Should YOU stop the pill?!

wrote this on January 11, 2016

Stopping the pill was a tough decision for me. My doctor put me on it when I was 14 to manage my horribly painful periods, and I stayed on it for almost a decade. But, in my early 20s, I started having some pretty concerning side effects (heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, major anxiety), and I knew I wanted to stop taking it. But there was just teensy little problem: I was completely TERRIFIED of stopping. I was terrified of my debilitating period pain returning with a vengeance. I was terrified of how my body would react to being off the pill. I was terrified of trying to avoid pregnancy without using hormones.

I was finally able to let go of my fears after reading extensively (seriously, for MONTHS) about the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness. Being scared and anxious about stopping the pill (or any other hormonal contraceptive) is a total buzzkill…trust me. It’s also not a feeling that is unique to my own experience. To show you just how NOT alone you are, I asked some folks who have been in the very same boat to share their experiences. Here’s what they said:

Were you hesitant about stopping the pill?

Suzanne: I quit the birth control pill after a mild health scare that I thought was caused by the pill. It was a massive decision since I had been on the pill for 15+ years. I wasn’t interested in any other hormonal methods, nor inserting a piece of metal in my uterus, so condoms were my default choice. But I had had bad experiences with condoms in the past (with splits, etc) so I was staring at a very scary time ahead. I only found out about [the sympto-thermal method] a month later after researching how to help my body come off the pill.

Tyler: Yes! I overcame my fears by looking for natural alternatives, such as the diaphragm and condoms. I was talking to a friend who was trying to get pregnant about my frustrations, and she told me you could also use the method she was using to avoid pregnancy, so I started looking it up.

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How has your life improved since you stopped?

Sarah: It is difficult to describe, but I feel cleaner. My body is my body and I understand it so much better (and I understand it probably 1%!). I have a lot more respect for it and wonder at the amazing things it can do and how much it tells you.

Kendra: I feel so free. I never fully understood the fog my brain was in while on artificial hormones. I felt run down, sad, and muggy brained. It took time and is still taking time (at a year-and-a-half) to repair 10 years of hormonal abuse, but I am dedicated to being fully in control of my life and my body. More than anything it has been extremely empowering. [The sympto-thermal method] gives us amazing tools as women to deeply love and respect our bodies. They are astonishing in all that they do, and to see it and track that is just breathtaking.

There are SO many experiences out there and so many stories. Some of those stories may feel foreign to you, while others may feel like they’re coming straight from your mouth! Whatever your experience may be, and whatever fears you may have, you are NOT alone in this journey. So I urge you to let go of your fears and make whatever decision feels right for you.

Jennifer Aldoretta is the cofounder and CEO of Groove. She is an entrepreneur, engineer, and biohacker who is obsessed with periods, nutrition, hormones, and the microbiome.