Stopping the pill and menstruation: what effects on menstruation?

Many women today use the contraceptive pill. Indeed, it is a simple method of contraception to use. There are several reasons why a woman may stop using the pill: a desire to become pregnant, a change in contraception or the desire to stop taking hormones. Do periods come back quickly? We tell you everything in this article!


How does stopping the pill work?

First of all, if you want to stop taking the pill, it is best to talk to your doctor or gynecologist to find another method of contraception. Indeed, if you do not have any pregnancy plans or desire for a baby, it is important to remember that you can become pregnant the day after you stop taking the pill. If you do have sex, remember to use another method of contraception such as a condom.

It is possible to stop the pill at any time during your pack. However, if your periods tend to be irregular or if you want to get a better feel for your next cycles, we recommend that you finish your pack so that your body is as little lost as possible. Periods on the pill are actually artificial and are called withdrawal bleeding. Your body starts to function normally again and to have a real "natural" period.

What is the impact of stopping the pill on my period?

It is legitimate to wonder about the impact that stopping the pill will have on your body and in particular on the first bleeding after stopping. There are several side effects to stopping this little pill.

The resumption of the biological menstrual cycle

Stopping the pill means resuming the biological cycle. In theory, after stopping the pill, the cycle starts again: menstrual flow, follicular phase, ovulation and luteal phase reappear. But this can take time.

The arrival of the first period after stopping the pill

The first period after stopping the pill is often eagerly awaited. Whether you want to switch to another method of contraception or want to take more control of your body, menstruation is a milestone in our cycle.

But delayed periods are common. Indeed, it is necessary :

  • on the one hand that the hormones ingested during the previous months by taking the pill are eliminated
  • on the other hand that the production of hormones starts again


Menstruation may not arrive until two or three months after stopping, or even longer. It is also possible that your cycles and therefore your blood loss will be irregular for up to a year after stopping.
When your first menstrual period after stopping appears, it will tend to return (over time) to its state before taking the pill.

That is to say, in terms of flow, duration, pain, etc. Often they are more abundant and painful than on the pill.

Always remember to protect yourself after stopping the pill, even if you have not yet had your period, because the contraceptive effect is no longer guaranteed!

What other effects does stopping the pill have on the body?

Menstruation is not the only hormonal change you have to deal with. There are positive and negative side effects. The cycle starts to work again and gradually starts producing hormones. With that, come the resumption of the premenstrual syndrome (pains, change of mood, ... a few days before the menstruation), variations of moods according to the stages of the cycle, a resumption or increase of the libido, a modification of the aspect of the skin, with for example the resumption of the acne if you suffered from it before taking the pill. But if you were not prone to acne before, clear skin will eventually return within a few months. Finally, potential weight changes may occur.
In general, you will more or less return to the symptoms you had before taking the pill.
Some women observe a reconnection with the cycle and emotions, sometimes smoothed out on the pill.

The onset of premenstrual syndrome symptoms

When your first period arrives, you will be able to rediscover the joys of premenstrual syndrome. More or less present depending on the woman, it translates into multiple symptoms that appear between 2 and 7 days before menstruation (sometimes more!) such as swelling and pain in the lower abdomen, pain in the breasts, headaches, irritability, changes in mood, acne, etc. PMS may have been smoothed out while taking the pill. When you stop taking the pill, it is quite natural for it to reappear.

Generally speaking, the body resumes its natural functioning, which leads to different symptoms throughout the cycle.

A change in the length of the menstrual cycle

If your period on the pill was much shorter, it is normal for it to return to a normal length when you stop it. Menstruation usually lasts from 2 to 7 days. This varies from woman to woman and from stage to stage.

What to do if your period is late or even non-existent after stopping the pill?

Sometimes, the wait is very long. A delay in menstruation or even an absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) can very quickly become a source of anxiety.
However, you should know that stress accentuates the delay of menstruation even more.
If it can reassure you, consult a health professional if your bleeding does not return after several months. It takes time to eliminate the synthetic hormones, resume natural production and get back to normal. Eventually, your menstrual bleeding will return. If your period still hasn't returned and you think there's a risk of pregnancy (for example, if you missed a pill in the last month), take a pregnancy test!


The FAQ of menstruation after stopping the pill

When does the period arrive after stopping the pill?

Each woman experiences stopping the pill differently. Some will have their period the following month, others after 6 months, others even longer... Delayed periods are common.

Why don't I have a period after stopping the pill?

Every woman is different. For some women, it is more complicated and it will take longer for everything to return to normal. You need to give your body time to recover and restart its hormonal production, which will make cycles appear again. You can consult your general practitioner, gynecologist or midwife if you are anxious about your amenorrhea and want to take stock of your health.

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