Quitting birth control in your 40s- my experience!

Here is what happened to me, when I quit birth control in my 40s. I did not find many experiences online from older women, so I thought I’d share with you mine! I quit birth control almost a year ago and I am 46 years old (turning very soon 47). I actually did not plan to stop taking the pill at all, but there were some issues getting my hands on my usual birth control. First there were out of stock and then the shipping took so long (long story but I was getting my birth control for years from Europe). I was kind of forced into quitting, because I could simply not get my hands on it. When the shipment finally arrived, I had already made my mind up: I would quit birth control now. 

It is actually funny how the universe did this, because I think this is for my own good. I never thought of quitting with my birth control, because I am on it since I am 16 with a short break before I got pregnant, during pregnancy and for the time I was breastfeeding. So, even if you only take the time after my son was born, I was on birth control for around 17 years and before my pregnancy for probably another 10 years- for a total of 27 years of my life! Wow!

I always thought that I was doing good being on the pill and had no side effects. I remember how (20 years ago) my gynecologist would recommend to stay on the pill, even if in menopause, to reduce the symptoms of menopause. And that was my original plan- to just keep taking it! However, research has clearly evolved and I found in my research many articles and many gynecologists that today strongly advise against taking birth control when you are in your 40s. 

A study of more than 100,000 women suggests that the increased breast cancer risk associated with birth control pills is highest among older women. The study found that the risk of breast cancer was greatest among women aged 45 and over who were still using the pill.  I had honestly no clue! 

A friend that recently successfully fought breast cancer also told me that birth control is apparently directly connected to a higher risk of breast cancer and also cervical cancer (while weirdly it reduces the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer!?). 

My stance was clear: now that I already did not take the birth control for a couple of weeks, I would certainly not start again. And what happened?

It was a really interesting journey! After only a couple of days without my birth control, I started to get some annoying night sweats. I also had often a headache and felt super moody. My mood was a constant roller coaster. After 2 weeks I experienced some unusual discharge and after 3 weeks my breasts started hurting and got really tender and firm, my nipples were so sensitive and painful! After 4 weeks I lost 2 pounds without changing my diet. Honestly, that phase was so interesting to experience, so many changes and here I thought: “That tiny pill is not doing much to my body.”

So many changes in such a short amount of time. Crazy that I put this little time-ticking bomb every day of my last 17 years inside of me! Because of the night sweats I thought, I might be already pre-menopausal, or maybe even in my menopause already? However, after 5 weeks I got my period. Now I am getting my period again very regularly, always around 26-28 days and then it will last 3-4 days. It can get pretty hefty sometimes, a lot of blood and sometimes also a bit of cramping involved, but doable. I feel a little like I am in puberty, like when I was getting my period for the first time, because I am not used it being so strong (on the pill I would sometimes just keep taking it to override getting my period at all). I also had to fight for a couple of weeks with some acne like a teenager.

For a couple of month I was literally cycling so strong! The word “cycle” made so much sense as I could feel the change of each phase so much! Every week was different and I could tell, in which phase I was. I would literally feel (and see!) when I was ovulating. My breasts would cycle too! They would be a couple days super firm and sensitive to the touch and then get soft again without being sensitive. And I also felt more “desire” shortly before I was ovulating! So crazy to see because for all those years the birth control literally controlled my body and I was not cycling.

Quick timestamps of what happened:

After a couple days: Night sweats, headache, mood swings
After 2 weeks: a lot of discharge
After 3 weeks: tender breasts & very sensitive nipples
After 4 weeks: I lost 2 pounds
After 5 weeks: I got my period, I started to “cycle” really strong 
After 1 year: I lost about 6.5 pounds

I am off the pill now for almost a year (I quit in July 2022) and the cycles are not that strong anymore. I also no longer have night sweats and I am better balanced. No more mood swings and my breast are not cycling that much anymore either and are not getting that sensitive anymore. I feel all in all very balanced. I also lost a little bit of weight (around 6 pounds) without changing my diet which is always a plus in my book! I do not look back and will certainly not take birth control again.

P.S. Don't forget to still protect yourself with a different method, preferably something without chemicals? 😜

Did you also quit birth control in your 40s? Share your experience below if you like! I would love to hear about them.