In this post in my Making Babies series, I talk about what the birth control "period" actually is, and why it sometimes takes a while to conceive when you stop taking it.
I treat a lot of women in their 30's who have been on birth control since their late teens. Often, they have stopped taking the pill to get pregnant and are having a hard time or are still on the pill and are experiencing odd symptoms (like hot flashes).
Pop medicine states that there is no need to take a break from the birth control pill -- which seems counter intuitive when you consider the strong actions of this drug.
The birth control pill works by blocking ovulation and natural hormonal flux. You never get a true period -- just placebo pills that cause monthly withdrawal bleeding similar to a period.
If you are 33 and have been on the pill since you were 19, your body has had more than an entire DECADE without having to self-regulate hormones. This is great for preventing unwanted pregnancies, but definitely has an effect on the body. Effects of stopping the pill can range from irregular ovulation and cycles to odd digestive behavior or migraines.
This doesn't mean the female body is incapable of restarting its natural cycle eventually -- but it does mean that it may take a while before this happens. The time it takes for your body to readjust after stopping the birth control pill can greatly impact the chances of getting pregnant and many of my female patients worry this is some sign of definite infertility. It is not.
Don't worry if your body doesn't immediately return to a regular cycle, or you are taking several months to conceive, or you're hormones are off balance. With time (and maybe a little acupuncture) you will resume a healthy menses.
I think this little Q & A nicely sums up how the birth control pill works and why there is even a false period to begin with.
I’m on maternity leave until July 5th — but you can book in with me for Acupuncture now and reserve your space! Click here to book or call my clinic at (613) 235-7243 for more info.