Are there negative effects to going on and off the birth control pill if there are many months when you don’t need to be on the pill because you won’t be having sex?

There aren’t any negative health effects associated with going on and off birth control pills. But there are some other reasons why it’s often a good idea to stay on the pill, even if you’re not having sex. The pill can make your periods shorter, lighter, and more regular, and it can relieve cramps and some premenstrual syndromes. It can also offer protection against ovarian cysts and cancer. Staying on the pill even after your relationship ends (or you stop having sex regularly for whatever reason) is often a good idea, because you won’t have to worry about getting back on it when you start having sex again.

It can also take your body some time to adjust to going on or off the pill. It can take about three months for your body to get used to taking the birth control pill, and during those first few months you might experience some side effects, including spotting or irregular periods.  When you go off the pill, it can also take some time for your menstrual cycle to return to the way it was — so you also might notice some breakthrough bleeding or unpredictable periods for a couple months.

It’s totally up to you whether you stay on the pill, but for many women, the benefits alone are enough reason to take the pill even if they don’t need pregnancy protection.