If you were following us this past summer, then you know that I had some intense struggles with my hormonal IUD. It was great at first but it quickly became a problem for my mental health. Needless to say, I had it removed back in August.
It’s been almost six months since stopping all hormonal birth control. I started the birth control pill when I was 17 and took it for 10 years until I tried the Mirena IUD. I had only ever stopped the pill once before – for only 3 months – but shortly after stopping it I hooked up with Andy and decided to start taking it again.
Basically, I had been taking hormones since turning 17. When I started them, I only noticed a difference in the intensity of my cramps (decreased). I had seemingly no other side effects – no weight gain, no boob changes, no acne, etc. My cycle was always regular and I never felt like I had PMS.
Since stopping all hormones back in August, I’ve actually noticed some changes in my body. I have NO idea if this is because I stopped hormones or if I am getting older. Honestly, it could very well be a mix. I’m pretty sure it is a mix, but they have happened so rapidly that I’m inclined to think that my hormones are balancing themselves out.
Please note that NONE of this is backed by science. These are my own personal observations from the past six months. Some of this might happen to you but most of it probably won’t. Please understand that this is NOT scientific and you should always, always, always talk to your doctor before changing your birth control methods.
1. My Mood!
This is the biggest perk of stopping hormonal birth control. I am significantly calmer and happier. I have fewer mood swings and fewer intense reactions to frustrations. I have been known as a generally crabby person but I feel like this dark shadow has been lifted off of my moods. It has made such a difference in my mood that we have decided as a couple that I won’t restart hormonal birth control.
This isn’t to say that I’m super pleasant all the time. This is definitely not the case at all – it is in my personality to call people out for their bullshit and thankfully that hasn’t changed.
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I don’t know if I just never had PMS on birth control or if it just blended in with my overall sour mood swings throughout the month. Since stopping hormones, I have noticed that about 1-2 days prior to my period, I do get crabby. The first time it happened I was shocked. I was like “omg this is what PMS is”. I’d never experienced it as a separate entity. It’s pretty mild and I would prefer PMS over constant crabbiness.
3. Period/Cramps/All That Stuff
On the pill, my cycle lasted 28 days and I bled for about 5 days. I had some cramps on day 2 and my legs often felt like jell-o but that was kind of it. PRIOR to taking hormonal birth control, my cramps would be so bad that I would puke from pain or have to miss school. This was obviously one of my biggest fears of stopping hormones, but I am pleasantly surprised by my lack of cramps.
Instead, my cycle now lasts 26 days and I still bleed for about 5 days. Not much has changed.
4. Body Hair
My pubes have expanded down my legs. Seriously, I actually got hairier since stopping hormones. Before they were just slowly creeping down my leg and now they seem to have sped up in the past 6 months. Again, could totally be my age but it just seems too coincidental.
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My forehead has become a grease pit. I can basically tell when I’m ovulating and when I’m about to get my period by the amount of oil that builds up on my forehead. I wasn’t too greasy in high school, but my face is making up for it now.
6. Taste Buds
People don’t believe me when I say that my taste buds have changed. It was so drastic that Andy and I couldn’t help but make the connection with the hormones. Seriously, food that I used to love no longer tastes great. Everything seems to be a bit ‘duller’ and I need to add a toooooooon of spice to make something actually taste spicy. Could be a coincidence, but I really don’t think it is. It also doesn’t seem to be a temporary thing.
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7. My Vulva
There have been so many changes with my vulva and vagina.
First, my clit has become so much more sensitive. It actually has required us to re-learn what works for me. Things that previously required Andy to be aggressive now require him to be gentle or it instantly hurts. It also seems that my clit has actually become larger and more exposed than before.
Ironically, I get less wet. It isn’t just because we are using condoms (although that definitely plays a role). It also happens when we’re using mouths/fingers/toys. We’ve been using a lot more lubricant during most sex sessions. How I can become more sensitive and less naturally lubricated at the same time kind of astounds me.
The left side of my labia minora has somehow managed to get a bit longer. It could be due to age but it has happened too coincidentally with the enlargement of my clit for me to just ignore it. It kind of just happened – we looked down one day and noticed it was larger.
I can also tell when I’m ovulating due to an increase in vaginal discharge. Andy can tell when I’m about to ovulate because I tend to taste differently. The body is pretty cool.
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This is actually the one thing that really hasn’t changed. I’ve heard that other people notice almost immediate differences when they start or stop hormonal birth control but I personally have not noticed a difference. Luckily, I’m pretty content with my level of libido.
I know some of it makes sense and some of it doesn’t make sense, but this is just my personal experience. If anything changes, I’ll keep you in the loop! For now, we’re using SKYN Lifestyle condoms (non-latex) and dealing with it pretty well. I definitely miss some of the spontaneity without condoms, but my overall improved mood is totally worth it.
Have you had a similar experience? Or is it totally different? Leave a comment and let us know – we’re super curious to find out what other people have gone through!