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going off birth control, don't know what to expect

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  • going off birth control, don't know what to expect

    (tl;dr i'm spotting very lightly when I would expect my period. could I be pregnant? is that my period? do i need to see a doctor?)

    ?going off hormonal birth control after being on it from age 15-23 so i have no idea what to expect, other than i was told my period will be "irregular" for 1-3 or more months. how do i know what is "irregular" and when to take a pregnancy test or see a doctor?
    bleeding is so light i'm just not sure if it's actually my period, i know spotting can happen when pregnant but the bleeding is basically on time for when my period should be. however it's not like what my periods would be like and this is about 3 months off birth control now.

    i started tracking as soon as i stopped the patch so here's the timeline to clarify what i'm experiencing: removed last patch on April 26, had my period from the 29th to May 2 or 3 as normal, then didn't put a new patch on. Spotted on my projected ovulation day. Got my period May 28 to about June 1, it was on time, and as heavy as my periods normally were while i'd been on bc. started bleeding lightly on June 21, around 4 days before my expected period, and spotted until the 23rd. counting that as my period, my next expected period was July 18, and I spotted very lightly (basically pink discharge, not even enough blood to wet my underwear) from July 21 to 23.

    is that my "irregular" period? will it go back to normal and when? is it possible for pregnancy spotting to mimic a cycle and happen periodically or does it sound like i'm not pregnant? i haven't had any symptoms either, but assuming i'm not pregnant, is this the expected "irregular" or something to get checked out?

  • According to Planned Parenthood, it can take a few months for your cycle to regulate after going off the patch. Especially since you were on it for so long, it may just be a matter of waiting for your body to return to its normal hormonal balance. You’re still in that few-month window of time.

    That said, they do point out that you can get pregnant right away once you stop using the patch — have you been using a backup form of birth control since you stopped using the patch?

    Do you have any other physical symptoms like breast tenderness or nausea? Unusual food cravings? (That sounds like silliness, but my first sign of being pregnant with my second daughter was my craving for eggs – I hate eggs. I wanted eggs, found that strange, took a pregnancy test, and then quickly realized why I wanted eggs – I was pregnant).

    If it will put your mind at ease, you could always buy an over-the-counter pregnancy test. It SOUNDS like this is likely just spotting due to your hormones rebalancing themselves, but a pregnancy test will let you know for sure.

    Because Planned Parenthood mentions that it can take a few months for your body to regulate to its pre-patch state, if you continue to have issues with irregularity it might be worth a visit to your doctor. PP said that these side effects “usually” go away after a few months; but again, since you were on it for eight years, it may take a little longer in your case.

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