Coming off the pill and monthly cycle - Women's Health

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Coming off the pill and monthly cycle

Sar94 profile image


I have been on the pill for 8 years and have decided to come off it for various reasons. It has been such a long time since I had a proper 'period' that I am unsure how to calculate when my first 'real period' will arrive. I am aware it may take a while to get back into a regular cycle. Prior to going on the pill they were usually every 28 days but due to suffering with eating disorders they had become irregular in the few months leading up to when i started the pill. Do I count 28 days from the last day I took a pill or do I count from the day my withdrawal bleed started after taking my last pill? Any advice is gratefully received.

Thanks, Sarah.

4 Replies
wobblybee profile image

Your menstrual cycle is the time from the first day of one period to the first day of your next period. So if you have a 28-day cycle, it takes 28 days to get from the beginning of one period to the beginning of the next.

Twenty-eight days is often referred to as the “standard” length for a menstrual cycle, but some people have cycles that are shorter or longer — your menstrual cycle might be as short as 21 days or as long as 35, and that’s completely fine. Your cycle also might not be exactly the same length every month — that’s normal, too.

Figuring out the average length of your menstrual cycle is as easy as marking the first day of your period on a calendar for a few months. There are a ton of free apps and websites you can use to track your period, too. Some also help you track stuff like PMS symptoms and the length of your period.

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I wouldn't base your post-pill periods off of what you experienced pre-pill, especially after so long.

I used to be quite regular - every 30-31 days - before I started taking the pill. I was on the pill for about 2.5 years, but after I stopped taking it, my cycle was anywhere from 28-46 days. It stayed irregular for the following 9 years, until I started taking some supplements to help hormone regulation again, which brought it back to 30 days.

I've heard a few people recommending "Beyond the Pill" to help get back into a regular cycle, and she gives details of supplements that can help.

I also meant to say, I wouldn't count from the withdrawal bleed, as it wasn't the most reliable period. It could take a few months for you to get your first post-pill period, and I think counting from the start of your withdrawal bleed would therefore stress you unnecessarily. I would start counting the days of your cycle from the date of your next period.

Sar94 profile image
Sar94 in reply to Cooper27

Thank you, i just like to have a rough idea of when it may arrive so that I can be prepared. I'm not expecting my cycle to return to how it was before, partly why I'm coming off the pill is to try and get into a better cycle without the aid of hormones. I was put on it because although I'd been regular from age 12 at 18 they became the complete opposite. Rather than investigation, I was weighed and told i was underweight and that this was the reason my periods were suddenly all over the place but as i had issues with food i was put on the pill. I guess the doctor thought it would be a quick easy fix which it was in terms of regulation of a withdrawal bleed but I still dont know if my weight was the issue. Now that I'm 26 I feel now is the time to get to know my body better and hopefully get to the bottom of why my cycle became so erratic.

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27 in reply to Sar94

That sounds like a really great reason to stop :)

I mean, I wouldn't have said your doctor was wrong per se. If you were undereating, it can be stressful for the body, and that impacts the hormone cycle. It's supposed to be an evolution thing, because if you weren't getting sufficient nutrition, your body recognises it as a time of famine, and shuts down the reproductive cycle because now is the worst time to add an extra mouth to feed. If you wanted to read into it, then I think the technical term is Hypothelamic Amenorrhea (my spelling is probably terrible).

It's just unfortunate that the pill is used as such a fix-all for things like this, because it's not that helpful long term really 🤔

I think as a basic starting point, a decent prenatal vitamin is meant to be really helpful for getting your cycle back. The logic was just that a premenopausal woman's body is "healthiest" when it has the building blocks it needs to help reproduce, and a prenatal vitamin is supposed to support that.

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