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For the ladies: long-term birth control pill use

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Hey ladies,

I have a quick question to ask that some may be able to answer. I've been on the pill for a long time (it will be 10 years soon). I have changed my brands a few times, but have been consistently taking birth control pills since I was 15 (original reason was to help with my bad acne, as suggested by a doctor). I may want to stop taking it in a few years. 

10 years is a long time. Do any of you think that taking the pill for this long is bad? Do you think it could affect my future chances of fertility or perhaps screw up my hormones when I decide to stop taking it?  I've been researching this online and cannot seem to find a clear answer.

Also, do any of you have experience with taking the pill for a long time and/or quitting after long-term use? What kind of side-effects do you experience? I've read some scary things like weight-gain and sudden acne.

Any insight will be appreciated :)

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I think you'll be fine. If you had any mood changes when you started, it'll probably be like that when you stop.

I've heard that you shouldn't take the pill for more than five years. I did, I was on it for about 7 yrs, and now I have PCOS (which might have been there before, but I do wonder if the cysts are worse because of suppressing ovulation for so long). I don't remember withdrawal side effects but I remember feeling like it was great to get off the synthetic hormones. It does take a few months for your hormones to get regulated again, so there could be some mood swings (a/k/a PMS).

I was on the pill for 15 years.

I came off about two years ago due to medication I was taking.

I was sooo happy to be off the pill as I also believe it's not good to take long term ans am mch happier with my cycles being natural.

I didn't experience any weight gain and if anything my moods were better and no change to my pains around my period, maybe even a bit better.

I have experienced some problem with my skin but I can't be sure that this wasn't also due to taking and then stopping other medication at the time.

My advice, try it and deal with any problems as they arise, just be aware of any changes.

I think it is better in the long term, I did also read that it can take anything from 1 - 3 years for everything to get back to normal, so I'm playing the waiting game with my skin and I think it just started to get better :)

Probably due to healthier eating and more water so make sure you factor that in when you do :)


I have tried to write this post 2 times already and it just keeps disappearing! I hope it doesn't appear three times when I finally hit "post"!

I was on bc for 5.5 years (2 kinds). Went off last June in anticipation of TTC this February. I have noticed an occasional pimple (1 every other month or so) which I never had any when on the pill. My hairstylist noticed new growth adding thickness to my hair, which makes sense since I had shed a lot when I initially went on the pill so many years ago. I also notice more monthly fluctuations in sexual desire and water retention, but these are not a problem. It is not real weight gain, and both of these things are tied to your cycle because it's your body's way of saying when it can conceive and also keeping some cushion in case you conceive, which goes away as soon as the period arrives. Overall it just feels more real, if that makes any sense. It did not affect my fertility, as I conceived during my second cycle trying, about 9 months after going off the pill.

I have heard that consistent use is not a problem; it can only be a problem if you go on and off the pills (which makes sense, that would jerk anybody around). I totally understand wanting to stop. I had about had it when I stopped using them and have no plans to go back on.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide! :) 

If you want to continue taking BC for a few more years, I really recommend the Mirena IUD. I've had it for nearly five years now, and have few or no periods. The hormones stay in just one area, and I haven't had issues with it like I did with depo - no weight gain, no hair loss, etc. 

I was on the pill (various brands) for just over 10 years. I had originally gone on it because of heavy flow and pain periods. Apparently, hormones change a little over a decade, and when I went off, my periods weren't anywhere near as bad as they had been in my teens.  Fertility seems just fine. Had no issues with weight or acne after stopping.

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I was about to ask this question ! I've only been on for three years , I originally went on to regulate my period, bc I was getting in one month then 28 days later then 14 days, then 14 days, then 28 days. Then for contraception. But I've been getting migraines and I was talking to my aunt, and just so happens our family carries a gene that makes us pretty much "allergic" to birth control pills and thats why I've been getting migraines. -.- So I hope my period is regulated now and I hope I hope I lose weight instead of gain. Because when I went on I gained weight . But I'm not completely sure it was the birth controls fought . Good luck to you though!
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Is long term pills taking more difficult to get pregnant??
Original Post by iza_ka:

Is long term pills taking more difficult to get pregnant??


I typically lose a surprising amount of weight the handful of times I've gone off of different types of birth control (5 pounds in less than a month usually).  Although I was never on BC for a period of time as long as 10 years, I was on it for continuous time period of at least 3 years, and probably another span of two years. I have taken Seasonel, Ortho tri-cyclone (generic and name brand), and ortho tri-cyclone low. If that helps any. 


I really appreciated all of the other side effects of going off BC pills.  In addition to the weight loss, I have a lot less hormonal side effects of being on BC pills, and I do not naturally get my period as often.

I will absolutely never go on a BC pill again. It will only use condoms from now and forever.

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Ive been taking bc for about ten years ( minus pregnancy time). Last year I was single and decided I was going to give myself a break, so I stopped taking it for a few months. Here are the goods that came from my experience: I felt really grear. My mood was better and I seemed to have more energy. I lost about 17 pounds. My sex drive seemed to increase...which also could have been due to being single :p. For the first 3 weeks my skin and hair looked fantastic. The bad: I normally have very nice, forgiving skin. I dont break out, apart from the stray pimple here or there. I never did before bc either. Not to brag, but I have the type of skin strangers compliment you on. And after stopping bc, for the first few weeks it got better, seemed to glow. Then over night, it got bad. Then it got really bad. It started with just a couple pimples..then it seamed like almost everyday something new was popping up. I tried everything I could to stop it. I was taking better care of my skin than ever before, but it just kept getting worse until I had little pimples covering my whole face..I asked my gyno and she tried to tell me it wasnt due to the birth control, but perhaps it was adult acne suddenly flaring up. Riiight... weelll, im almost ashamed to say that I was so embarassed that I gave up all of the good benefits that I was reaping and went back on the pill. Within a few weeks, my skin started getting better. Within a few months I was back to normal. But now Im terrified that if I ever want another kid, it'll start back up all over again. I really wish I had never started taking it..

I ALSO have much more energy off of BC pills and BC pills kill my sex drive, which is sort of coincidental to the point of being ironic. 

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Wow you got me to thinkin', so I did the math. I have been on the pill for 29 years.  Only time I was not on the pill is when I went off of them to get pregnant.   Now that I am in my forties, I understand that as long as I am on the pill I will only feel the effects of menopause (i.e. hot flashes, etc) during the "free" week or the week I am menstruating.  Which has been true so far.  I have no clue as to how my body will react when I finally do go off the pill for good.

I have been on the pill now for almost three solid years. I started taking them continuously (no periods) for about four months, I think. Anyway. I actually NEED the birth control pills, and not for contraception. I use them for mood regulation (it was either that or Prozac and since I knew the BC would work I said F the prozac), it helps keep my skin clear, and I have endometriosis and it was flaring up really bad which is why my dr started me on it continuously. I hate having to take a pill every night, and would like to allow my body to be artificial hormone free, but that just is not going to work for me.

I have been on and off bc from the time I was 14 (originally started using it for contraception back then). was off it for a little while and right around the time I started taking it again (when I was  17) I found out I was pg. Then I went off it again when I was single and not dating any one, or would use a condom for hook ups. Went back on when I met my husband, ended up pg with our son and was off for almost two years (obviously, lol) was hoping I'd be off for the rest of my life, but after getting my tubes tied is when I found out I had endometriosis and needed prozac. LOL. PS, I'm almost 27 now.

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This is is a somewhat late addition to your post, but i found  it while searching for info on long term use of birth control pills as a treatment for endometriosis. After years of painful periods (and the loss of 2 jobs due to missing work), i was diagnosed with endo at about age 29 via laproscopy. Doc determined that i was not a good candidate for surgery due to the placement of the endo so he started me on 2 years of danazol, putting me in a chemical menopause. Stopped my periods and therefore stopped the endo pain, but i had a lot of hot flashes.

Then started taking ortho-novum 1/35 continuously (skipping the sugar pills so no period at all), and have done that for at least 22 years. No problems with that whatsoever, altho about 2-3 times i did start having some minor bleeding. Doc told me to double up on the pills for a couple of days till the bleeding stopped, which it always did. No other problems at all from the long term use.

But now i'm 53, and wondering if i should be menopausal? Mother had hysterectomy at 50 for fibroids, and grandmother never talked about it, so i have absolutely no family history to go on. I stopped taking the pills in 2/2012, and had no hot flashes, no periods, no adverse impacts at all (including no impact on my thankfully healthy libido, which may be thanks to my wonderful boyfriend). But then after 6 months, i had a mild period which inconveniently showed up on the first vacation i took with my boyfriend.  No endo pain, just inconvenient (and I had forgotten how to 'manage' a period since it had been so long). Then another period showed up in September 2012, and this was as bad as any I ever had as a teenager...heavy heavy flow and pain needing Lortab, had to either work from home or miss work time.

Now i have another bad period going here in early December just as bad as the one in September. Instead of periods becoming less frequent as i would expect with menopause, they are becoming more frequent with all the old endo symptoms. I am seriously considering going back on the pill for another year and then trying to go off again.

i did have hormone tests in October (week-long saliva test) which showed I have extremely high levels of all 3 types of estrogen and testosterone, with low-normal levels of progesterone. Cant find any info on what this means. Is it just me, or is it left over from the long term use of the BC pills?

Anyway, thanks for reading this. I wanted to put my story out there because maybe there is someone else like me searching for similar information. I do have an appt with a new gyno next January, but I dont expect much based on my past experience with gynos. One actually told me that 'pain was just part of being a woman'! and my diagnosing gyno has long ago retired.

thanks, cathy



When I first started into menopause, my periods came more frequently. This occurred for about a year. Pissed me off greatly. In the last year I missed a few months and then would have 2 or 3 in a row a couple of times. The flow was heavier than I ever experienced when younger. I have even experienced some cramping, which I never ever experienced when younger. My doctor said all of this is normal for menopause. You probably need to talk to your doctor about this.

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Thanks, catwalker. I have an appt at the end of next January (earliest i could get) and I will be talking to her about all this. I appreciate your reply, i had never heard about periods coming more frequently during menopause transition!


being on any medication for years is potentially damaging.

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duh, but not helpful. it kept me from having a hysterectomy.

did you see where i had lost 2 jobs before due to the pain?

my body, my science experiment.

i also drive in Atlanta traffic. Which is riskier?

Original Post by cathy5878:

duh, but not helpful. it kept me from having a hysterectomy.

did you see where i had lost 2 jobs before due to the pain?

my body, my science experiment.

i also drive in Atlanta traffic. Which is riskier?

defensive much?

i didn't read your post. i was responding to the OP's question.

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