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Women Bear the Burden of Hormonal Birth Control — Here's My Story

Are Occasional Breaks From the Pill a Good Idea?

Since the pill has such a long list of benefits, it's no wonder so many of us have been on it for as long as we have. But with that said, I'm sure you've wondered if you should take a break to give your body a chance to be pill-free for a while. While it's popular to think that a break from the pill is beneficial for your body, it's actually not necessary. It's a myth that may have started a while back with older pills that contained high doses of hormones, but today's pills contain a much lower, safer amount. Some women also feel like they should stop the pill for a while to preserve their fertility, but there's no evidence that being on the pill has any effect on a woman's future ability to have a baby — it merely prevents pregnancy while a woman is on it.

There's more, so


If you're contemplating taking a break only to go back on the pill shortly thereafter, you should know that professionals think it's healthier for your body to remain on the pill. The fluctuations in hormones can have a negative effect, both physically and emotionally. Plus, all the side effects you experienced when you first started the pill, which subsided after a few months, may show up again, so you'll have to deal with moodiness, depression, sore breasts, or yeast infections. The only reason a woman should take a break from her pill is if it's not agreeing with her body, or if she's trying to become pregnant.

Dear's Advice: Even though there are many health benefits associated with taking the pill, I completely understand that you may want to take a break because you don't like the idea of putting chemicals in your body. If that's the case, then you may want to consider going off the pill entirely, and ask your doctor about hormone-free choices like the diaphragm or the ParaGard.


Join The Conversation
foxie foxie 8 years
I don't like taking birth control. It may have benefits for the right NOW, but it carries a lot of future risks. I'd like to get sterilized, as I don't want children at all. However, most doctors won't perform sterilization on young, childless women. I guess I have the right to abort 100 babies if I want, but not the right to the procedure that would prevent unwanted pregnancies alltogether.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that a lot of people don't know the full affects of being on the pill or going on and off it. i think that for myself - i was on the pill years ago and stopped taking it and i'm happier for it. i just have learned to find alternatives to that form of birth control since i don't really like to take pills. i think that if there's enough medical evidence that it's better to stay on it rather than yo yo - then that's what i think people should do.
corcar86 corcar86 8 years
I feel really relieved reading this. I have been on BCPs for 5 years and I have to be on one with a steady dose because I have Von Willenbrand Disorder (think of it as a minor form of hemophilia) and my doctor wasn't clear about if taking the pill for a long time would cause to later infertility issues. Without BCP's I used to bleed for up to a month at a time at the worst and 7-9 days at best. Even on the pill i bleed for 5-7 days! But I'm glad to hear that there's no need to have too many reservations about it!
NikkoBlues NikkoBlues 8 years
I went off my BCPs last month after being on them since 1992. I'm currently going through ovulation and it has been SO painful. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant, but if I don't get pregnant in the next few months I'm going back on my BCPs.
Tech Tech 8 years
I say be careful--my friend, who just hit her 10-year mark of being on the pill--got a life-threatening blood clot in her leg, and her doctor blamed the pill. It's a good thing to consider if you're near the 10 year mark.
elizabethsosewn elizabethsosewn 8 years
i've been taking a month and a half break from the patch. and I've never felt so moody in my life. also, my boobs shrunk a bit [and i lost some weight from my face.. :D ]. i want my boobs back, and i wanna be able to have regulary sex with my boyfriend! ugh! ahaha. no more breaks for me.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
I pill is the greatest thing e v e r. I'll probably be taking it non-stop for the next decade. There's no reason to take a break!
verily verily 8 years
I take the pill to prevent/control endo. There's no way I'd go on a break unless I wanted to get pregnant. I was lucky and didn't gain any weight when I started the pill. The only side effect I've had is the occasional morning nausea.
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 8 years
I didn't choose to take a break, my doctor never gave me refills on time the 2 weeks before my wedding! I was freaking out! I am on the pill not to not get pregnant, but for PMDD horribly. I finally got back on it seeing I bled until the night before my wedding for two week straight, changing my overnight pad every hour. (What a livesaver that was to stop then!) Not again until I can get this under control...
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
i stopped the pill because we were goin on our honey moon & i just didnt have the TIME to pick up the new pack w/everything i had to do and thought... i'll give my body a break... two months later, i was pregnant! actually turned out to be a big break and one i'm thankful for! but i've heard you're more fertile the first few months when you stop the pill (obviously i heard that AFTER i was pregnant)....
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I recently took a break from NuvaRing which I'd been on for 3 years and I'm seriously regretting it. I thought I would quickly drop some weight, but I haven't despite working out a ton, and my heavy cycles are back - plus I'm in a new relationship and I don't feel like getting readjusted to BC, but I want to be on it because it makes things so much easier. I should've just stayed on it (well, I guess I've saved some money).
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