Health Conditions / Sexual and Reproductive Health / Contraception

Should You Consider Switching From the Pill to an IUD or Implant?

Should You Consider Switching From the Pill to an IUD or Implant?

If you miss one pill but have been consistent previously, you probably don’t need a backup plan or emergency contraception, according to Planned Parenthood. You can simply take two pills in one day to stay on schedule. If you miss two pills, you should take the most recent missed pill as soon as you remember and then continue taking it as normal, but you should also use backup birth control (like a condom), or—if pregnancy is your biggest concern—avoid penis-in-vagina sex altogether until you’ve taken the pill for seven consecutive days.If you can’t ever remember to actually take the pill when you’re supposed to, or are often late refilling your prescription each month, a LARC takes away that responsibility. “A LARC’s main advantage is ‘set it and forget it,’” Dr. Dunham says. “It may require more effort to start up, but requires less effort over time.” Basically, once it’s in you’re good to go. No daily alarms or relying on good memory required.2. You want a little more control over your fertility.Research estimates that LARCs are up to 20 times more effective against pregnancy than the pill. Each LARC method is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.1 In theory, the same goes for the pill—but only if it’s used perfectly (more on that later). A more realistic figure for the effectiveness of the pill in preventing pregnancy, based on typical use, is 91%, according to Planned Parenthood. In other words, about 9 out of 100 pill takers get pregnant each year.On the flip side, the pill can be appealing if you eventually decide you want to get pregnant, Dr. Dunham says. “It’s easy to stop and doesn’t require a doctor’s visit to start trying to conceive,” she explains.Even if you want to get pregnant in the near future, you can still use a LARC method for birth control in the meantime. “LARC doesn’t affect or decrease your chance of getting pregnant in the future,” Anita Sit, MD, chief of gynecology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, tells SELF. The hormonal implant and IUDs require removal at your doctor’s office, but the process is generally quick and easy for most people.When you stop taking birth control, it can take a bit of time for your cycle to return to normal. A 2020 study that analyzed data from nearly 18,000 people who menstruate found that fertility returned quickest in those who had used IUDs or implants; they waited for an average of two menstrual cycles before conceiving, while pill users had to wait for three cycles.23. The pill is too risky for you.Sometimes, your health history or lifestyle choices factor into your choice of birth control. If you’re older than 35 years and smoke, for example, your doctor may advise you not to take the pill due to the changes increased estrogen levels can make to your blood, according to the CDC. The same goes if you have a history of blood clots, breast cancer, or in some instances, high blood pressure, among other health conditions.

What’s the Best Way to Track Birth Control Side Effects?

What’s the Best Way to Track Birth Control Side Effects?

Mental health changes: There isn’t definitive proof that using hormonal birth control exacerbates depression or other mental health issues, according to 2020 research, but mood changes are a commonly reported symptom.1 So it’s important to write down any mood-related symptoms right along with your physical symptoms each day and try to name them as best you can, such as feeling particularly emotional at certain times, having sharp swings in your moods, or feeling depressed, says Dr. Sridhar. You should also include references to specific life events or happenings—say, a breakup or a high-stress period at work, or any other impactful life events—that correlate with the time period you started birth control, she adds.Medications or supplements you’re taking: There are plenty of medications that can trigger similar side effects to birth control. For example, some antidepressants and blood pressure drugs can also impact libido. So, make sure you write down other meds you’re taking in your journal (yes, including supplements); add the medication name, dosage, and how often you take it, Dr. Sridhar recommends. It’s not always easy to decipher exactly which side effect is coming from which medication on your own, she points out, so having all this information down can be helpful if you need to have a conversation with your doctor.Diet and exercise changes: If you changed up either of these recently, include them in your tracker, Dr. Sridhar says. For example, if you recently started eating a vegan diet and your mystery symptoms are stomach-related, it’s worth documenting what foods you’re eating and how you feel after to see if there’s any sort of connection. The same goes for your exercise habits: Major shifts in your activity—for example, you start training for a marathon—can also prompt changes in your body, like muscle soreness, headaches if you’re dehydrated, or GI symptoms (runners trots are so real). Basically, write down any workouts that feel especially new to you, says Dr. Sridhar, and note how your symptoms change during and after.3. Take a break to see if you notice any significant changes.If you feel that your symptoms are bothersome and interfere with your normal activities, another way to parse whether your birth control might be causing your symptoms is to stop using that method of birth control, if you can. Keep up with your journal for a good three months after so you can see if there’s a difference, says Dr. Sridhar.It’s generally safe to stop taking birth control pills, wearing the patch or ring, or ask your doctor for an IUD or implant removal at any time. If you use birth control to help manage a medical condition like PCOS, be sure to discuss it with your doctor before you stop taking your birth control, Dr. Kiley notes.And remember to use a backup method of contraception right away, such as condoms or spermicide, if you’re not planning to get pregnant, Dr. Sridhar adds.If your doctor determines your birth control is the root of your side effects, here’s what to consider.So, you’ve brought your robust symptom journal to your doctor, and the two of you end up determining that your contraception is likely causing your symptoms. Now what?

What to Know About Birth Control If You’re Transmasculine

What to Know About Birth Control If You’re Transmasculine

When the push notification declaring that the Supreme Court intended to overturn Roe v. Wade popped up on my phone, I felt like a lot of people did: incredibly afraid for my future. I’m a trans man, and I’ve been on testosterone for half a year, but I knew I wasn’t immune from an unwanted pregnancy. After taking a moment to cry, I googled, “tubes tied near me.”I got a tubal salpingectomy, the removal of both my fallopian tubes, in late July. It was a procedure I had wanted for years, but the need for it had suddenly become immediate and urgent.In the aftermath of the Dobbs decision access to contraception will become even more important for anyone who is concerned about their reproductive health, including trans men, transmasculine people, and non-binary people. Of course, there are tons of birth control options out there—but not all transmasculine folks want to deal with daily reminders to take the pill or weekly swaps to re-up their birth control patch. On top of that, frequent visits to your ob-gyn’s office or the pharmacy present their own challenges, especially when it comes to facing possible stigma from health care providers and grappling with the effects of gender dysphoria.That’s when long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) and permanent contraception (sterilization) can be helpful options, because they’re basically set-it-and-forget-it methods. To help you make sense of it all, SELF spoke to three experts about what transmasculine people should keep in mind when looking into LARC and sterilization.One big thing before we get into it: None of the methods of birth control we’re covering in this article provide protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For that, you’ll need to use a condom or another barrier method. Okay, here’s what you need to know:I’m a trans guy on testosterone. Can I still get pregnant?Despite popular misconceptions, taking testosterone is not a reliable form of pregnancy prevention. Even if your period has stopped or you have been on testosterone for a while, you may still ovulate, which means you can still potentially get pregnant. If you want to avoid getting pregnant, you should consider birth control.Can transmasculine folks on T use hormonal birth control methods?Yes! According to Holly Cummings, MD, MPH, a Pennsylvania-based ob-gyn who specializes in transgender gynecologic care, trans people on testosterone can use any form of birth control, even if it contains hormones. Because the progestin in hormonal birth control, including in certain LARC options, is unlikely to hinder the effects of testosterone, you should feel free to choose whatever birth control method feels like the right fit for you. That said, Dr. Cummings tells SELF that if you aren’t comfortable using hormonal birth control or have had negative experiences with certain hormonal methods, you have other options (more on that shortly).What are my options for long-acting reversible contraception?When providers talk about LARC methods, they’re typically talking about intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the birth control implant, Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a member of SELF’s medical review board and a clinical professor of gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, tells SELF.

PSA: Don’t Sleep on the Campus Health Center When You’re in College

PSA: Don’t Sleep on the Campus Health Center When You’re in College

There’s a lot to love about college: sudden independence, late nights with new people who turn into lifelong friends, and endless opportunities to learn and grow. It can also keep you super busy—a packed schedule probably means that checking out various campus services is the last thing on your mind. But if there’s one service you use, make it your student health center.Not only will it put your health into your own hands (which may be a new thing for you), but it will help you stay on your A-game all throughout college. And if this is the first time you’ve had access to a one-stop shop for all your health needs, you may not even know everything that is available to you. In fact, when the SELF team discussed their biggest health-related college regrets, an overwhelming number of people said they wish they’d taken advantage of their campus health center.So here’s a rundown of the most important services that your student health center has to offer and why you should definitely check them out.1. You’re already paying for these health services.Here’s the thing: The cost of college includes tuition, room and board, and various student fees. Those fees generally include student health services, which means you might already be paying to access those resources. So why not make the most of it?For example, the health fee is mandatory for all students at UNC-Chapel Hill, whether or not they actually visit the health center, Ken Pittman, MHA, FACHE, executive director of campus health services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tells SELF. (Though 78% of students do utilize the university’s health services at least once a year, he notes). Basic services such as primary care visits, gynecology checkups, urgent care, and mental health counseling are covered under that fee, he says—so they won’t be billed to health insurance at all.As for services not covered by the student health fee? These vary at each school, but can include lab tests, like rapid flu testing, X-rays, and some procedures (for example, some campus health centers do IUD insertions and others don’t), says Pittman. These services are billed to the student’s personal health insurance, which may be required at some institutions.Remember, you can stay on your parents’ health insurance plan until you turn 26 years old, per Healthcare.gov, so you might have coverage that way. Many colleges and universities even offer students medical insurance plans, which may be another option for you. To learn more about your school’s specific health care requirements, chat with the folks at your campus health center.2. It makes it easy to schedule regular checkups.When you’ve got papers to write and classes to attend, getting annual checkups can feel like a drag. Besides, if you feel fine (save for the occasional sleepless night), do you really need routine checkups?TBH, yes. Regular checkups are a form of preventive care, which can help you identify or avoid health issues before they become bigger problems that require treatment. This involves services like routine blood tests, mental health screenings, and physical examinations, according to the US National Library of Medicine. Yes, your childhood primary care doctor, if you have one, can perform these services—but thanks to your student health center, you won’t need to wait until you’re back home to book an appointment.

How to Bring an Emergency Contraception Vending Machine to Your College Campus

How to Bring an Emergency Contraception Vending Machine to Your College Campus

In the spring of 2019, students from Boston University’s Students for Reproductive Freedom (SRF) club attended an annual reproductive justice conference, now called the Collective Power Conference, at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. At the meeting, the SRF students met members of a like-minded group from Brandeis University who told them about a surprising and innovative project: They had a vending machine installed on their campus that dispensed emergency contraception (EC).The BU students were inspired and set out to “emulate that Brandeis project on BU’s campus,” Charlotte Beatty, who served as co-president of SRF last year and was a freshman at the time of the conference, tells SELF. Over the next three years, BU students, including Beatty and her SRF co-president Molly Baker, worked to make an EC vending machine a reality on their campus. This past March, it was finally installed, providing BU students with reliable, convenient, and anonymous access to a generic version of Plan B at a much lower cost than they’d likely pay in a drugstore. Today, student activists across the country—from Brandeis to Stanford—have spearheaded projects to install these machines, which could become more vital than ever in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade’s overturning. If you’re fired up to increase access to reproductive health care services, here’s how you can get an emergency contraception vending machine onto your campus.Make sure you have the support of campus officials and fellow students.Before you begin the project, it’s important to find out what’s feasible on your campus, Nicola Brogan, project manager for the American Society of Emergency Contraception, tells SELF. Brogan also oversees the organization’s Emergency Contraception for Every Campus (EC4EC) program, which helps college students get EC vending machines on their campus or establish other EC distribution programs.“If you don’t have support from administration, a vending machine is basically impossible,” Brogan says. In other words, logistics like getting permission (from someone like a dean, student health center manager, or facilities director) to take up campus space with an EC machine, using empty slots in an existing vending machine, and buying the medication itself all require help from the campus powers that be.Campus officials may also wonder if an EC machine is even legal. Though some states require permits for these vending machines, according to EC4EC’s state-by-state regulation guide, only one state, Connecticut, has laws explicitly prohibiting dispensing EC from a vending machine.It may also be helpful to poll students by conducting a survey on campus to find out how many people would utilize the vending machine, says Brogan. Not only is it useful to the students spearheading the project to know that there’s a need and enthusiasm for the service, but administrators might be more likely to get on board once they realize it’s something students want and will actually use, she says.“That acts as a foundation when you go and have that conversation with the administration to prove, like, hey, this is not just me and my two friends who want to do this,” Brogan says. She adds that a survey can show officials that many students “think it’s a good opportunity for the campus.”Figure out how to pay for the project.Buying large amounts of generic Plan B, as well as the vending machine itself (if you aren’t able to add the medication to an existing machine on campus), will obviously cost money, and there are a variety of ways to pay for it, says Brogan. For instance, BU’s SRF group is a Planned Parenthood Generation Action club, meaning they get annual funding through Planned Parenthood (in their case, through Boston Planned Parenthood). The students also used club funding provided by BU’s student organization office—a support source available on many college campuses—and money from individual alumni donations, says Beatty. Between installing, stocking, and promoting the vending machine, it cost the BU students around $3,000, according to Beatty. The largest expense was the machine itself, she says, which was about $2,700.Get help sourcing the medication and buying and stocking the vending machine.Even though they had the funding, BU’s SRF students found that there were other obstacles to overcome—namely, finding someone with the right type of medical license to bulk order Plan B.

Why I’m So Relieved I Finally Got a Vasectomy

Why I’m So Relieved I Finally Got a Vasectomy

Spenser Cattin, 30, has never wanted children and said he first thought about getting a vasectomy eight years ago. He talked about the procedure with his partner, who also doesn’t want children, numerous times over the years, but didn’t take action until October 2021. At that time, Cattin talked to his primary care doctor for referrals to a urologist and had a consultation within the month.In mid-May, Cattin finally scheduled his vasectomy appointment, which coincided with the leaked draft of the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Although Cattin had wanted a vasectomy for years, he says the news about Roe solidified his decision. Cattin had the procedure on June 30 (just days after Roe was officially overturned) and publicly shared his experience on Facebook.Below, read Cattin’s story as told to SELF’s associate health director Melissa Matthews. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.When the Supreme Court’s draft opinion first came out, there was a thought nagging in the back of my head that said, They came for everyone else, and when they came for me there was no one left to speak out. I felt like I was watching time go backward. Being a cisgender white male, there has never been much of a threat to my bodily autonomy. That was a big part of me wanting to get the vasectomy done sooner rather than later. After the ruling, I was chomping at the bit waiting for my already scheduled appointment to get it done.For me, accountability was a big reason I chose to get a vasectomy. I’ve had conversations with new partners in the past about birth control, but no one has ever asked me if I have had a vasectomy. It takes two people to conceive a child, and all of that responsibility shouldn’t be put on one of those two people. I was also reading that it could become harder for someone with a uterus to acquire certain types of birth control like IUDs. It would almost feel irresponsible not to do something when I felt like having a vasectomy was a simple option.Having the procedure has been eye-opening in ways that I didn’t really expect. My consultation lasted about five minutes, and I only remember being asked if I had kids. In comparison, I know women in their 40s whose doctors told them to hold off on getting their tubes tied in case they want kids. You don’t realize how easy you have it until you get something done really simply and it isn’t available to other people. I wondered why it couldn’t be easy for everyone.On the day of the procedure, I was told that someone needed to drive me to and from my appointment, but no other preparation was involved. I didn’t feel nervous at all. I had more trepidation about taking vacation time off work than I did about having a vasectomy.The whole procedure, from local anesthesia to walking out the door, took about 30 minutes. I went in, was given local anesthesia, and the doctor asked if I wanted a play-by-play of the entire procedure. He was very calm and explained that some people prefer to know every step while others find that worrisome. I’m the type of person who wants to know what’s happening, so the urologist explained the process in detail. He made a small incision on one side, cauterized my vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm), and did the same on the other side. Then, I put on a jockstrap that contained gauze and was told to wear that for 48 hours, meaning I couldn’t shower for two days. As I was leaving, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders because I no longer had to worry about having kids.

How to Make an Abortion Emergency Plan Right Now

How to Make an Abortion Emergency Plan Right Now

Downloading new browsers and paying for a VPN may not be accessible to everyone, though, and in those cases, it’s still a good idea to delete your search history and use incognito mode when you’re online (even though this doesn’t fully protect your privacy). “Clearing your history and cookies does meaningfully reduce what police can access with a warrant,” Rebecca says.You may also want to consider turning off your phone’s location services in certain situations, such as if you go to a reproductive health clinic to talk with a doctor. And, it’s probably best to use only private, vetted health apps for period tracking, like Euki, Rebecca says.“If you’re talking with people about getting an abortion, use an encrypted app like Signal and encrypted email like Protonmail,” she adds. “If I wanted to save my abortion plan somewhere, I’d email it to my Protonmail from my Protonmail to store it in that inbox.”Set up a Google alert to help you stay on top of changes.Staying on top of the legal landscape of abortion care can be difficult given all the changes that are happening right now, says Wynn. Still, “it’s worth keeping tabs on your individual state’s abortion laws,” she says. If feeling up to date and in the know is a source of empowerment for you, consider setting up a Google alert with phrases like “abortion law [insert your state name here]” or “abortion [state name]” to send you the latest news.There is one caveat, though: This really depends on what you feel like you can mentally handle. “There’s an overwhelming amount of information that’s out there,” Heather Shumaker, director of state abortion access at the National Women’s Law Center, tells SELF.If you feel like you’re having trouble processing the news cycle lately, this may not be the best route for you. Instead, Shumaker recommends periodically consulting the National Women’s Law Center or Guttmacher Institute, where you can get up-to-date information without having to see every soul-sucking headline. The Guttmacher Institute has a constantly updated interactive abortion map that tracks abortion laws across the U.S. that can help clue you in. Another good resource is Planned Parenthood, which also has a state-by-state guide. Plan to look at these every few months, at minimum, to see if there have been any major changes you should know about.Have a few inexpensive pregnancy tests handy.“It can be a good idea to make sure you have a few pregnancy tests handy in case you need them,” Wynn says. “The earlier you know you’re pregnant, the sooner you can weigh your options.” While pregnancy tests can be pricey and do expire over time, you can typically buy them at a hefty discount from your local dollar store, making stockpiling them a more practical option.This has become especially important now that certain states have bans on abortion starting as early as six weeks—when most people don’t even know they’re pregnant yet. As soon as you suspect you could be pregnant, it’s best to take a test. Most at-home tests will be able to detect pregnancy about 10 days after conception, but waiting until your first missed period will reduce the chances of a false negative, according to Mount Sinai. Wynn just recommends checking the expiration date for the tests, which is usually stamped on the side of the box, and following directions on how to store your tests properly.Figure out the nearest abortion clinic in your area.Shumaker says it’s “really important” to know this before you’re in a situation where time is of the essence. This is true if you live in a state where abortion is banned, but also for people in states where abortion is generally accessible, as wait times for appointments may be much longer due to an influx of people from neighboring states. If you are seeking an abortion, “every moment counts,” she says, and trying to locate a clinic is one less thing you’d have to worry about if you do some research now to plan ahead. Doing this research in advance can also help you avoid organizations called crisis pregnancy centers that portray themselves as abortion providers but “exist only to deter people from getting abortions,” Shumaker says. Some telltale red flags include not stating clearly whether they perform abortions, making abortion sound really dangerous, or running ads asking if you’re pregnant, scared, and need help.

7 Signs It’s Time to Switch Up Your Birth Control

7 Signs It’s Time to Switch Up Your Birth Control

“With every birth control there’s something to consider—whether it’s regular use, whether it’s around having to have an IUD inserted, or having to go back to a clinic for a shot every few months,” says Dr. De-Lin. 3. You simply want something you don’t have to think about. Some people have no problem taking a pill every day, while others would prefer to very rarely have to think about their birth control. For the latter group, LARC methods like the IUD and the birth control implant are ideal, because you can essentially set it and forget it, says Dr. De-Lin. They’re also very hard to mess up, which is why their effectiveness for “perfect use” and “typical use” are basically the same, whereas other methods like the pill and condoms have notably lower efficacy when not used consistently and correctly every time, according to the Guttmacher Institute.  4. You’re experiencing side effects. “Most people will get minimal to no side effects, but there is a small percentage of people who will get a number of side effects or side effects that are really unpleasant, that are not tolerable,” board-certified gynecologist Staci Tanouye, MD, tells SELF. That might include things like severe mood changes, headaches, nausea, or irregular bleeding. While mild side effects aren’t uncommon when you first start a birth control method, they should gradually subside over the first few months. So if you’re truly miserable or they don’t seem to be going away, definitely bring it up with your provider. “Anything like that would definitely warrant a discussion of: Do we need to switch dosage, do we need to switch brands, or do we need to switch methods completely?” says Dr. Tanouye. 5. You want birth control that comes with perks.  Pregnancy protection is kind of a given, but there are other perks you can expect from various birth control methods. For instance, maybe you want a method that may give you a lighter period, like a hormonal IUD. Or maybe you want to switch to a combination birth control pill (one with estrogen and progestin) that’s especially good at taming hormonal acne or PMS symptoms. Maybe you want to skip your period entirely using birth control, which is a thing you can do with certain methods like some combination pills as well as the contraceptive ring and patch (just talk to your doctor first). 6. You’ve developed a health condition that doesn’t play well with your current method. Every birth control method comes with some contraindications, just like any other medication. You probably went over this list with your doctor when you first started birth control, but if that was quite some time ago, it’s worth having another conversation about it. That’s because certain health conditions might determine which contraceptive options you can use safely, and you may have developed those health conditions over the course of your birth control journey. For instance, if you’ve developed a blood clot, if you have migraine with aura, or if you now have multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease (like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend taking estrogen-containing birth control methods like the combination pill, the patch, and the ring, as these methods may further increase the risk of stroke. Having breast cancer is typically another reason to stop taking hormonal birth control, since it could be a hormone-mediated cancer, says Dr. Tanouye. 

Why Phoebe Robinson Made Emergency Contraception a Plot Point on ‘Everything’s Trash’

Why Phoebe Robinson Made Emergency Contraception a Plot Point on ‘Everything’s Trash’

If we’re going to show sex in shows, I think it’s important to illustrate the totality of sex and the different kinds of experiences people can have—including contraceptive use—in order to normalize all of it. If you’re making someone laugh about an important issue, or you’re otherwise entertaining them, their guard is down and they’re better able to listen and receive the message—as opposed to presenting it dryly, with stats and other information that might make people’s eyes glaze over.Entertainment is a way to start conversations and have discussions about divisive topics in a way that breeds empathy. It can go a long way toward helping some people feel seen in their experience and helping others empathize with an unfamiliar experience through a character—which can then help them empathize in real life, with their family, friends, or even strangers.Whether it’s with Everything’s Trash, or podcasts, or my book imprint, Tiny Reparations, I always want to show the totality of the human experience. We’re living in a time where there’s a culture of, “I’m right”—the way that I choose to live is the only correct way to live. But I want to challenge that by asking questions: What about this? What about that? What are you not considering?We’re all flawed, we all make mistakes, we all have things that are lovable about us, and we all have things that are infuriating about us. If we could all just admit that we’re human, and that we’re going to be wrong about some things, and that life can be messy and tricky, I think we’d be kinder—to ourselves and to other people. And that kindness, I believe, would start to break down the pervasive attitude of, “Well, I’m right, and I know how everyone else should live”—whether that’s with reproductive rights or any other issue.Speaking of kindness, my show is based on my 2017 essay collection Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay, and I think the “but it’s okay” part is crucial. When I wrote the book, I really just wanted to say, yes, things seem hard, and heavy, and insurmountable (my pre-2020 self was adorable), but listen, we’re all a part of the trash. We’re all in some way contributing to it, whether in big ways or small ways. So if we can acknowledge that, then maybe we can finally roll up our sleeves and do the work.And while the work is important, we should also make room for joy. For Black women, in particular, I know how tough life can be for us. How society has a very limiting understanding of what it means to be a Black woman. How we’re not respected and treated as equals, yet we’re expected to save the day. And we’re also expected to represent all Black women. I want Everything’s Trash, which shows all different kinds of Blackness, to help Black women feel seen and heard, and to allow them to laugh, enjoy themselves, and have some levity in their lives. There’s a lot of, “Hey, Stacey Abrams, do this or do that” type of pressure on Black women, but can Stacey get a night off? Can she have some fun? Can she feel good? The onus shouldn’t be on us to just fix everything.

10 Things That May Happen to Your Body When You Stop Birth Control

10 Things That May Happen to Your Body When You Stop Birth Control

If you’re thinking about cutting ties with your contraception, you’re probably asking yourself a very important question: What should I expect when stopping birth control? Kudos to you for thinking ahead. Knowing what to expect can take some of the anxiety out of making any big change that affects your body.Because all forms of birth control come with potential side effects, there’s no one-size-fits-all experience for stopping or switching your current form of contraception. However, the type of birth control—hormonal versus nonhormonal—will likely play a large role. For example, if you have a copper intrauterine device (IUD), a popular form of nonhormonal contraception, removed, you may not notice many changes beyond some cramping and spotting after removal, SELF previously reported.Stopping hormonal birth control—including birth control pills, most IUDs, the implant, the patch, the injection, and the ring—typically can cause more changes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And these changes really depend on the person and the exact form of birth control they use. To really understand what might go down, it’s best to talk to your prescribing clinician, whether that be your primary care doctor or your ob-gyn, as they’ll be most familiar with your personal health history. But generally, here are ten things to keep on your radar when you stop hormonal birth control.1. Your hormones will probably start to fluctuate.This probably isn’t very shocking—all of the changes included in this list happen because of hormonal changes that occur when going off birth control. For context, there are two main types of hormonal birth control: combined and progestin-only. Combined birth control contains two hormones, estrogen (which suppresses ovulation) and progestin (a synthetic form of the naturally-occurring hormone progesterone, which thickens the mucus in the cervix so sperm have a harder time entering the uterus). Progestin also thins the lining of the uterus, which helps prevent an egg from implanting, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). Progestin-only birth control only contains progestin—no estrogen.In most cases, it doesn’t take very long for your hormones to fluctuate when you stop either form of birth control, Jennifer Kickham, MD, an ob-gyn at the Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. Without hormonal birth control, your natural hormonal processes will eventually resume. Typically, ovulation starts within a couple of weeks after you stop using hormonal birth control pills, the patch, an IUD, or the ring, according to the experts at the

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