Why I'm Happier, Healthier & Sexier Off Hormonal Birth Control
As a health coach, I often have women tell me that they feel more attractive when they're on hormonal birth control.
I totally get that. I was on oral contraceptives for 10 years and also used to feel like the Pill made my skin clearer and my breasts larger and that therefore, this made me “better-looking."
But it wasn’t until I finally ditched my birth control pill, after years of feeling like I was missing something, that I started to really come into my own. Here are five reasons I truly feel vibrant and sexy post-Pill:
1. My skin improved.
Personally, I still experienced blemished skin while on birth control. The breakouts were minor, but my skin was never entirely clear.
Going off of birth control gave me the opportunity to listen to my body and observe symptoms like my acne in order to treat the root cause. This turned out to be compromised digestion and a diet that wasn't ideal for my body. I learned to reduce processed foods, and oils in particular, and limit my dairy consumption.
Further, research has shown1 that the Pill can deplete the body of essential nutrients. By going off of it, feeding my body the nutrients it needs and supporting my digestion, I’ve helped improve the actual quality of my skin.
Today, my complexion is not only clear, but brighter. I feel like I look healthier overall.
2. My breasts returned.
First of all, I don’t think we ladies need to get too hung up about size. But since this is a common complaint among women, I will say that my breasts actually did all but disappear when I first went off of birth control. This was because my body needed some time to start producing its own reproductive hormones again, and reproductive hormones support breast tissue. It took about six months for my hormone levels to rebound.
Today, after giving my body time to reestablish a healthy cycle, I wear the same cup size that I did while I was on the birth control pill.
In fact, during the second half of my natural cycle, when progesterone is the dominant hormone, my breasts actually feel fuller than they ever did on the birth control pill.
3. I'm happier.
Women are cyclical creatures and the synthetic hormones in the birth control pill supplant our natural cycles completely.
Without a natural cycle, I find that women don’t experience the confidence and flirtatious energy of ovulation or the more reflective, internal nature of the luteal phase (the phase between ovulation and your period). Now that I’m off the hormones, I feel so much more clear, which is something that I’ve also heard from other women when they went off of their birth control.
I’m also far more emotionally stable. Yes, my moods shift throughout the month, but I now know my cycle and what to expect as my hormones fluctuate. I’m happier — and what’s sexier than a happy woman?
4. Sex is better.
A 2011 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that a woman’s orgasm is weaker, or that she may have difficulty achieving orgasm, on hormonal contraceptives. It also found that women had more sex before going on the Pill.
Another study found that the labia decrease in thickness and the clitoris can shrink after just three months on certain types of birth control pills. (Yikes!)
Personally, sex is better off of the Pill. End of story. It takes some time for hormone levels and sexual response to fully rebound after the birth control pill, but once they do, let me tell you, you really have no idea what you’re missing.
My body does crazy, sexy things that it simply was not capable of while I was on birth control. Plus, getting in tune with my cycle has helped me learn that I enjoy different things at different points in my cycle. A little bit of variety certainly never hurt anybody.
5. My confidence increased.
Ovulation is the trump card. I find it's the sexiest time of all, and the Pill prevents it entirely. Research shows that at ovulation, changes occur in a woman’s facial flush, the pitch of her voice, and in the pheromones that she gives off, making her more attractive to the opposite sex.
Furthermore, I've found that the surge of hormones boost confidence and sociability (as well as sex drive). At ovulation, I am, dare I say, coquettish — which is something I never feel at other points of my cycle, nor did I ever experience anything like it on the Pill.
Kara Ferreira is a fertility health expert who works with women to troubleshoot their cycles and digestion so that they can feel their best. She is a certified women’s health coach and works with women at Quit The Pill to transition off of hormonal birth control as seamlessly as possible, and repair health post-HBC.