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Your Full Guide To Getting Off Birth Control 

Getting off birth control

Many people take birth control for a range of reasons. Yes, primarily birth control helps prevent pregnancy, but it can also alleviate painful periods, endometriosis, acne, and more. That being said, many people choose to get off of birth control after having been on it for a while.  Let’s look at some of the most common reasons why someone would choose to stop using birth control, how to get off it, and when to schedule a visit.

Common Reasons for Stopping Birth Control

Maybe you’re trying to get pregnant. Maybe you’re experiencing mood changes. Whatever the motive may be, there are various reasons why someone would choose to get off birth control. If you’re taking birth control and are interested in getting off it, you may either want a break from hormones, prepare for pregnancy, or you might want to stop due to unwanted side effects.

How To Get Off Your Birth Control

Decided that you for sure want to stop birth control? Once you’ve made your decision, you and your provider will need to consider the type of birth control you have. Each type of birth control warrants a different stopping method. 

The Pill, Patch, or Vaginal Ring

The patch, the ring, and oral contraceptives like “the pill” are the easiest to stop. Even though you can safely quit these birth control pills cold turkey, you may experience irregular periods, a heavy flow, or mood changes. Others may not experience any side effects at all.

Depo-Provera® Injection

Pregnancy prevention shots protect your body from conception due to a large dose of injected hormones. One of the most popular injectable birth controls is Depo-Provera®. This type of birth control stays in your system for three months, which makes it impossible to quit on the spot.

Even though you can’t exactly quit Depo-Provera® cold turkey, all you have to do is just not get your next shot. However, keep in mind that it may take three months or longer for your periods and fertility to return to normal.


If you have an IUD or hormonal implant, you’ll need to make an appointment with your provider. A provider from Women’s Health Arizona will remove the implant or IUD using special tools to minimize discomfort. 

We highly discourage the self-removal of IUDs or hormonal implants.

Seeing a doctor for birth control

Common Side Effects of Stopping Birth Control

Most people experience side effects after stopping birth control. This is because the body must rebalance itself naturally after having experienced external hormones. Some of the most common side effects of stopping birth control include:

  • Sex drive changes.
  • Changes to your menstrual cycle.
  • Mood changes.
  • Heavier periods or painful ovulation.
  • Weight changes.
  • Headaches.

Others may experience less common side effects like breast tenderness or unwanted hair growth. If you have concerns about getting off birth control, please get in touch with a healthcare provider from Women’s Health Arizona.

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Birth Control?

It depends, but typically it takes a few days for hormonal birth control to clear out of your system.  Those with IUDs may experience a normal hormonal balance almost immediately after removal.

Depo-Provera® and other hormonal birth control shots are designed to stay in the system for long periods. This means the medication may last in your system for as long as seven to nine months. 

If you’ve taken the birth control shot and want to plan on conceiving, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.

Benefits of Getting Off Birth Control

Even though birth control comes with its benefits, it can also cause a lot of negative side effects. Once you’ve stopped birth control, you may experience benefits like the ones below.

  • A decrease in weight-related effects – Stopping birth control may lead to a decrease in fluid build-up and lower hunger levels. 
  • Reduced risk of certain cancers – Getting off birth control may reduce the risk of cancers like breast cancer.
  • Improved gut health – You may experience better gut health, minimizing the risk of frequent gut bugs.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Please see a doctor if your period hasn’t returned after three months since stopping birth control. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our Women’s Health providers to discuss starting or stopping birth control, family planning, or any other concerns you might have.  Call or schedule an appointment online to visit a provider near you.

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