DR. WALLACE: When I was 17, my mom and I went to the gynecologist and due to my heavy period flow, I was put on birth control.
I've been taking birth control for three years now, and I feel my period is under control; I don't have a boyfriend and would like to stop taking the pill.
I don't feel it's necessary to go to the doctor for this, but I was just wondering: What would happen to my body if I were to stop taking the pill? — Concerned, via email
CONCERNED: Birth control pills are made of synthetic compounds similar to the hormones produced within a female body. When taken regularly in the dosage prescribed by a physician, they prevent pregnancy by preventing the eggs from being released from the ovaries. Without a fertilized egg, pregnancy isn't possible.
There are a few changes your body may go through when you quit taking the pill, and of course, if you quit taking the pill, you could get pregnant if you end up having physical intimacy. It may take a few months for your body to adjust after quitting, during which time your cycle could be affected and your periods could be heavier and involve more cramping. PMS may return. You may also begin to have mid-month twinges when you begin to ovulate again. During this time, it's possible that your weight might go down and acne and unwanted hair might return for a period of time.
These are a few general things to consider, but of course the case for each individual person can differ. I suggest you visit your family doctor and ask as many questions as you would like so that you can get more complete, nuanced answers that will take into consideration your personal health history and body chemistry.
I'M TOO SHY FOR ZOOM
DR. WALLACE: I guess I consider myself an average teenager, but my problem has always been that I'm pretty shy.
In the past, I could gradually meet a few other girls in my homeroom class and begin to slowly start conversations with them. I actually made good friends with one girl this way, but sadly for me, her family moved out of our town a few months ago and I can no longer hang out with her.
Now, my problem is that most of our classes are held on Zoom video calls. Although I can follow the lessons carefully, I don't like to speak up too much since everybody's watching all at the same time.
It's very lonesome not having a close friend anymore, and I'm afraid I won't get a chance to interact with any other teen girls like me due to COVID-19. What can I do? — Lonesome Girl, via email
LONESOME GIRL: I understand she was your only close friend, but the good news is you should be able to make a few new friends soon. One of them may turn into a close friend, similar to your other friend who moved away.
I suggest that you directly contact your teacher after class hours and ask to be introduced to a study partner who your teacher feels would be suitable. You might even get a few names of fellow classmates. This will give you an opportunity to interact with other teen girls your age, and one of them may indeed become a close friend of yours over time.
Also, there appears to be a trend toward having our schools reopen at some point in the near future, so hopefully you will soon have an opportunity to meet some of your classmates in person again. For now, check in with the teachers of your various subjects, as I trust they will be a great resource for you in this regard.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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