I’ve been on birth control since I was 15. That means for 15 years my hormones have been controlled by a tiny little pill that I take every day.
When I started the little yellow pack all those years back, I was just a frustrated teenager with bad cramps, looking for anything that would make the pain go away. My gynecologist didn’t hesitate to put me on the pill, promising that would ease the pain and lessen the severity of my periods.
She was right. It worked.
Over the next 15 years, I became more in touch with my body. As we all do, I think.
- I knew my hunger levels throughout the day.
- I knew which foods I craved. And which ones made me feel bad.
- I knew exactly how much wine I could drink before I entered the danger zone.
- I knew that right before my period I would get sad (and emotional and sensitive and I-am-fat-and-ugly-and-unlovable…just kidding, kind of).
- And I knew what I needed to do to make the pain/sadness/irritableness go away.
At 30, I felt very in tune with my body. So I, of all people, thought I had all my body’s “feels” down pat. But all that completely changed when I went off the pill.
Today, I’d like to share my experience with you. Whether you’ve considered going off of it because you have the heard the negative impacts it can have on our health and emotions, or you’re just starting to take the first steps to fertility, I hope this will help you better prepare for the experience.
I wrote a blog post a few years back about decreasing hunger levels in my late 20’s. I had assumed that, with age, your hunger decreases and mine had just hit that wall. As a child and as a teenager I was hungry ALL THE TIME. As children are, I suppose. I still loved food as an adult (obv), but a lot of time I would eat just because it was “time to eat;” not because I was hungry.
Now, I wake up ravenous. I can’t wait to get something in my belly. Once lunchtime hits, I once again CANNOT wait to eat. And you know how when you’re really hungry, food tastes better? Ya. Food totally tastes better off the pill! More crunchy, more sweet, more cheesy and more satiating. I swear it.
And BECAUSE I am more satiated, I find myself snacking less. When I eat, I REALLY eat. When I’m done, I’m done.
I read somewhere once that women hit their sexual peak in their 30’s. So I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I hit mine and I wasn’t feeling this sudden surge of sexual confidence. But now I have to wonder – was it the pill that was holding me back?
I don’t want to get too personal on you here because it’s incredibly awkward and I am literally cringing as I type this. But just know that once I stopped the pill, I felt the surge. ALL the time. AT LEAST 3 times a day. Okay 5. More than that, I just feel sexier. Maybe one is the result of the other, but I can’t get over this feeling of being really happy with the way my body looks and feels right now.
More Clear Headed & Steady
This one is going to be the toughest to put into words. Because it’s more of a feeling than anything else. But I just feel more alive, more awake and more alert. More happy and less moody. Even-keeled is a good way to describe it.
Not that this is in any way unusual, but with my period on its way, I would have some pretty deep dips in my mood. I’d never get angry. Just sad and emotional. And things that would typically bother me a lot, I’m letting go easier.
It would be remiss of me not to tell you that there will be some getting used to it in the very beginning. Your body has to readjust to its own hormone levels and this can be a bit jolting when we’re used to a prescribed level of hormones for so long. Along with all of the good stuff above, I also noticed a little nausea, slight cramping long before my period came and changes in body temperature. I would wake up in the middle of the night, or early in the morning with what felt like a hot flash. I run really cold so this was very odd to me. Without doing any research on this (VERY unlike me), I feel as though this makes perfect sense. Women going through menopause experience hot flashes because their hormones are changing. So why wouldn’t a woman in her 30’s who had just greatly affected her hormones feel the same? Oh. And the last and MOST annoying one – not knowing how long your period is and waiting for what seems like months for it to come (wondering if you’re pregnant or not the whole time EVEN THOUGH you’d taken multiple pregnancy tests that tell you otherwise).
That’s all she wrote for now. You can choose to take my experience with a grain of salt. And yes, it could be the placebo effect. I tend to be very sensitive to what I hear or read, and I knew to expect a change when I stopped the pill. But from everything people told me, it would be horrible. There would be terrible cramps and mood swings and emotions. And I gotta say, I had all of those things much worse when I was on it. I love my new feels. I think they’re pretty fantastic. And honestly, I have no desire to go back.
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