What they don't tell you about birth control pills - a personal experience about stopping the birth control pill

Hi guys,
So, today I want to share with you my personal experience regarding coming off birth control pill. I know this is quite a personal topic but even if one person reads this and it gives them some hope I will be happy! So, let's go straight into it. I would like to also put a disclaimer here that this article is based on my own experience. Everyone's experience will be different but after talking to lots of people it feels like there are lots of women out there going through something very similar to what I am going through. 
A photo of pink rose

The beginning and the end of birth control pills

I started taking birth control pills when I was at the age of 18. I personally never had any issues when I was on the pill apart from holding more water which made me gain a bit of weight. Other than that, I was doing fine. However, after talking to a few of my friends who came off the birth control pill I started wondering whether it would be good for my body to come off it too. Most of my friends said that they felt so much better after they stopped taking them. So, in September 2019 I took my last pill, so my body finally gets the freedom and rest it deserves. 
Kat standing in a red bathing costume holding a doughnut ring behind me is blue sea

Before I stopped taking birth control pills, I discussed this decision with my gynaecologist in the Czech Republic and she made me aware that it might take a few months for my period to come back and if I don't get my period back within 3 months I should come back for a check-up.  I would like to also point out how misleading the NHS website is. Yes, some women do get their period within 2-4 weeks after stopping pills but it is way more common for women to struggle to get their period back for at least the first 2-3 months after stopping pills. Thus, if you came off the pill and you haven't got your period back yet and it has been only a few weeks - don't panic and give it more time.

The aftermath of stopping birth control pills

Anyway, I was at the 3-month mark and my period still did not appear. Luckily, I was going back to Czech for Christmas so I managed to go and see my doctor who told me that she can tell that my body hadn't deal with hormonal imbalance yet and she recommended me supplements (only available in Czech sadly) which contain Zink, B6 and some other vitamins and nutrients which should help me to balance my hormones. Roughly 30 days after I've started taking the vitamins my period started and I was over the moon. Little did I know, this was my first and last period for the next 6 months. But before, I start talking about this I would like to quickly show you the state of my skin - I know lots of people struggle with acne after they stop taking the pill but luckily I didn't have a big problem with it. This is my skin when I got my first period, you can see I have a few pimples but nothing major. The only thing that I suffered with was very oily hair which is a side effect of hormonal imbalance but apart from that, I did not have any other issues.
A photo of my forehead with a few pimples

3 months had passed since my first period and I was getting slightly worried if everything is fine. I emailed my doctor in Czech and she recommended me to wait for a few more weeks and if nothing happens I should book an appointment with GP in Scotland. However, then COVID19 happened. So, I waited roughly 2 months before I finally phoned my GP in Scotland to discuss what's going on. I don't want to shame the NHS but after talking to a few other people who went through a similar experience I am absolutely shocked by how little attention female health gets. When I explained to my GP what's going on she told me to go and get my blood test done - no ultrasounds to check my female organs nothing - she phoned me with the results after a couple of days and essentially told me that there is one slightly lower hormone but because she doesn't know in which phase of my cycle I am because I don't have proper periods (eh, hello? that's why I came for help) she can't tell me if there is something wrong with me. She advised me to come again in two months to get my blood test done again. If I waited another 2 months that would mark my 7th month with no period and not knowing what's going on which made me feel very uneasy. I talked to a few girls who were also neglected by their GPs and sent home with "it will fix itself eventually" or "come back once you want to have a baby and we will figure something out". I honestly couldn't believe this and once I had the change to go home to see my doctor - I did so. 

Kat (me) standing in front of white castle and gate in the Czech Republic

The solution? 

First of all, when I came home I spoke with my two close friends who also struggled to get their periods back after stopping birth control pills and they recommended me a herbal product called Gynex. Gynex contains plant hormones which help to detox body and it also helps to restore the normal function of female organs. So, I've started taking it 3 days before I went to see my gynaecologist. When I finally managed to see my gynaecologist she did a proper check-up, and she also did an ultrasound and said it looks like I have a polycystic ovary syndrome. There 3 mains feature of PCOS is below or you can read more about it on the NHS website.  I think it is also worth mentioning that my GP in Scotland said I DO NOT have PCOS but she couldn't really know because she did not send me to an ultrasound or anything.

My gynaecologist also told me that the blood test should only be done when you are on your period otherwise they can be pretty inaccurate. Anyway, funnily enough, my period started on the day I went to see my gynaecologist and I can't tell who was happier - me or my gynaecologist. She sent me to get my blood test done the next day and she discussed the results with me in a few days after. She told me I do have slightly reduces levels of hormones which contribute to the proper function of ovaries. However, because I finally got my period after nearly 7 months she said there is a chance that my period will regulate now. However, if it doesn't regulate until Christmas time when I will most likely go back to Czech we will have to start a hormonal treatment so my period is regular and my body function the way it should. 

My doctor also told me that PCOS could be the result of the pill or I could've had it anyway but the pills were just hiding it since they regulate your period. I also listened to an interesting podcast and spoke with a nutritional therapist recently who said how damaging birth control pill can be and how they are prescribed literary for anything and you are not even made aware of the negative effects. She also told me that birth control pills absorb loads of vitamins which are essential for proper brain function (this was also discussed in the podcast I listened to). Hence, many women report that they feel numb while taking birth control pills or some even depressed. Of course, I understand some women might need a pill and it is more convenient for them which I fully respect, but I would like to also warm any young female who is thinking of taking birth control pills to think twice and do proper research on it and ask your GP about all the possible side effects. Especially if you want to take birth control pill just to clear your skin. It is not worthy and there are better solutions than this and birth control pill should be your last resort.  

Final thoughts

As said at the start this is purely based on my experience and everyone will have a different story to tell but after talking to people around me most of our stories were very similar. Hence, I wanted to share this with the world and if this helps even one person I will be extremely happy. Looking back, even though I never had any big issues while on the birth control pill I do wish I never started taking it. Purely because of how it messes with your body. I still don't know if my periods will be regular or not and it is something I will discover in the next few months but I do hope my body will be able to go back to normal without any hormonal treatments. I will keep you updated for sure and if you have any questions or you want to share your story with me, either leave a comment or find me on my Instagram where I am always available to chat.

Lots of love,
Kat xo 

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