Reviewed by

Rebecca Verhofstede - Midwife & Menstrual Cycle Expert


Quitting the pill - how to get your body back on track

Reviewed by

Rebecca Verhofstede - Midwife & Menstrual Cycle Expert

Quitting the pill is a big step. You might be afraid that you’ll experience side effects, or that symptoms that stopped when you started taking the pill will return. But if you prepare your body for this change, you can prevent complaints such as mood swings, weight changes, acne and more nasty side effects!

Tired of the pill or trying to conceive?

Research show that women are tired of taking the pill. They no longer want artificial hormones in their bodies and they want to live more naturally. Many are simply tired of the side effects of the pill.

But many women also stop taking the pill because they want to get pregnant. Whatever your reason for stopping might be, the best case scenario is that your natural cycle gets back on track as soon as possible. Because a natural, regular cycle is a sign of a healthy body. 

Check our blog to learn more about what your period says about your health.

What is your reason for quitting the pill? If you wish to get pregnant, we recommend that you start taking a multivitamin with active folic acid. Folic acid intake increases a woman's folate status. Too low of a folate status increases the risks of developing neural tube defects in the fetus.

Want to know more about folic acid? We have a whole blog post on it here

Quitting the pill? This is how you do it

It might be hard to imagine, but that mini pill you take every day has a huge effect on your body. It disturbs your natural hormones so that the likelihood that you’ll get pregnant is vanishingly small (if you take it correctly, that is!).

This is what the pill does to your body:

  • It ensures that you do not ovulate

  • Your cervix becomes a less suitable environment for sperm

  • Your uterus works against the implantation of a possibly fertilized egg

  • You don’t have a natural period

  • It shuts down your testosterone production

The pill does all of this with synthetic hormones, which you take every day. This happens regardless of how long you're on the pill.

Complaints after quitting the pill

Because your body is so used to this dose of hormones, quitting the pill can cause complaints. Think of it as a kind of withdrawal. All these complaints are part of what is called Post Birth Control Syndrome. When can you expect your period after stopping birth control? It varies depending on a variety of factors. First, let’s talk about some of things you might experience. 

After quitting the pill, you may experience:

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Nausea

  • Abdominal distention

  • Headaches

  • Irregular periods

  • Mood swings

  • Sore breasts

  • Hormonal acne

Other additional (positive!) effects could be:

  • Increased sex drive (because your progesterone production starts up again)

  • Fewer mood swings. Some women suffer more from mood swings when taking the pill.

  • Stronger hair and nails

  • Less fungal infections. You can read more about vaginal yeast infections in our blog: ​​“Yeast Infections 101: Everything you need to know.”

When your body has returned to a natural cycle, you’ll notice these positive effects.  

Get a healthy cycle sooner after quitting the pill

It’s important that your natural cycle restarts after quitting the pill. It may seem like this should happen automatically, but for some women, it takes a long time and this can be concerning, especially if you’re trying for a baby. You can help your body get into a healthy cycle as soon as possible by making sure you have enough vitamins and minerals in your system.

By taking the pill, your body needs more vitamins and minerals. To process all the extra hormones from the pill, your liver has to work harder than usual (and therefore needs more fuel).

If you don't give your liver this power, you create a deficiency. The result is physical and mental symptoms. You can read more about this in our blog: “Taking the pill? This is why it’s a good idea to take supplements.”

A healthy lifestyle helps you with a healthy cycle. But some vitamins and minerals are difficult to obtain through food alone. So even if you have a healthy and varied diet, there is still a chance that you do not get enough vitamins and minerals in your body. Supplements can help with this.

Because this was one of the problems our co-founder Morgane ran into, we developed our own supplements for women's health at Guud:

✨ Guud Flow – hormonal balance + fertility

✨ Guud Vibes – fatigue + cramps

✨ Guud Inside – mood + mind

✨ Guud Glow – skin + hair

Take the quiz and discover what’s Guud for you.

Is there anything else you can do to get your body back on track?

Another important thing you can do to help your body recover from the pill is to live according to your cycle. Throughout your cycle, your body has different needs. This is because your hormones change throughout the month.

Each phase of your cycle has different nutritional needs and your physical activity also depends on the different phases of your cycle.

We recommend that you eat and exercise according to your cycle. This increases the chance that you will have a normal cycle sooner after quitting the pill. You can read more about this in our blogs: “Period Power” and “Hack your cycle with food.”

But… how can you live according to your cycle if you don't have a natural cycle when you're on the pill?

By pretending! This is what your cycle would look like:

Menstrual phase = The days you are bleeding (the week in between your last and next pill strip)

Follicular phase = the 7 days after your period week, days 1 to 7

Ovulation phase = the 3 days after that, days 8 to 10

Premenstrual phase = the 11 days that follow, days 11 to 21

FAQ: When can I stop taking the pill?

You can stop the pill on your own at any time but we recommend finishing your pack. You are still protected against a possible pregnancy during the withdrawal bleed that follows.. Your body starts to prepare for a natural cycle on the day you would have otherwise started a new pack. 

FAQ: When does my natural cycle return?

So many women experience irregular periods after stopping birth control. This is normal. When you stop taking hormones, your body needs time to get used to it. Your hormones need to get going on their own again. This may take a while. It can take a few months and even a few years before your body gets everything back in order. In most cases, your body is used to the new, natural cycle after about 3-6 months. But your cycle may be irregular at first.

If you still have not had a natural period 3-6 months after stopping the birth control pill, talk to your doctor. 

FAQ: How soon can you get pregnant after stopping the pill?

Can you get pregnant right after stopping the pill? Yes! The pill stops your body from ovulating but as soon as you stop taking it, this process kicks back into action. So if you don’t want to get pregnant and you have decided to stop taking the pill, you will need another form of contraception. If you are trying for a baby, then it’s guud news. As many as 84 out of 100 couples will get pregnant within a year after having regular sex without contraception. 

FAQ: How long does it take for your body to regulate after stopping birth control?

For some women, their natural cycle returns after a few months and in general, most women experience very few symptoms so there’s nothing to worry about. But if you do notice adverse symptoms as a result of quitting the pill, know that most symptoms stop within 4-6 months. Your first period after stopping birth control should come back within a few months too. Make note of the day you stopped the pill and if you haven’t had your period after three months, talk to your doctor. 

We hope this blog gave you a little bit of wisdom about quitting the pill. Do you have any more questions or doubts about your cycle? Chat with us (we're real people, not robots!), join our awesome Facebook community, or DM us on Instagram!