Life After the Pill: A Year Later

white round capsule on pink background close up photography
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

For those of you who have been following my journey off contraceptives, can you believe it’s been over a year already? It went by fast for me, that’s for sure.

To recap, I had been on the birth control pill since 2015. Last February, I decided to completely stop taking it because I noticed how much better I felt during the 1 week every month that I didn’t have to take it. Even I asked myself how can I feel better when I’m on my freaking period? The fatigue and mind fog would completely disappear for that week, I’d have so much energy and my body would feel refreshed. But as soon as I’d start a new pill packet, my body would go right back to feeling sluggish again.

So how am I doing 1 year later?

I have my mental clarity back, for one. It’s still coming back day by day but the brain fog is almost completely gone. I honestly feel like it will never completely go away, but I’m not struggling nearly as bad as I was. When I’m talking in a conversation, I don’t struggle to find the right words to use as much anymore. When I’m recalling a memory, I don’t struggle to remember the details as much anymore. I can remember numbers better when I’m working on our budget, without constantly having to switch back to figures I just saw two seconds ago. I enjoy reading books again, because I can take a few days away from the book and remember what had been going on in the story when I come back to it again. I honestly can’t believe how much damage birth control had done to my memory.

I’ve lost over 20 pounds since last year. My mind and body are no longer consumed with thoughts of food every single second of every day. I no longer feel sluggish, unmotivated, and lazy. I have my energy back on most days. Part of that is definitely because when I stopped taking the pill, I chose to join a kickboxing gym as well as seek help from a dietician. I realized I was so far gone, I needed help to get back on track. I highly recommend a dietician for anyone, whether you’re coming off the pill or not. Most insurances in the US cover them 100 percent, like mine does. They’re amazing resources to have.

I did have some acne flare ups after I stopped taking birth control, but they rarely happen now, a year later.

My cycles have almost completely gone back to what I was used to prior to the pill, from length of periods to flow.

Honestly, the best thing to come from all of this is my mental health has improved tremendously. Yes, I am medicated. Yes, I’m in therapy. But the fact that I can handle my anxiety attacks and anger in healthier ways is a big deal. My mental health was a disaster while I was taking birth control. It felt like I was depressed and unhappy for 4 years. Even my psychiatrist told me birth control generally exacerbates the affects of a mental illness, which makes perfect sense to me now.

There was one thing that did come up that should definitely be known more than it is: cervical ectropion

I hadn’t been to my obstetrician in a few years, and I had noticed some spotting after sex was occurring and had been an issue for months. I went to my OB back in January, had my annual exam, and she found cervical ectropion on my cervix. That’s basically when the cells from the cervical canal are present on the outside of the cervix. In my case, it’s very painful to the touch, starts bleeding immediately, and causes pain during intercourse, which results in the spotting afterwards. It also causes extra discharge during ovulation, which can be annoying. I was told this happens quite often to women taking oral contraceptives because of how much the estrogen increases in your body.

Because mine is causing me pain, I will more than likely have either cryotherapy or ablation treatment done in May to hopefully get rid of it. It isn’t cancerous, it’s just a little startling to learn hey you have something on your cervix.

Despite all this, I do not regret my decision to stop taking birth control. I wasn’t aware of just how much damage it was doing to my entire body until after I stopped. If you are considering starting or stopping birth control, I hope my Life After the Pill series helps in your quest to find information on either decision. ❤

 

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