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How I Listened to My Body and Got Off the Pill

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I've been on the pill for over a year - a low-dosage combination oral contraceptive that I've taken religiously everyday since March 2009. It was the right decision for me to get on the pill for more than the obvious reasons - I've always suffered from terrible periods, plus I'd heard great things about increased cup sizes. I remember obsessing over side effects for nearly three months, worried that headaches and nausea and weight gain would become unbearable - but it was fine.

Then over the course of the year I found myself constantly wondering if my sudden mood swings, my lack of sex drive, the headaches, the feeling even more irritable during periods, was really just me being me. It was probably stress and emotions and worry. But what if it wasn't?

So I've taken a big step and decided to get off the pill for a bit. First and foremost ladies - I am still using contraception safely and regularly. There can be no excuses there.

The point of this post of course, is what happened when I started thinking about getting off the pill which is that even though the pill has been around for decades, there are a lot of women who really don't adjust to it. Sometimes not even switching pills or changing dosage can help. I started calling friends, my mother's friends and reading the millions of online forums discussing just how the pill and getting off it, changed women's bodies. Some women just never felt right on the pill. Some women suffered the sexual catch 22- they could have sex whenever they wanted without worrying about pregnancy, but they never actually wanted to have sex. Even more women told me how hard getting off the pill was - the withdrawal led to everything from weight gain to more mood swings. It made me wonder if I'd rushed too quickly into taking a hormone based contraceptive.

The truth is, it's been okay. There are a million things that can affect the body, and I need to experiment with different options before I decide what kind of contraceptive works for me - this is something I tell everyone around me to do. But it's difficult to do. It means doctor's appointments, and research, and not getting caught up in the hype of what other people experienced. Many people claim that the hormones affected them long after they stopped the pill - but the truth is, though the body goes through withdrawal, it only takes about 48 hours for your body to flush out the hormones from the pill. That's precisely why you have to take the pill every day.

What I've learned this last year, is to listen to your body. Listen to your doctors and your parents and the friends you trust, but listen to your body. There are so many forms of contraception and sometimes the exact one we'd like to work for us doesn't. That's okay - there are condoms and IUDs and diaphragms and more. The body is complicated and trying to send you messages everyday - listen to it!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.