We have often come across this question by young women on the pill or on other forms of contraception. It is an important question as women may be planning for pregnancy and would like to know when they will start ovulating, or they may want to know at what stage should they be concerned if their period is not back to normal. So what happens to your cycle when you stop the pill?
For women on the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), it is accepted that it may take a few months for normal cycle to return after stopping the COCP. But studies have shown that 98% of people will ovulate by 3 months. In general, we recommend women to start folic acid and to check immunity 3 months before conception so we recommend women considering to conceive, to start planning before they stop the pill. For further information and links to literature on preconception advice, see our blog “Things to do before you start a family”.
For women on the Mini Pill, Mirena or Implanon, return to normal cycle occurs very quickly after they stop these contraception options. The only exception to the progestogen contraception options is the Depo injection, which is associated with delay in cycle. The average delay in cycle for Depo is 8-10 months but this can be as long as 18 months. So Depo is generally not the first choice of contraception for women who are still considering to start a family.
So when should you be concerned if your cycle is not back to normal? We would expect cycles to be delayed after the cessation of Depo, but for all other contraception options, if your cycle has not returned after 6 months it is unlikely to be due to contraception. In this case, is important to see your doctor to check for secondary causes such as PCOS, premature menopause or secondary amenorrhoea.
If you would like further information on contraception or have any concerns about your cycle, call 3257 0841 to make an appointment to see a doctor with special interest in women’s health. For more information on our women’s health clinic, visit: Doctors @ Teneriffe Women’s Health Clinic.
FRACGP MBBS (UQ) B PHTY (UQ)
Dr. Dora has a Certificate in Sexual Health and Family Planning and is a part of the Doctors @ Teneriffe special interest group on Women’s Health.