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How Long Does It Take to Adjust to a New Birth Control Pill?

How Long Does It Take to Adjust to a New Birth Control Pill? Image
Written by vhigueras
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Is your current pill is causing you to break out?  Gaining weight even though you don’t deserve it? Your birth control could be to blame. It can take two to three months for your body to adjust to the hormones in a new birth control pill (or other form or hormonal birth control like the patch or shot), and that can mean side effects like acne or weight gain (though this is usually water retention, not extra fat). As long as the symptoms aren’t awful the Nurx medical team usually advises our patients to wait until three months have passed before they consider switching prescriptions.

But if you’re thinking of switching to another kind of birth control, our medical team can help. Nurx providers will listen to your issues with your current method and learn whether you have goals for birth control beyond pregnancy prevention (like preventing acne or PMS, or skipping periods). We can prescribe birth control online, from wherever you are, on your schedule, and you’ll get an affordable brand-new prescription delivered discreetly to your doorstep. 

Here’s what you need to know about how long it takes to adjust to a new birth control pill, what side effects are normal and when you should consider switching.

Get birth control at home

Birth control from Nurx costs as little as $0 with insurance or $15 per month without insurance.

Common Side Effects You Might Experience

It’s no secret that switching to a new birth control can produce side effects. These vary by woman and by pill formula, however, you can expect these symptoms to disappear after two or three months. At this point, your body will have adjusted to the hormones.

 So what are some side effects you might experience when switching? Here are some possible symptoms, and how to cope:

  • Nausea, especially if you take the pill on an empty stomach. To combat this, try eating before you take a pill or taking your pill right before bed.
  • Headaches caused by the fluctuation of hormones. Reduce your pain with over-the-counter pain medications.
  • Tender breasts, which are triggered by hormonal fluctuations. There’s not much you can do about this, except take some over-the-counter pain relievers if you’re very uncomfortable.
  • Unscheduled bleeding, which can be annoying and alarming, but is actually quite normal. Don’t panic; just make sure you’re prepared with the necessary supplies.
  • Emotional fluctuations, similar to what you might experience during PMS. Try to take a deep breath and remember it’s your hormones talking (easier said than done, we realize!).

How to Know If Your Birth Control Is Right for You

If you’re experiencing some of the above side effects as your body adjusts to birth control, this is normal. However, there are a few side effects that are not normal and could be a sign your new pill is the wrong choice for your body. These include:

  • Extreme weight gain, especially in the first few days after you’ve started the pill.
  • Migraines or bad headaches that don’t respond to OTC treatment.
  • Severe cramping and abdominal pain.
  • Symptoms that don’t go away after four months. At this point, your body should be adjusted, so if you’re still experiencing side effects, your body may need to break up with this pill.

Steps Involved in Switching to New Birth Control

If you’ve decided you should switch to a different birth control pill, the Nurx medical team can help.

If you’re switching from one combination pill (which contains both estrogen and progestin) to another,  you’ll finish the entirety of your old pill pack, including any placebo pills. Then, on day one of your new cycle, start on your new pill. If done correctly, you should not require a back-up method like condoms, but check with your provider to know for sure.

If you’re switching from a combination pill to a progestin-only pill. You’ll begin taking your new pills right away. However, if it’s been five or more days since your last period, you’ll need to use back-up birth control for the next two days until the pill kicks in.

If you are switching from the progestin-only pill to a combination pill, you can start these right away as well. The only difference is that you’ll need to use back-up protection for the next seven days if it’s been five or more days since your last period.

Tips for Handling the Adjustment Period

Let’s be real — adjusting to new birth control isn’t always easy. Just keep your eye on the prize at the end of the road — 99 percent effective pregnancy prevention, lighter and shorter periods, and reduced period pain.

If the symptoms of switching are starting to get to you, try out some of the following to make your experience more positive:

  • Eat healthy and exercise. This shouldn’t be a shocker, as you probably already knowing eating well and being physically active can make you healthier overall. But they are also great tools for regulating hormone fluctuations and feeling better in general.
  • De-stress. Stress is a major contributor to out-of-whack hormones, so do all you can to relax. Meditate, do yoga, or listen to calming music.
  • Take pain meds. Don’t make this a regular habit, but if you’re experiencing nasty headaches or cramping, don’t be afraid to throw back some Advil or Tylenol. Just follow the recommended doses and read the label for any contraindications.

More articles that might be helpful:

How to Order Birth Control Online

Which Emergency Contraception is Right for You?

Who Should Do a Home HPV Test (You, Maybe)


This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.

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At Nurx, we make it easy to get the expert healthcare you deserve. From schedules to health history, everybody is different—so we provide treatment and care that’s personalized to you. Through life’s cycles, changes, and transitions, we’re here to help you make informed choices about your health.

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