Stopping the pill and menstruation: what are the effects on menstruation?

Today, many women use the contraceptive pill. It's an easy-to-use contraceptive method. There are several reasons why a woman may decide to stop taking the pill: a desire to become pregnant, a change in contraception or the desire to stop taking hormones. Do periods return quickly? We tell you all about it in this article!

How does stopping the pill work?

First of all, if you want to stop taking the pill, it's best to talk to your doctor or gynecologist about finding another contraceptive method. In fact, if you're not planning a pregnancy, it's important to remember that you can become pregnant the day after you stop taking the pill. If you do have intercourse, remember to use another contraceptive method, such as a condom.

You can stop taking the pill at any time during the course of your pack. However, if your periods tend to be irregular, or if you'd like to get a better fix on your next cycles, we recommend that you finish your pack so that your body feels as little lost as possible. Periods on the pill are in fact artificial, and are called withdrawal bleeding. Your body starts to function normally again and to have real "natural" periods.

What impact does stopping the pill have on menstruation?

It's legitimate to wonder about the impact that stopping the pill will have on our bodies, and in particular on the first post-stop bleeding. There are a number of side effects associated with stopping this little pill.

Resumption of the biological menstrual cycle

Stopping means resuming the biological cycle. In theory, after stopping the pill, the cycle starts up 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 contraceptive method, or take greater control of your body, menstruation is a landmark in our cycle.

But delayed periods are common. In fact, :

  • on the one hand, the hormones ingested during the previous months by taking the pill must be eliminated
  • on the other hand, for hormone production to resume

Menstruation may not occur until two or three months after stopping the pill, or even longer. Similarly, it's quite possible that your cycles, and therefore your blood loss, will be irregular for up to 1 year after stopping the pill.
When your first menstrual period appears after stopping the pill, it will tend to return (over time) to its pre-pill state.

That is, in terms of flow, duration, pain, etc. They are often heavier and more painful than on the pill.

Always remember to protect yourself after stopping the pill, even if you haven't yet had your period, as the contraceptive effect is no longer guaranteed!

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

Menstruation isn't the only hormonal change you have to deal with. There are also positive and negative side effects. The cycle starts to work again, gradually producing hormones. With this comes the resumption of premenstrual syndrome (pain, mood swings, etc. a few days before menstruation), mood swings depending on the stage of the cycle, a resumption or increase in libido, a change in the appearance of the skin, with, for example, a resumption of acne if you suffered from it before taking the pill. But if you weren't prone to acne before, clear skin will eventually return within a few months. Finally, potential weight variations may occur.
Generally speaking, you will more or less regain the symptoms you had before taking the pill.
Some women observe a reconnection with their cycle and emotions, sometimes smoothed out under the pill.

The onset of premenstrual syndrome symptoms

When your first period arrives, you'll be able to rediscover the joys of premenstrual syndrome. More or less present depending on the woman, it manifests itself in multiple symptoms that appear between 2 and 7 days before menstruation (sometimes more!), such as swelling and pain in the lower abdomen, breast pain, headaches, irritability, mood swings, acne, etc. PMS may have been smoothed out while taking the pill. When you stop taking the pill, it's 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 periods on the pill were much shorter, it's normal for them to return to a normal length when the pill is stopped. Menstruation generally lasts from 2 to 7 days. This varies from woman to woman and from stage to stage.

What to do if menstruation is late or non-existent after stopping the pill?

Sometimes, the wait is very long. Delayed or absent periods (amenorrhea) can quickly become a source of anxiety.
However, you should be aware that stress accentuates the delay in menstruation even more.
If it's any consolation, consult a health professional if your bleeding doesn't return after several months. It takes time for the synthetic hormones to be eliminated, for natural production to resume and for the body to function normally again. 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've missed a pill in the previous month), take a pregnancy test!

FAQs on menstruation after stopping the pill

When do I start menstruating after stopping the pill?

Every 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 get my period after stopping the pill?

Every woman is different. For some women, it's more complicated and it will take longer for everything to get back to normal. You need to give your body time to recover and restart its hormonal production, which will lead to the appearance of cycles again. You can consult your GP, gynecologist or midwife if you're worried about your amenorrhea and want to take stock of your health.

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