Saturday, February 24, 2024

How To Balance Hormones After Birth Control

Concerns With Using The Pill For Hormone Balance

How To Balance Hormones – hormone balance supplements

Science Based Amy Myers, MD

Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MD®.

Picture this scenario: a 15 year-old girl walks into her doctors office complaining of acne and painful, irregular periods. Her doctor is quick to write a prescription for birth control pills, telling her that it will support hormone balance, regulate her menstrual cycle, and stop the acne. While on the medication, her skin clears and her periods are regular and pain-free, shes thrilled and remains on the pill without a second thought of long-term effects. That is until years later when she tries to start a family.

In another case, a woman in her late 30s or early 40s is experiencing perimenopausal symptoms of mood swings, irregular bleeding, hot flashes, and night sweats. Her OB/GYN wants to put her on a birth control pill to alleviate her symptoms instead of working to figure out the root cause of her hot flashes and mood changes.

How To Get My Normal Hormone Levels Back After Birth Control

When you are taking birth control, there are certain hormones that begin affecting your body. You have to get your hormones back to balance by being sure you are getting all the proper nutrition in the areas that the pill was depriving you of. Birth control affects your levels of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B2, folic acid, and zinc. You may take a supplement that is rich in these vitamins and or add in whole foods to your diet that give you the complete benefits of these vitamins. During this process of getting your hormones back in line you will want to be sure you are getting proper sleep, nutrients and sadly cutting out caffeine. That means you will want to find an alternative to your daily cup of coffee. Coffee is connected to aggravating PMS symptoms which only leads to an increase in pain. If youre looking for additional ways on how to regulate hormones after stopping birth control try doing the following:

  • Get a good nights sleep
  • Eliminate alcohol
  • Eat a balanced diet

Follow the 80/20 rule when treating unbalanced hormones symptoms while going through birth control withdrawal. This means doing a minimum of 80% of these things and you can cheat with 20% slacking on certain areas. This way your entire body is not affected. Keep in mind, the quicker you want to get your hormones back to balance, the more strict you will be with following these methods.

Natural Ways To Balance Hormones Post Birth Control

Women opt to stop taking birth control for many reasons, whether they are trying to conceive, tired of taking a pill every day, balancing hormones, or for other personal reasons. Whatever the reason, we want to support you with all the evidence-based information so you know exactly what to expect.

This article will discuss changes and symptoms you may experience after the pill, beneficial lab testing to monitor hormones, and how you can support your body as hormones balance out.

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How Do Birth Control Pills Work

There are two types of birth control pills: combination and progesterone-only. Combination pills contain synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone, while progesterone-only pills contain progesterone without estrogen. Lets discuss how each type of hormone replacement therapy works to prevent pregnancy.

So What Is A Pill Bleed

How to Balance Your Hormones After Birth Control

Pill bleeds are pharmaceutically induced bleeds that involve no hormone production on your end at all. So all of the “periods” you had while on hormonal birth control were just for show. Let me repeat, these “periods” were completely fake .

Shocking, right?

When a women ovulates without the use of hormonal birth control, she creates progesterone and estradiol. These hormones have a multitude of benefits for your mood, bones, thyroid and metabolism. They’re pretty much essential for a women’s physiology. This means that women who take a form of hormonal birth control are robbed of these crucial hormones that keep us healthy and happy.

This epidemic of females on hormonal birth control is one of the largest injustices to women’s health today, and it’s no wonder many females who take a form of hormonal birth control experience depression.

In October 2016 JAMA psychiatry released a study conducted by researches from the University of Copenhagen. In the study, titled “Association of Hormonal Contraception With Depression” they tracked one million women over the course of 13 years and concluded that women who use hormonal birth control are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with depression .

The fact that hormonal birth control is the most widely used form of contraception used today is infuriating. The practice is antiquated, and it’s time this harmful trend comes to an end.

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How To Balance Hormones Naturally

1. Swap Carbs for Healthy Fats

Foods that balance hormones include a variety of fat-containing foods that provide short, medium and long-chain fatty acids. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol.

Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.

Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.

My four favorite sources of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats include:

  • coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon.
  • Coconut oil uses are plentiful for example, coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial and fat-burning effects.
  • Avocado benefits include improving heart health, lowering inflammation, controlling your appetite and contributing to your daily intake of fiber and nutrients such as potassium.
  • Salmon nutrition is also impressive: its one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and help with cognitive functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are a large component of brain-cell membranes and are important for cell-to-cell communication in the brain. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids help protect against hippocampal neuronal loss and reduce pro-inflammatory responses.

2. Supplement to Fill Nutritional Voids

3. Address Emotional Imbalances

Weve Come A Long Way Babyand

Women fought long and hard for access to contraception so that they and we could have more control over our reproductive health. The problem is that the pill, while very liberating in many ways, can also have significant and serious unintended consequences. It creates a very specific set of hormonal imbalances that can have short- and long-run consequences. Pill-imposed hormonal changes also mean it can take some time to restore your own natural hormonal cycles after the pill, or establish a new healthy hormonal equilibrium if yours wasnt in balance in the first place which may be why you first started the pill.

References

Boyoung, Park & Jeongseon Kim. Oral Contraceptive Use, Micronutrient Deficiency, and Obesity among Premenopausal Females in Korea: The Necessity of Dietary Supplements and Food Intake Improvement. PLoS One, June 27, 2016.

Demiroren, K, Dogan Y, Kocamaz H, Ozercan IH, Ilhan S, Ustundag B, Bahcecioglu, IH.

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What Clinical Treatments Are Available

Hormonal medication is the only clinical treatment likely to make a big difference.

If youre adamant you dont want to return to birth control, your doctor can still help with symptoms.

Usually, your doctor will first test your blood for hormonal imbalances.

Once assessed, they will then advise you of various ways to alter your lifestyle.

This may include activity changes and supplement recommendations, along with referrals to other practitioners, like a nutritionist.

Specific symptoms can have their own specific treatments. Acne, for example, can be treated with prescription-strength medications.

It Doesn’t Hurt To Plan Ahead

How I Balance My Hormones Naturally | PCOS, Miscarriages, Fertility Diet

If you know you want to go off birth control in the near future, you can actually help kick-start the hormonal process now, says Nayak. “I usually tell the women I work with to prepare to come off of birth control by putting in place foods, herbs, and nutrients that will support the detoxification of the synthetic hormones, as well as support the return to natural production and cycling of the body’s own hormones,” she says. “When preparing ahead of time, the transition can go smoothly and one can avoid major symptoms and side effects.”

So start filling up on cruciferous veggies now, as well as eliminating stress from your life as best you can. Some supplements and herbs like maca are also shown to help support hormonal balance and alleviate PMS symptoms, though you should check with your doc before including them in your routine for the first time. And on that note

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Eat Foods That Balance Your Hormones Naturally

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in fiber, which feeds your good gut bacteria. Research shows that a friendly gut flora may play an important part in helping your body process and eliminate excess estrogen so you can avoid estrogen dominance and reduce your risk of hormone-dependent cancers such as breast, ovarian, and endometrial.

Whats more, eating foods that are rich in vitamin C such as cherries, strawberries, and broccoli can help maintain hormone balance. Vitamin C is essential for creating and regulating estrogen and progesterone. It can also enhance the effects of hormone replacement therapy and work alongside estrogen to promote bone growth, which is particularly important for postmenopausal women whoa re at an increased risk of osteoporosis due to low estrogen.

How Does The Pill Change Hormone Cycles

The pill works by releasing steady doses of estrogen with no peak levels, so the ovaries dont receive a signal to release an egg. The pill also delivers a regular dose of progesterone to prevent the growth of the uterine lining. This means that not only is an egg not released, but the uterus becomes inhospitable to implantation.

Some pill packs include placebo pills that are taken during the final week of a cycle to induce a bleed. This is referred to as withdrawal bleeding because it is the bodys reaction to a loss of hormones. When the placebo pills are not taken, and pill packets are taken back to back, hormone levels remain steady which can help prevent mood swings.

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The Problems With Taking Birth Control Pills

At this point, regulating hormone balance by taking the pill may seem like a good thing, right? Well, as with any medication, taking the pill can cause harmful side effects and disrupt your hormone balance, especially for those with autoimmune or thyroid conditions.

The main issue with birth control pills is that instead of natural estrogen, they contain synthetic estrogen, which is actually ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone. This does not provide a natural hormone balance. Instead, these synthetic hormones are not recognized or broken down by the body the same way natural estrogen is.

Taking the pill can disrupt your natural hormone balance, since they keep estrogen levels artificially high, which has a ripple effect across your endocrine system. These factors can cause a whole myriad of health issues including:

Start By Scrutinizing Your Diet And Stress Levels

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Anything from alcohol to sugar can throw your entire endocrine system out of whack, so if you’re looking to find balance, it might be worth sticking to veggies, protein, and whole grains for a time. “One of the main staples of any protocol addressing the weaning off of synthetic hormones is the need for a plant-forward diet,” says Nayak. ” cruciferous vegetables, particularly dark and leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, etc. These contain phytochemical that aid in the detoxification of hormones in your gut.”

The stress hormone cortisol can also directly impact the production of sex hormones, so it’s important to consider anything that might be causing unnecessary anxiety in your life. Logging gentle workouts, spending time outdoors, and getting enough sleep are easy ways to curb your cortisol levels.

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Establish Your Menstrual Cycle

Reestablishing your menstrual cycle after taking hormonal birth control is critical to balancing your hormones. This is also true if youve always struggled with an irregular menstrual cycle. Establishing a consistent menstrual cycle is a sign that your bodys hormones are doing what theyre supposed to an irregular, missing, or overly heavy menstrual cycle is a sign your hormones are out of whack.

This step should only come after the first two steps have been thoroughly implemented. A few other ways you can help establish your menstrual cycle are by avoiding hormone-disrupting chemicals in your personal care products, reducing your stress levels, and monitoring your sleep and exercise.

The Four Phases Of The Menstrual Cycle

What happens during each menstrual cycle? High-level, an egg develops and is released from the ovaries. If a pregnancy doesnt happen, the uterine lining sheds during a menstrual period. You bleed, and the cycle starts again. The four phases of the menstrual cycle are the menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulation phase, and luteal phase. The length of each phase can differ from woman to woman, and it can change over time.

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What Is The Difference Between Pms And Pmdd

For most women, PMS symptoms are mild and dont interrupt their day-to-day lives. On the other hand, PMDD is accompanied by symptoms that are intense enough to create disruptions to ones daily life.

A doctor will need to establish a pattern of symptoms to determine if PMDD is present. Other physical or psychiatric symptoms that can mimic its symptoms will also need to be ruled out.

What Your Symptoms Were Like Before Going On Birth Control

HOW TO BALANCE HORMONES NATURALLY || For Hormonal Acne, PCOS, Endometriosis, Coming off the pill!

Your purpose of going on birth control is important because it is different for everyone and can determine how long for your hormones to balance after stopping birth control. Some women go on birth control for hormone management to help with painful periods, some for regulating their cycle, some for contraception, but others may go on birth control to regulate their hormonal acne or other non-contraceptive reasons. When birth control use stops, these symptoms from prior can return and may become worse for a certain amount of time before hormones regulate again.

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Cut Out Inflammatory Foods

Food is medicine, straight up. Most doctors wont admit it, but diet has a huge role to play in your health and coming off the pill is no exception. There are certain inflammatory foods that can create chaos in the body and should be avoided at this time. Dairy, soy and gluten are the main three I recommend kicking to the curb.

Dairy can be full of hormones and toxins that act as endocrine disruptors and create inflammation in the body. Not to mention lactose, casein, and whey are notorious food allergies for many people and tax the bodys digestive system and gut health.

Soy is controversial, but there is evidence showing soy can act as an endocrine disruptor due to its estrogenic properties. Soy is also the largest GMO crop in the world, which means finding a clean source is near impossible.

Gluten. Its everyones favorite nutritional buzzword, but that is for a reason. Many people cannot digest gluten properly and even if you can, it still loosens the tight junctions in your intestinal wall that keeps invaders from entering your bloodstream. And once they do, boom, inflammation.

What The Pill Does To Your Hormones

Oral contraceptives impose a very specific type of hormonal control over the body. While they can regulate our cycles and control many hormonal symptoms, they do so by suppressing our natural cycles of ovulation, menstruation, and hormonal fluctuation. Placebo pills for the last 5 days of the cycle lead to a breakthrough bleed, not a true menstrual period. If youre on a complete suppressive plan, you may menstruate as infrequently as every 3 to 12 months, depending on the type of pill youre taking and these too are breakthrough bleeds, not real periods.

You can experience post-pill symptoms whether youve been on the pill for a couple months or many years, though in my experience, women whove been on for several or more years and certainly those on it for close to or over a decade, which is incredibly common are more likely to experience more pronounced hormonal imbalances when they come off the pill.

If you went on the pill to address acne or an irregular cycle, the pill may have simply buried your symptoms. When you come off the pill, theres a good chance that youre still dealing with those same imbalances, which may have gotten more pronounced over time because the Root Causes werent addressed..

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Ensure That You Are Taking In Enough Energy

Under-eating is closely linked to hormonal imbalances, which can make the side effects of the pill worse. Not eating enough can be both intentional, such as during restrictive eating as a means to lose weight, or unintentional , such as being a result of being so physically active that your energy intake doesnt keep up. It is super important to make sure you are eating a well balanced diet that is adequate in fiber rich carbohydrates and includes a variety of food groups. Following strict/rigid diet trends during this time is not recommended.

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