Why I Want To Stop Taking The Pill

18 Aug 2019

It's about to get real personal up in here! Let me start this by saying that the topic of sex and relationships isn't something I've talked about much on my blog before, but it's something that I'm really interested in on "the outside". I've said for a while that if I hadn't been so interested in writing and social media, I probably would have pursued a career in sex education. But this particular topic, the pill, is something that's been weighing on my mind a lot lately, so I figured it was time I got it all off my chest and told you what was going on.

To put it simply, I want to quit the pill. There are a few reasons why, which I'll talk about in a sec, but first, let me give you some back story.

I started taking Microgynon 30 when I was around 19. I was in university and from the way that people talked about the pill, it just sounded like it was the done thing. I'd just got into a new relationship and without really researching into other methods of contraception, I started taking the combined pill. This meant that I was taking it for 21 days and taking a 7seven day break in between each pack.

While I did learn about some of the side effects, I just didn't think that any of them applied to me. I pinned a lot of things down to university stress without considering that the tiny capsule of hormones I was pumping through my body each month could be the culprit. But over six years since I started taking it, I'm a bit more aware of what it's doing to my body and I think it's time to stop.

Why didn't I stop before?

As I mentioned, I didn't really believe that the pill could be affecting me in a negative way, so quitting wasn't something I'd considered until a couple of months ago. However, the thought kind of terrified me, so I've been stewing on it for a little while. I voiced my thoughts to Alex, who was really supportive and kind about it. In fact, he even made a brilliant point. He said, "depending on the situation, imagine if a friend said to you that they wanted to start ingesting something that changed the way their body works. You wouldn't want them to, would you?" and when it was put like that, it did make me realise that I don't have to keep taking it. There are plenty of other ways around!

Even though this was an idea that I had been stewing on, the thought of coming off the pill was also kind of scary. After over six years of taking it, I was extremely nervous of how my body would react. I threw a question out into the Twitterverse to get some real life experiences and I had the best conversations with an amazing bunch of women. Shout out to Alice, Beckie, Rachael, Becca, Hayleigh, Charlotte, Ar and Hayley! They showed me that there is no 'one size fits all' experience, and that it's more than normal for your body to be a bit out of whack for a while. It definitely gave me the confidence I needed!

So let's talk about why I actually want to stop taking Microgynon. However, I should point out that none of the things I'm going to mention have been proven to be affected by the pill. They're just things that I've noticed and wondered whether the pill wasn't helping.

Nausea

I rarely get nausea in a super bad way, but I've realised that around half an hour after I take my pill in the morning, I get a really awful, sicky feeling. This is one of those things that I had noticed previously, but never made the connection between the two. It usually passes within an hour, but sometimes, I can be left feeling nauseous for most of the day, swinging between feeling sick and feeling ok.

I had read that nausea was a side effect of the pill, but I didn't think mine was 'bad' enough to even be classed as nausea, but I definitely have a sneaky suspicion that the sudden sick feeling I have after taking the pill is caused by the pill. It kind of makes sense, right?

Mental health

The decline in my mental health is something that I've often blamed on university and all the stress of it, but I seem to forget that this was the time that I started taking the pill too. Since taking it, I've had way more panic attacks, heightened social anxiety, depressed days and really dark thoughts, and from talking to other people about it, this seems to be a common trend. Like I say though, there is no 'one size fits all', however, I would like to see if my mental health improves when I stop taking the pill.

Weight

It's fair to say that I'm the heaviest I've ever been right now. The saddest bit about it is that I look at old photos of myself and think 'I thought I was fat then', when the reality is that I was totally fine. Since starting the pill, my weight has fluctuated massively, and the numbers seem to continue to go up, no matter how hard I try. This definitely isn't completely down to the pill - I've just started in a desk job, I love cake and I piled on the relationship weight, but I don't think it has helped.

From what I've read online and what I've been told by others that have stopped, it's common to see a drop in weight when you go cold turkey, so I would really like to see if quitting makes a difference for me. Obviously, I'm not relying on it totally, so I'll still be keeping up my yoga and hooping!

Just the thought of it

It sounds daft, but the thought of taking the pill now makes me feel a bit weird. To think that I've been pumping hormones into my body every month for over six years is kind of scary. I've been filling up my entire body, not just my downstairs, with artificial oestrogen and progesterone for over a quarter of my life. Obviously, it's a form of contraception that works and it does the job, but I'm at the point now where I'm thinking 'is it worth it for all the extra stuff that's possibly come along with it?' It's time that my body got a bit of a break and I explored some different methods.

While I feel like all of these side effects have come along with the pill, this is absolutely not me telling anyone what contraception they should and shouldn't be using. There are things that are great for some which aren't ideal for others, so please, don't take what I'm saying and think 'this doesn't sound like it's for me'. If in doubt, speak to your GP!

When will I stop taking it?

Even though I'm still a teensy bit nervous about it, I'm going to stop taking the pill after I've finished my current pack. I've got two months worth left to get through, so once they're done, I'll be going cold turkey. Even though I am anxious about it, I would like to stop ASAP, but it feels sensible to finish the pack first. I'm also going to try my best not to back out of it, so I'm hoping to turn this into a sort of mini series. I want to keep you lot updated on my progress, which will give me a bit of a diary to reflect on!

I think I've covered all I needed to say there, and I feel a lot better for getting it out and writing it down. And now that it's out there, it means that I have to go through with it, so watch this space! But in the meantime, I'd love to know if any of you have stopped taking the pill. It would be great to hear some more real life experiences!

If you're considering starting contraception or changing your contraception methods, please seek the advice of your GP or sexual health nurse.


Whould you like to comment?

  1. Stopping the pill was such a good thing for me! I switched to the implant and I'm currently on my second one - it's helped me so much I highly recommend it

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    1. Ahh wow! I'm so glad you've found a method that works for you! I'm currently researching into the implant, so I'm really grateful for you sharing your experience :)

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  2. I've just stopped taking mine after seven years and while I don't 'see' much of a difference (I've gained a bit of weight but I don't know if I should put it down to stopping), I feel better mentally. I'm mentally free. Like you said, I've been pumping my body full of these hormones for so long I've forgotten what my body is supposed to feel like on a day-to-day basis. I have no idea how long it will take for my body to return to my normal, but I'm looking forward to it.

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    1. Hi Mary! Thank you so much for reading the post and sharing your experience with me. The mental freedom that you've mentioned is exactly what I'm looking for. I know it won't be an instant thing, but I really am looking forward to seeing what happens. I hope your experience continues to be smooth :)

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  3. I'm so glad people are starting to talk about things like this, so thanks so much for sharing!
    I recently came off the pill too (in May) after being on it for 10 years!
    I'd started to get migraines and after trying a couple of different pill options I just went cold turkey too and absolutely don't regret it!
    It cane be a bit worrying when your cycle is all over the place (mine still is) so don't get too worried about that, these things take time to readjust :)

    Rachel | Teacups & Tartan

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    1. Ahh Rachel! I'm so glad the post resonated with you - thank you so much for reading! It's so reassuring to hear that you have no regrets about quitting and it makes me feel a whole lot more confident too. Thank you for sharing and your kind words :)

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