Today I’ll be chatting about how quitting hormonal birth control has been going for me over the last two months – how my new forms of non-hormonal birth control have been going, hormonal changes I’ve experienced, and what has been helpful for me throughout the process. Spoiler alert: I’m so happy I made this decision for myself!!
First, if you weren’t able to read Part 1, I highly recommend reading that first! I go over why I initially got on birth control, and research I did that convinced it was time to say bye bye to the pill. To those of you who reached out to me after reading my last post: thank you!!! It was so cool and inspirational for me to hear your stories about your journey, or to hear how it was inspirational for you to read as you consider quitting hormonal birth control. Starting these sorts of conversations is literally why I’m here, so let’s keep them coming!
If you’re up to speed, then let’s get to it…
I took the last pill in my pack in mid-March, so I’ve now been off hormonal birth control for a little over 2 months. I really didn’t know what to expect, after having read about lots of different people’s experiences and researching potential side effects. The one thing I decided to focus on was to be present and kind to myself through it all, giving myself time and space, and listening in to what my body was telling me I needed.
Non-hormonal birth control, hooray!
Daysy to the rescue
A huge win for me has been using Daysy. Daysy, the fertility tracker I spoke about in my last post, works by reading your basal body temperature each morning, which is your temperature when you’re fully at rest. You’re supposed to take your temperature very first thing in the morning, after at least three hours of uninterrupted rest. To use Daysy, you just take the cap off, press the button to turn it on, press it again to begin the reading, put it under your tongue, let it do its thing for about 30 seconds, then it quietly beeps when it’s done. It’s important to take your temperature before you even sit up, take a drink of water, or stand up. If you fully wake up, or are in motion, you’ve already thrown your resting temperature off.
Getting used to using Daysy was a laughable struggle for me at first. I was so paranoid I was going to wake up in the morning and stand up, or drink water before doing the reading. I kid you not, I woke up about 10 times per night for the first few weeks thinking it was time to wake up and take my temperature. If you’re considering using this approach, don’t worry, I highly doubt you’re as ridiculous as me haha
BUT, once I got the hang of it, I started to really like it. It forces me to pause for just a minute before grabbing my phone to check social media, or jumping out of bed to start my day. I’ve started to try to use the 30 seconds it takes to do the reading to just simply relax. I’ve noticed now that sometimes I even fall back to sleep in that 30 seconds!
I had done a bit of research on Daysy but couldn’t find anything around when to expect for it to begin giving me readings. (Daysy has to have a good amount of data from you before it can begin to confidently tell you if you’re fertile or not.) I began using Daysy the very next morning after ending my last birth control pack, and for 26 days I was super diligent. But all I got were yellow readings (meaning it isn’t quite sure what to tell you yet, and you should use an alternate form of birth control if you want to prevent pregnancy). I knew it wouldn’t be immediate, but I really wanted to know when to expect for it to begin working!
Quick overview of the color display options and their meanings:
- Red – you fertile, girl
- Yellow – mmmm, hard to say. be careful and use an alternate form of birth control
- Green – you’re good to go, you are not fertile
I was beginning to become impatient, but then when I started my period on day 27 – BAM! I got my first green reading. On the second month of using Daysy I only got 4 yellow readings, but then had 15 red readings, because it hasn’t yet figured out when I ovulate. This month I’m projected to have 13 red days. Basically, as you continue using it day after day, it gets more and more accurate about assessing when you’re fertile or not.
So, overall, Daysy has been a huge win for me. I can’t recommend it enough!
Me with my Daysy!
not to get all 9th grade health class on you…
… but those red days mean ya gotta find an alternate form of birth control if you aren’t tryna get pregnant. To be completely honest, the thought of using condoms was not ideal to me. Condoms (and tampons! More on that in another post…) have all sorts of harmful ingredients that aren’t ideal for your body. But, as a necessary precaution for my fertile days, I did some research and discovered Sustain – their condoms are nitrosomine free (a carcinogen in most condoms… what?!), and their latex is sourced by fair trade. They also happen to cost less than normal condoms you find at the drug store, so it’s a win win. Okay, enough about that (sorry if you’re reading, Dad!), and onto various changes I experienced once I quit the pill…
I read all sorts of stuff about how your hormones could be out of whack after getting off the pill, causing all sorts of problems – cycle regulation issues, crazy PMS and mood swings, skin breakouts, etc. Here’s what I experienced:
hello cycles, nice to feel you again
Hormonal birth control regulates your cycle and suppresses your natural hormones, so you shouldn’t ovulate and your cycles are regulated. For me, it was always super strange that I no longer could “feel” my body. On day 16 after quitting the pill, (counting my period days,) I felt that old feeling of ovulation come back. My boyfriend and I were walking Banjo around the neighborhood and I yelled out in surprise, I could feel both of my ovaries! Estefan looked at me like I was absolutely insane, but it was so wild to feel something I hadn’t felt in over 8 years.
After quitting the pill, many women experience a missed period for a month or two while their hormones figure out how to do their job again. I really wasn’t sure if I would menstruate immediately, but then on day 27 (as previewed above), my period was like heyyyy, remember me?? Then, 27 days after that, just like clockwork, came my second. I’m curious to see if this cycle will continue, but in the meantime I’ll take it as a win!
Although my pre-birth control vomiting issue has not returned (whoo!!), I did experience brief moments of nausea during this last period. I’ll continue to keep an eye on this and research how to support if it continues.
all the feels
The side effect I’m still sorting out has been mood changes. I mentioned in my last post that my emotions felt oddly tempered/dulled while on birth control. Well, pretty immediately after quitting the pill, it felt like a veil had been lifted. I’ve been having alllllll the feels over the last 2 months, and although it’s been a lot to sort through, honestly I’m super grateful for it. For example, this past weekend Estefan and I were at brunch and I was sharing with him about how I’ve felt confused about my purpose recently. He pulled out his phone to read me something to build me up, and I started to cry. Yes, maybe I looked crazy to some onlookers at brunch, but a good cry was what I needed in that moment, and it came authentically.
Another great mood change I’ve experienced is gaining my intuition back in a whole new way. Most of the time I excuse away my gut feelings about things, but now it’s undeniable for me. Even communicating honestly and authentically has become easier. Yay!
About a week after quitting the pill, I took my mom to get facials for her birthday. My aesthetician said my birth control had most likely been causing lots of buildup under my skin that I would need to be diligent about clearing out. I’ve gotten two peels in the last two months, which cause my sensitive skin to go wild, so it’s hard to say if things have gotten better or worse. While on birth control, I would always break out right before my period, and that’s still the case so far. I’ve just been doing my normal skin care routine for now (check out my products page to see what I use!), but will consider switching things up in the coming months if I don’t see improvement. For now I’ll ride out the skin care wave until I have more info.
I get by with a little help from my friends
I knew getting off of hormonal birth control could potentially be a bit of a challenge, and here are the things that have been supporting me through the process:
- Knowledge is power – Like I mentioned in my last post, Woman Code and the My Flo app have become my Bible over the last few months. These resources have been invaluable to me as I navigate how to best support my body through each of it’s phases. Over time things have become more intuitive to me, and I lean on these resources less and less
- Vitamins – I was previously using Ritual, but decided I wanted a more personalized vitamin selection. I’ve been using care/of for the last month and I’m obsessed. You fill out a short quiz about your lifestyle and goals, and they curate a selection of recommended vitamins. You can tweak the recommendations to your liking, then they send you a cute little box with 30 packets for each day of the month. (Check out what one of the packets looks like, below.) Use this link to get $40 off your first order! Among others, I have ashwagandha in my packet for stress, iron to prevent anemia, and rhodiola for mood. I also will add evening primrose oil to my order once I get through my current bottle, as it’s great for PMS support.
- Nutrition -This has been the toughest one for me to be diligent about so far. Other than adding a probiotic, enzyme, and multivitamin to my vitamin routine, I’d say my nutrition game has been off. After a long day at work, a lot of the time I’m not down to cook a healthy meal I know will support me. But, I’m goaling myself to focus in on this in the upcoming months, and will share out thoughts soon!
- Natural skin care – I try to use as many natural skin care products as possible, and have found that the Herbivore line works great for me. Use this link to get 15% off your first purchase! I recommend using that discount first, then Sephora also sells many of their products now.
- Self care, self care, self care – I mentioned this earlier, but a huge boost for me came through the form of being present and kind to myself, and practicing self care. Some days that meant saying no to a social invitation and staying in for some me time. Whatever self care looks like to you, I highly recommend you put it into overdrive when kicking hormonal birth control to the curb.
One of my care/of packages for the day – they have a new quote or fact on each package.
So, there you have it! This has been my experience 2 months after quitting hormonal birth control. I’m excited to see what’s next in my journey, and look forward to hearing your experiences too!
Have you gone through the process of eliminating hormonal birth control from your life? How did it go?