According to the Center for Disease Control, over 62% of adult women in the United States use contraception. Birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, are among the most common forms. Regardless of the controversies that can often surround contraceptives like this, many people use birth control for much more than just avoiding pregnancy.
There are multiple reasons to take birth control, but you probably won’t always be on it. Most people understand that with any medication, there are risks and side effects involved. However, we don’t often think about the side effects that might occur once we stop taking medication.
When it comes to oral contraceptives, stopping regular use can sometimes create issues for some women. One of those unfortunate side effects is a dry, itchy scalp. You may not even associate the two at first, but if you’re experiencing a dry scalp right after you’ve stopped taking birth control, it’s likely they are linked.
Itchy skin after stopping birth control isn’t uncommon. Understanding why it happens is important, so you can use the right methods to fight back against it and find relief. Once you understand some of the other common side effects of birth control pill withdrawal, it might be easier to make the distinction as to why a dry scalp is occurring.
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We will focus on some of the common symptoms of withdrawal. That includes, of course, an itchy scalp. Not all women will experience withdrawal symptoms the same. However, being able to associate these symptoms with coming off the pill can make it easier to treat them.
We’ll also cover how birth control works, in general. While it is associated mostly with pregnancy prevention, there are many different uses and benefits that people regularly use it for. Knowing how and why it works so well in different situations can also explain why it causes potential side effects when you stop using it.
Most people know that birth control affects the hormones naturally produced by the body. Hormones can be blamed for everything from acne on your face to the amount of hunger you face each day. There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding hormones (teenage growth spurts, pregnant women’s mood swings, etc.), but they do account for more than you might think.
Birth control pills can be considered ‘hormone regulators’ in many ways, and not just to prevent pregnancy. They work to inhibit certain cyclical hormones the body naturally produces. While this does help to lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, it also can be effective for a variety of different conditions.
Let’s take a look at some common conditions people use birth control pills for that have nothing to do with preventing pregnancy.
The hormone regulation properties of birth control pills are used in a variety of different ways. Often, they will help people dealing with pain or other hormonal issues that can affect their everyday lives in negative ways.
Some of the most popular uses for oral contraceptives include:
These are just a few of the reasons women take birth control other than preventing pregnancy. With so many people on the pill for so many different reasons, it’s necessary to know as much about what it does as possible.
Again, as with most medications, there are symptoms to consider and potential side effects of taking birth control. When it comes to your hair, scalp, and skin, there are certain things you might experience while on the pill.
The effect birth control pills can have on your scalp can either be positive or negative. Unfortunately, this varies from person to person, so there is no way to tell ahead of time the effect an oral contraceptive may have on you.
One of the biggest positives oral contraceptives can have on your hair and scalp is helping to prevent or limit certain types of hair loss. Hair thinning due to high follicle sensitivity can typically be reversed with birth control pills.
Unfortunately, there are some negatives to consider as well. Certain types of contraceptive pills can promote hair loss in women. This is again due to certain sensitivities of your hair follicles. Birth control pills can also slow down or prevent your body’s natural production of sebum. Your scalp naturally makes sebum, which gives your hair its shine and keeps your skin and hair healthy.
While sebum buildup isn’t a good thing, it also isn’t good to prevent sebum production altogether. If you already have naturally dry skin, slowing down sebum production can contribute to a dry, itchy scalp.
For most women, you won’t know how birth control pills affect your skin and hair until you start to take them regularly. Some people will experience positive effects, while others may experience some drawbacks.
Just as symptoms can occur when you’re taking an oral contraceptive, they can also run rampant if you get off of the pill. You should always make sure to work with your doctor if you want to get off birth control. Some pills may require a gradual weaning off, or side effects could become worse. It’s never a good idea to just ‘quit’ this type of medication without medical approval first.
If you’ve been on birth control regularly, stopping can cause several issues. Again, these side effects don’t necessarily happen to everyone. But, some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:
If you had certain conditions before getting on birth control, they will likely still be there when you get off it. Your body will need to adjust its hormone levels back to normal, but it won’t necessarily ‘fix’ what issues you may have had to begin with. Oral contraceptives keep these conditions in check, but they don’t cure them.
There are alternatives to consider for almost any of the conditions listed here. If you’re adamant about getting off birth control, seek out other options to help manage and monitor the conditions that could be causing you problems.
Another common side effect of coming off the pill is a dry scalp. As stated above, birth control pills can have a strong effect on your skin. The pills themselves can stop the production of sebum, which can lead to dry skin and an itchy scalp. So, you might think to go off the pill would fix that problem. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
When you do stop taking birth control, your body needs time for your hormones to re-adjust. If you’ve been on the pill for a long time, your body may have essentially ‘turned off’ certain hormone production. This can cause your scalp to become itchy, and may lead to hair loss and thinning.
Another thing to consider is what your skin was like before you got on the pill. If you had oily, greasy skin, that is likely to return. Most people associate an itchy scalp with dryness, but that isn’t always the case. If your scalp hasn’t been producing a lot of sebum while on the pill and suddenly starts to again, it could cause a buildup of sebum.
Not only can this type of buildup cause issues like dandruff and flaking, but it can make your scalp extremely itchy. If you spend too much time scratching at your scalp, it could lead to hair loss or even cuts on the skin, which could increase your risk for infection.
You may wonder why so many of these unsightly symptoms start to show up after you’ve gotten off the pill. Hair loss is a perfect example. Yes, many people experience hair loss once they stop taking birth control. There are two major reasons for this:
Other symptoms that the thyroid may not be working correctly after stopping birth control include:
If you think your hair loss after quitting the pill could be a thyroid issue, it may require medication to get things back on track. You can also try some ‘home remedies’ for firing up your thyroid again, such as:
As you can see, there are several symptoms of birth control pill withdrawal to keep in mind as you transition away from it. Most of the symptoms and side effects will be a result of your body returning to a ‘normal’ state, and conditions you experienced before.
So, how can you make the process easier on yourself and your body? There may not be a way to completely prevent the risk of all the symptoms listed in this article. However, there are some steps you can take to make the transition a bit easier on your overall health.
Use these tips to feel better about your natural hormones, and limit the risk of harmful side effects:
These simple tips will make transitioning off birth control just a little easier and less hard on your body. If you continue to experience some of the negative side effects and symptoms listed earlier, you may need to supplement hormonal development a different way.
If you do experience an itchy scalp after you’ve stopped taking birth control, you probably don’t want to get on a different type of medication to fix it. Thankfully, there are effective natural ways to cure an itchy scalp.
First, you can try a natural itchy scalp shampoo like Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Scalp Treatment. This product focuses on the natural healing power of tea tree oil to cure dry scalp and prevent itching.
Whether you’re experiencing dry skin or a buildup of sebum, it’s important to choose natural hair care products after getting off the pill. Hair products with chemicals can cause irritation and product buildup. Both of these factors can contribute to itching and potential hair loss.
Other natural ways to stop an itchy scalp fast include:
There are dozens of home remedies and over-the-counter products specifically designed to fix a dry, itchy scalp. The more natural solutions you can choose to get your scalp healthy again, the better. Remember, your body may have a hard time adjusting its hormone levels on its own for awhile. Choosing one of these effective solutions is a great way to get your scalp back to a healthy state.
The symptoms and side effects of being on birth control are different for everyone. The symptoms and side effects of going off the pill are just as different and varied. Some people may experience side effects that cause a lot of irritation and inconvenience. Others may be able to transition away from the pill with very few problems.
A lot of the issues that come from getting off the pill have to do with conditions you may have had before you started it. If you started birth control to manage an underlying health issue, don’t be surprised if that issue returns once you stop.
Of course, additional side effects like an itchy scalp are not uncommon even if you didn’t have any issues before starting the pill. It takes time for your body to readjust its natural hormonal levels. That can cause strange symptoms for anyone. The good news is that things should balance out over time if you didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. If they don’t, you may need to consider certain lifestyle changes to manage your hormone levels.
Millions of people all over the world take oral contraceptives for different reasons. However, many people choose to stop taking them for a variety of different reasons, too. There are risk factors for both. Understanding these factors and how they might affect you can make your decision on whether or not birth control is right for you an easier one.