I’ve recently come off the pill. How long will it take for my cycles to go back to normal?
This is a complicated question because there are dozens of factors that contribute to a woman’s overall health and affect how quickly she will “bounce back” from hormonal birth control. The research indicates that, on average, it takes women nine months to return to regular fertility following use of the pill.
In my clinical experience over the past six years, there are three major factors that seem to have the biggest impact on a woman’s recovery:
#1: The age at which you first went on hormonal birth control, relative to your first period. Ideally you would have been cycling naturally for at least four years prior to starting on the pill as this is about how long it takes for a girl’s reproductive system to mature fully. When girls are put on the pill too young, it essentially interrupts their hormonal development, a process that may have to “complete” later when they come off it again.
#2: The total duration of time that you have been on hormonal birth control relative to your reproductive years. For example, a woman who has been on the pill for 3 of the 12 years since getting her period will typically fare better than a woman who has been on the pill for 10 of the 12 years since getting her period.
#3: Your reproductive health status prior to going on the pill. Unfortunately, although the pill can help manage the symptoms of irregular cycles, painful periods, or absent menstruation, it does not fix the underlying issues that cause those problems. If you had cycle issues prior to going on the pill you are likely to have them when you come off the pill again. Fixing the underlying issues that caused these menstrual issues in the first place requires careful attention and the support of a good holistic health team, including a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner (HRHP) who is trained to interpret a menstrual cycle chart.
There are many other factors that influence a woman’s return to normal cycling post-pill (some of which I hope to address in upcoming blog posts). For more information about coming off the pill, the patch, the shot, or the ring, I recommend picking up a copy of “Coming off the Pill” which includes recommendations for how you can support your body’s detoxification process and return to reproductive health. Or, better yet, book an appointment with an HRHP who can provide you with individualized support tailored to your needs. To apply for a no cost consultation, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.