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

Maybe your current pill is causing you to break out in acne. Or maybe you’re having a terrible time with weight gain. Whatever the case, you may be thinking of switching to another kind of birth control pill. Don’t fear, Nurx partners with licensed providers who will listen to your concerns and make a recommendation that perfectly meets your needs. You’ll get an affordable brand-new prescription delivered safely to your doorstep. Now the big question — how long will it take you to adjust to this new pill?

The Expected Timeline

Image via Flickr by DafneCholet

It’s no secret that switching to a new birth control produces some uncomfortable side effects. These vary in every woman, as does the adjustment timeline. However, most ladies can expect these symptoms to disappear after three to four months. At this point, your body will have adjusted to the fluctuations in hormones and should be back to normal.

If you’re lucky, this timeline might be even shorter. It all depends on how well your body reacts.

However, if you’re still experiencing symptoms after four months, you may want to schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN for more help.

Common Side Effects You’ll Experience

So what are some side effects you might experience when switching? Many women have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • 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, which are caused by the fluctuation of hormones. Reduce your pain with over-the-counter pain medications and a low-stress lifestyle.
  • Tender breasts, which are triggered by hormones. There’s not much you can do about this except take some pain meds and endure.
  • Unscheduled bleeding, which can be scary, but is actually quite normal. While your schedule might call for bleeding during placebo days, you might see some spotting on your active pill days, as well. Don’t panic; just make sure you’re prepared with the necessary supplies.
  • Emotional fluctuations, similar to what you might experience during PMS or PMDD. Obviously, these feelings can be hard to deal with, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take a deep breath and remember it’s your hormones talking.

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 not the right solution for your body. These include:

  • Extreme weight gain, especially in the first few days after you’ve started the pill.
  • Extreme migraines that don’t respond to 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 the above side effects, your body needs to break up with this pill.

Keep in mind that no one’s body is the same, so some birth control methods simply aren’t good matches for certain people. Never get discouraged, as the licensed providers that partner with Nurx will gladly investigate your symptoms and provide you with an alternative prescription that might better meet your needs.

Steps Involved in Switching to New Birth Control

If you were on a different birth control pill and you’re making a switch to another, the process can be a little tricky. Nurx’s licensed professionals can help guide you on how to accomplish this, but there are a few common strategies involved.

In most cases,  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 any emergency contraception if you have sex, but it’s always a good idea to consult the package insert to know for sure.

Of course, things are a little different if you’re switching from a combination pill to a progestin-only pill. You’ll begin taking these right away. However, if it’s been five or more days since your last period, you’ll need to use emergency contraception 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 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 easy for everyone. For most people, it’s a breeze, but for a select few, it can be a nightmare. Just keep your eye on the prize at the end of the road — 99.9 percent effective birth control, 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.
  • Destress. Surprise, surprise. 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 particularly 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.

Have more questions? Don’t worry, as Nurx is here to help.

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