What if I skip my pill?

Stop taking the pill

A common question in the office hours: How do I stop taking the pill?
The short answer: do not take any more ... 😉

The longer answer and the other contexts follow here:

There are two types of pills: the Micropill and the Mini pill. The Micropill is usually taken for three weeks, followed by a one-week break during which the menstrual period comes. The Mini pill is taken without a break.

The Micropill can either be stopped by simply stopping after the break, or you can stop in the middle of the pack, then after a few days (abortion) bleeding usually occurs. Sometimes one reads online that it is very important to take the micropill pack to the end, as “otherwise the cycle would get mixed up”. That's not true, the "cycle" under the pill is entirely controlled by the pill hormones and has nothing to do with a woman's natural cycle. In the Mini pill can be stopped at any time. Here, too, there is often (abortion) bleeding a few days later.

After stopping the pill, the body needs some time to switch back to "self-directed". Many women have their menstrual cycle a few weeks after stopping the pill, while it takes a little longer for others. This depends on how well the body's own hormonal processes find their way again. It is always helpful to remember what your cycle was like before you started taking the pills. If a woman already had problems with her cycle at this time, or if the pill was even started because of these problems, then it is very possible that these things will now reappear. Another important aspect is the age at which the pill is discontinued. See also the article: How about fertility?

If the pill was discontinued due to the desire to have children, pregnancy can occur quite quickly (nice sentence in my office hour the other day: "Actually, I didn't mean it so seriously ...") Generally, every couple who want to have children are given about a year and it would be nice to take this time too.

If there is no desire to have children, it should be clear in detail and well informed before stopping the pill, how contraception will be carried out afterwards!

Here is an overview of the various methods of contraception, the article on hormone-free contraception and the article on wearables for cycle control.

Many women describe positive aspects of stopping the pill:

  • more well-being, better feeling for yourself ("a new attitude towards life"),
  • less depressive moods or mood swings,
  • Disappearance of other side effects attributed to the pill, such as vaginal dryness, vaginal infections, headache,
  • more sexual interest,
  • faster onset of pregnancy if you want to have children.

Experiences with body weight are very different: some women say that they lost weight by stopping the pill, others that they gained weight. There is no scientific evidence for this, see also my article: Does the pill make you fat?

When stopping the pill, some negative aspects can initially arise:

In many women these symptoms get better after a while; if they persist for a long time, you should consult your gynecologist.

Photo credits: © areeya_ann - Fotolia.com

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Christine Adler

Dr. Christine Adler is a resident specialist in gynecology and obstetrics, naturopathy, in Hamburg Rahlstedt. Here she writes about topics and questions that she comes across again and again in office hours.