It’s been a month now since I stopped using my NuvaRing and went off hormonal contraception. I promised I’d keep you posted on how it’s going, so I think it’s time for an update! In case you missed my first post about going off hormones, you may want to read that first. I explain all my reasons for why I decided to stop, my expectations for the transition period and after, and what I’m planning to use for contraception now.
I’m going to be honest with you straight away: this has been the most underwhelming change since I went vegan. It seems like whenever I make a big change like this, I go in expecting all these fabulous results that people on the internet get from it, and then… nothing happens. As of yet I don’t feel any different than I did on hormones. I do feel good, but no different than I did before. None of that it feels like a veil has been lifted feeling, no more intense emotions or “emotional flatness”. This may still change as it’s only been a short while since I stopped, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see about that. So far I feel the same mood-wise. Now as with going vegan, I’m not actually doing it for amazing differences in how I feel. The lack of change in this department so far isn’t any reason for me to go back on hormones, and in fact I’m glad I didn’t end up feeling worse (which was a possible outcome as well).
As the month progressed, I wrote down any symptoms I experienced that might possibly be connected to going off hormones. I have no way of knowing whether they actually are connected, some of them may have had other causes, but I thought I’d jot everything down anyway as my main goal here is to share my personal experience. So let’s go!
The first week after I removed my NuvaRing, I had my expected “period”, which is actually a withdrawal bleeding as there isn’t an ovulation on the ring. You’re supposed to insert a new ring after seven days to start a new cycle, which obviously this time I didn’t do.
Pretty much ever since I can remember, I’ve bled for seven days on my period or withdrawal week, both pre-ring and on the ring. After I started using a menstrual cup instead of pads, the period/withdrawal bleeding shortened to about five days. This month after not inserting a new ring, I bled for, wait for it… twelve days. TWELVE DAYS! The last five days I only had a little bit of super light bleeding, but there was definitely blood. Hey body, let’s not make a habit out of this, ok?
The first week I was super bloated. Might be hormone related, might be all the delicious legumes I ate. Who knows.
About two days after the bleeding stopped, I experienced lower back pain and a kind of pressure in my lower abdomen for the duration of half a day. Both of these are sensations I usually feel as my period starts. No bleeding this time. Could this have been ovulation..?
Around the same time I also started experiencing the intrusive thoughts I usually have in anxiety & panic attacks, in the evenings. This lasted a few days, and seemed to come out of nowhere. It went away again as suddenly as it came.
Twelve days after the twelve day bleeding, I noticed some spotting going on. At first I thought I’d started a new period, but the spotting only lasted for less than two days. So far I have no idea why this happened.
The last thing I’ve noticed so far, is a distinct change in discharge throughout the month. I might just have noticed this now because I’m paying more attention to it, but I do feel like the differences in discharge type are more noticeable now. TMI maybe but hey, what did you expect from a post like this 🙂
As I’m writing this, my tracking app says I should get my period tomorrow. I did notice that for the past few days I’ve been extra grumpy; I’m showing all the signs I used to have with PMS before. If I do start my period within the next few days, I’ll know if this is PMS for sure. I do have to say I’d be (pleasantly) surprised to have such a “normal” cycle so quickly after stopping, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens withing the next months!
I’ve purchased Toni Weschler’s Taking Charge of Your Fertility about the Fertility Awareness Method, and have started reading it. It’s going to take a while to get through as it’s really long and I don’t make much time for reading, but what I have read so far has been super interesting and informative. I will definitely post a review once I finish it- I have a feeling this is going to be quite revolutionary in my life.
Alright, that’s about all I can say about my post-hormonal contraception life. It’s been smooth sailing so far, and I’m pretty positive I haven’t gotten pregnant, so I guess we’re all good 🙂 I’ll come back to you with a new update three months after stopping, or sooner if anything major happens.
Edit: right before this publishes, I can confirm the first cycle has been completed after 31 days. After two days of what was unmistakably PMS (raging, haha!).