Real Life Stories
Coming off Birth Control
If you're considering coming off birth control you may be wondering what to expect. We spoke to two of our subscribers – Lisa (31) who had a copper IUD and Isabelle (33) who had a hormonal IUD – about their experience of having them removed. Here's what they had to say.
 Life Post-IUD
Lisa and Isabelle Chat About Their Experience

Why did you have your IUD removed?
Lisa: I’d been on birth control, without any breaks, since I was fifteen and I really wanted to see what my body was like without. I’d just gotten out of a long-term relationship so it felt like the right time.

Isabelle: I wanted to know what my natural cycle was like after not having periods for many years due to being on different forms of contraception. 

How did you feel afterwards?
Lisa: It took until my second period post IUD removal to really see a difference but I finally felt like I understood what my body was like without contraception. With the IUD I was having emotional fluctuations throughout the month and hormonal symptoms such as breast tenderness and fluctuations in size. After I stopped the IUD my periods were initially heavier and more painful than I remembered, but over time they steadied out and the other symptoms also eased off.

Isabelle: My period returned within two weeks. It was regular right away and lighter than I remembered. I did find that I had more period pain in the first 6 months but this eased over time.

I experienced pretty intense hormonal symptoms and fatigue for the first few months post removal. The warning sign would be my breasts becoming swollen and painful and for the next few days I’d experience mood swings which could result in me sobbing inconsolably over very little! I would also be tired – especially on day 1 of my cycle – and I found that allowing myself to sleep more really helped. I also noticed how much I could exercise depended on where I was at in my cycle and now I know not to over do it on days 1 - 3 as it can cause me to have a migraine.

After those initial months of adjustment I definitely feel more in touch with my body again and I like knowing what is happening with my cycle and knowing that it’s regular.

What advice would you give to others? 
Lisa: Consider taking a couple of painkillers before getting an IUD removed. Make a note of your cycle, how it changes and be ready for that. My cycle changed quickly and then steadied out over a number of months but I know that’s not always the case. Also, enjoy it! It feels so good to not be on birth control after so many years. 

Isabelle: I would advise listening to your body – when you’re on your period it’s OK to eat, sleep and exercise based on what feels right for you. I also found it useful to track my cycle using an app called Moody which predicts your hormone fluctuations and offers you ways to manage. That helped me start planning my calendar around my cycle and I now put in fewer events around my period. I enjoy using my period as a reason to be a bit more introverted and reflective.

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We hope you have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you next Friday for an exciting announcement!

Our newsletters are written by our fantastic medical team
Dr. Louise, MBChB
Sandy, Embryologist
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