificant mishaps that wouldn’t usually phase me, such as not being able to find my keys in my bag, or discovering that I’ve run out of Oatly in a morning can really fuck.me.off. And I get this wave of frustration over my entire body that makes me want to sit on the floor and cry like a spoilt toddler. It’s so jokes though because at the time, I’m fully able to laugh at what an unreasonable and dramatic bitch I’m being. And I can always acknowledge that I’m being a hormonal crank. It tends to be the week leading up to my period that I feel / notice it the most, as opposed to when I’m actually on which is interesting. But they’re the only adverse effects I’ve experienced thus far, promise!
This is a bit of an awkward one to answer as I’ve always been a very similar weight. I do fluctuate from time to time like most people, although it’s only ever half a stone here or there nothing too dramatic. I’d say that I probably don’t look much different, and I personally haven’t noticed any significant weight loss/gain or abnormal fluctuation over the last 8 months. And to echo the point I made earlier.. my lifestyle and diet has changed dramatically since I was 16. So I definitely was not expecting to revert back to my former 16 year old body. After all, how could I? I’m a woman with hips and tits now – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Can we just take a moment to talk about my fucking skin. My skin has been SO much better since coming off the pill. It’s undoubtedly the most noticeable change so far on my contraception-free journey. As in, I went from having mild acne (which randomly started at the age of 25?!?), to now having relatively clear skin. Textured of course, but mostly clear. I still get a couple of belters during my time of month obvz, but nothing compared to what it was. It could be due to the fact that I’ve worn makeup about 3 times since lockdown started in March – which is also when I came off the pill. Or because I’m no longer consuming hormone altering pills every morning. Hmm. I’ll let you be the judge.
CONTRACEPTION & SEX
I’ve had a couple of conversations about this since going contraception free, and if you read my previous post on the subject you’ll be familiar with the app Natural Cycles. I purchased the app as soon as I came off the pill as I’d heard a few stories of women falling pregnant as soon as they came off the pill (nooo thank you). So I wasn’t taking any chances. It was around £60 (give or take) for the year and they sent me a little thermometer in the post, intended for me to take my temperature every morning. I was really good for the first few months, taking my temp every morning and logging my period, flow, mood, sex drive, whether or not I’m ill / hungover etc. I’ve gotten a bit lazy with it through lockdown which is naughty of me but I am going to get back on track!!
The way it works as a form of contraception is it gives you “red” and “green” days throughout your cycle. The “red” days being your fertile days, and the “green” days being your non-fertile days. I’ll copy and paste the info I wrote on this app from my previous post to save me repeating myself. Work smarter not harder x
“This method of ‘periodic abstinence’ actually dates way back to ancient times, and is one of the oldest prevention methods used. Fertility awareness-based methods involve finding the fertility window and abstaining from sex when there’s risk. Apparently, us women are only fertile for around 6 days of our cycle (around the time of ovulation). This fertile period is indicated by a spike in body temp, an increase in hormones, along with changes to “cervical mucus” (nice). So, charting these gives a very good indication of where women are in their chart.
Today’s technology means there are apps which use basal body temperature data, paired with algorithm, in order to learn the pattern of a woman’s unique cycle. And, is able to predict and find ovulation. These types of apps give green days for when you’re “not fertile”, and red days for when there is a risk of getting preggers. If the algorithm is ever in doubt, it gives you a red day to ensure maximum certainty. They also give you a daily fertility status so you’re in no doubt about where you are in your cycle, and if there’s any risk for that particular day.”
Up to now, the app gives me around 1.5 weeks of green days and 2.5 weeks of red days per month. But this is because I’ve gotten lazy with entering the information it relies on in order to give me an accurate prediction. The week that is usually green is the week after my period, so this is apparently when I’m least fertile during my cycle. Meaning, the chances of me getting pregnant during this period are really low. The app is constantlyyy reminding me that the more I enter my temp and additional info, the more green days I’ll get as a result.
For anyone interested.. on my green days, I have sex as normal (from start to finish). And on red days, the same but you have to get a little bit creative with the ending. Dad if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. Just remember to be especially cautious around the time of ovulation, as this is when you’re most fertile. It’s not uncommon for women to abstain from sex altogether during these days as an extra precaution.
So far this method seems to be working for me, but it may not necessarily be the same for everybody. AKA don’t be knocking on my door in 9 months time with a pram, throwing hands. Anyway I hope this was semi informative / helpful for someone looking to explore other options. More than happy to answer any questions if I can!! Just drop me a message x