Sunday, September 24, 2023

Supplements To Take After Stopping Hormonal Birth Control

Nutrition Tips To Support Your Post


Discontinuing hormonal birth control can cause some less-than-desired symptoms. That’s why having a post-pill plan is important.

Stopping the birth control pill can be a daunting and scary thing – however, it is also an incredible powerful and empowering choice to make. Many women have relied on the pill for years for our own personal reasons and quitting can catalyze understandable anxieties –

Will I lose my period?

Will I gain weight?

Will I still be able to get pregnant?

Will my hormones be all out of whack?

These thoughts are all valid, and you have probably even heard other women report some of these side effects. However, the more you know regarding your body and the pill, the more you can prepare yourself to reduce the risk of side effects post-pill.

Q: What About Coming Off The Iud

A: The IUD – or as you may know it – the Merina, may cause you to have similar side effects as those experienced when coming off the pill. The Merina contains synthetic progestin so once removed, your body may struggle with the lack of progesterone and it may take some time for your body to start producing progesterone naturally again. Due to this, you may notice symptoms such as mood changes, anxiety, depression, fatigue, etc. Bleeding and cramping for a few days following the removal of the IUD may also be experienced.

By following the same protocol given above will give your body the best chance to naturally start producing progesterone once again by ensuring regular ovulation is occurring. Q: Why does the pill cause depression/mood disturbances in many women?

A: The pill contains synthetic estrogen and progestin which have been linked with increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Side Effects After Stopping Birth Control

Here are some common side effects after stopping the birth control pill. Notice I listed mine above, however everyone is different. You may have a lot of side effects or very few. Keep in mind that if you have symptoms before birth control, there is a good chance those symptoms will be coming back after stopping birth control.

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How To Come Off Hormonal Birth Control

Youre ready. You suspect hormonal birth control is no longer right for your body, and you have a sinking feeling it never was.

Of course, you have questions about the process of coming off birth control. What will happen to your skin? Will you get your period? Which natural treatments can you use to make it all go as smoothly as possible?

I cant offer you a one-size-fits-all list of recommendations for coming off the pill. But I can tell you what I would do if you were my patient.

I would first ask what your periods were like before you took birth control. Im not talking about your pill bleedsbecause theyre not periods. Im talking about your real periodsthe ones you had ten years ago before you started the pill. For example, were your real periods regular? Were they heavy or painful? Did your skin break out? Because those problems have not gone away. They have merely been masked by the pill, and they are about to re-emerge.

Your plan is to address those pre-pill problems. Lets look at four scenarios.

How To Stop Taking Birth Control Pills Without Getting Pregnant

Birth Control Pills To Stop Period

If you dont want to get pregnant straight away, you should consider other birth control options you can use when you stop taking the birth control pill or other hormonal methods. There are a few non-hormonal birth control options available, including Natural Cycles, the copper IUD and condoms. Its important to remember that no method of birth control is 100% effective so with any method there will always be a risk of unintended pregnancy.

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Multivitamin And Mineral Complex

I recommend all women on hormonal contraception take a multivitamin and mineral supplement every day because the artificial hormones increase your bodies need for nutrients. If you arent already taking a multivitamin and mineral then I suggest you start. This will help restore your nutrient levels and help with hormone balance, energy and general wellbeing.

How Many Women Start The Pill

Maybe you started taking birth control for its intended use to prevent pregnancy. And maybe your doctor told you that your mild acne would resolve as an added benefit. Or maybe your periods were so heavy and so painful, your doctor felt this was the only choice. In truth, sometimes birth control is the best choice for endometriosis, seriously heavy periods, or PMDD.

Or maybe, and this is the one that really displeases me, your periods were irregular, you had acne, difficulty losing weight, hair loss or growing hair in unusual places and your doctor started you on birth control and told you that you could figure out what was going on when you wanted to become pregnant.

Women are passed the pill at such a high frequency that things like PCOS, endometriosis and autoimmune disease are often left undiscovered, undiagnosed and untreated. And sadly, sometimes they find out only when they are ready to have children that they have a condition that makes it so much harder.

Your symptoms have a root cause. And while hormone symptoms suck, understand that birth control won’t fix them.

Sure, maybe your periods and skin get better, but the cause of your period problems isn’t addressed by birth control.

Birth control was designed to deliver you enough hormones to shut down your reproductive function. Yes, hormones that suppress your body and therefore, can’t fix the true issue.

Got heavy periods? Could it be thyroid disease or anemia?

Women deserve better. You deserve better.

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Mood Swings & Anxiety After Stopping Birth Control

Let’s not forget that for as long as you’re on the birth control pill, your brain and your ovaries aren’t talking, so it’s to be expected when you ditch that pill that they’re going to take some time to come back online and start communicating again. And as they start talking again, there may be some ups and downs in your mood. This could result in symptoms of anxiety after stopping birth control.

Your body has been dealing with a combination of inflammation, blocked ovulation and nutrient depletionsany one of which can lead to mood issues.

Ive seen women in my clinical practice have symptoms that vary from anxiety and debilitating panic attacks to feeling depressed and falling out of love with their life all while on the pill.

It might feel scary to come off the pill, but listen, you can do a hell of a lot more for your mood off the pill than you can on the pill. For however long you’re on it, it’s depleting nutrients, creating inflammation and doing a whole lot of things that are going to mess with your mood.

I recommend women work with a counselor or mental health specialist if they are experience extreme ups and downs with their mood and anxiety after stopping birth control. Leveraging a mental health expert alongside a Naturopathic or Functional Medicine Doctor can help you get ample support in breaking up with these hormones and rediscovering you off of hormones.

Ensure Enough Carb And Calorie Consumption

Quit The Pill Successfully – Tips for Balancing Hormones After Birth Control Pills

This is one of the most difficult recommendations for many of my clients, as frequently those dealing with post-birth control syndrome are also trying to lose weight. And more often than not, their weight loss attempt includes reducing their food intake and cutting down on carbohydrates.

While this strategy may help with short-term weight loss, its definitely not conducive to hormonal health to significantly limit food intake in this way. Its a well-known phenomenon in the medical world, called the female athlete triad, where women undereat and overtrain so much that they lose their menstrual function, and even put themselves at risk for osteoporosis.

Many women face hormonal imbalances if they are overly restrictive with food intake, and Ive worked with many patients who have lost their menstrual function after switching to a low-carb Paleo diet. Its not the Paleo diet that is the issue per se, but those who switch to Paleo often get stuck in an overly restrictive, low-carbohydrate approach that does not support healthy endocrine function through various effects on the hypothalamuspituitaryadrenal axis and thyroid hormone conversion.

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Why Is There Controversy

While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that people can experience unwanted side effects when stopping birth control, there are no scientific studies to confirm the syndrome is a real medical condition.

Due to the lack of research, there is some controversy about whether the condition is real. More research is needed to investigate the potential legitimacy of this syndrome.

Reestablish Your Natural Hormonal Rhythm By Charting Your Cycles

Your hormones fluctuate during different times of your cycle. There are four phases of the menstrual cycle :

  • Menstruation Estrogen begins to increase and progesterone is low.

  • Follicular Phase- Estrogen peaks, progesterone is low.

  • Ovulation Estrogen begins to fall and progesterone peaks.

  • Luteal Phase Both estrogen and progesterone dip.

  • Even if you are not yet ovulating on your own, it is important to encourage the production of estrogen and progesterone at the right times of the month. This will help you eventually start to ovulate on your own.

    Two methods to further reestablish natural hormonal rhythms:

  • Seed cycling. Seed cycling is one of the simplest and most effective holistic remedies for balancing hormones.This ancient technique helps restore the balance of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone by rotating certain seeds into your diet during the two different phases of your menstrual cycle .

  • Vitex-Vitex, also known as chaste berry, is an herb that promotes ovulation by protecting your hypothalamus gland from stress and from preventing your pituitary gland from making too much prolactin. Basically, it increases your levels of dopamine, which lowers your levels of prolactin, which makes your luteinizing hormone go up, and then makes you ovulate and make progesterone!

  • A note of caution about Vitex: Please do not use vitex until youve been off of hormonal birth control for at least three months.

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    Start Charting And Get Your Hormones Tested

    I would start charting as soon as you stop taking the pill. Take notes and keep track of any and all symptoms in an app or in a journal, as well as when bleeding starts and stops. Do you feel cramping mid-cycle? That could mean you are ovulating which is a great sign that your body is working to get back into balance!

    3 months after quitting the pill, it may be worth it to get your hormones tested, if you are curious to know where your levels are at. Its a great time to test nutrient levels too (you must ask for a FULL blood panel with iron, all the b vitamins, zinc, etc., otherwise they wont test them.

    There are at-home hormone testing kits that make it super convenient and easy to see where you are at. This information will guide you in accessing steps to take depending on what imbalances you may have. I use the Womens Health and Fertility Test from EverlyWell to see where Im at for peace of mind! You can then bring the results to your doctor or naturopath so they can help guide you in steps to take.

    How Do Hormonal Contraceptives Work

    What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control

    Hormonal birth control, or hormonal contraceptives, are any form of birth control that contain synthetic hormones. This includes the pill, implants, non-copper IUDs, shots, patches, and vaginal rings. These birth control methods work by releasing synthetic hormones into the body: either a combination of estrogen and progestin, or progestin only. Simply put, these synthetic hormones tell our brain to shut down ovulation. And no ovulation = no pregnancy.

    Understanding that this is not the typical way our body wants to work in a natural state can give insight into why women experience side effects while taking the pill and other hormonal birth control methods, and especially after discontinuing use.

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    Birth Control And Zinc Deficiency

    Zinc is present in many body cells and is important for boosting the bodys immunity. According to the World Health Organization, zinc deficiency is seen in almost 31% of the population.

    The changes in the body due to the external intake of estrogen via oral contraceptive use may increase the bodys utilization of zinc and lower the zinc carried in the blood.

    While not all studies report on zinc deficiency, most of them have shown that even a small dose of birth control pills decreases zinc levels. As well, the reduction is associated with the duration of oral contraceptive use.

    Zinc deficiency during pregnancy may result in growth retardation, stillbirth, and preterm delivery. Zinc supplements may thus be useful to support women on birth control pills.

    Why Does Acne Flare After Stopping The Pill

    First, lets better understand post-pillacne and why it occurs.

    As we mentioned, certain hormonalcontraceptives like the pill reduce sebum production. This is the natural oilthe skin produces, keeping our complexions protected and hydrated.

    But too much of it can contribute to thedreaded acne. Once you quit the pill, your skin responds by increasing sebumproduction and thus resulting in oily skin and more breakouts.

    Thats not just it. The pill affects ourbodys capabilities to produce its own natural hormones.

    One way it keeps acne at bay is by reducingandrogen levels, like testosterone, circulating in the blood.

    When you give up birth control, yourovaries try to return hormone levels to normal, which may lead to an androgenrebound.

    Likewise, with higher levels of androgens,we get a sebum increase causing oily skin and breakouts.

    Another cause of post-pill acne is zincdepletion. The pill depletes many essential nutrients, including zinc, which isvital for healthy skin and is a popular treatment for breakouts.

    Zinc reduces bacteria lingering on the skinthat can contribute to breakouts. A zinc deficiency caused by long-term pilluse may contribute to post-pill acne.

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    On Birth Control 8 Ways To Fix Hormonal Imbalance

    Popping those tiny birth control pills every day usually goes one way or another for womenit either clicks and makes you feel like youre on hormonal cruise control, or it turns you into an emotional and physical wreck. Choosing the right birth control method is a personal choice for everyone, and there are pros and cons to consider before committing to a method.

    Replace Nutrients Depleted By The Pill

    The 2 supplements that RESTORED my period after birth control

    Studies have shown that the pill can deplete many essential nutrients in the body, which can contribute to unpleasant symptoms. The most notable deficiencies brought on by the pill include a variety of the B vitamins , magnesium, zinc, and the antioxidants selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. To help counteract this, it is super important to highlight these nutrients consistently through food and to replete these nutrients via high quality supplementation as needed. Getting these nutrients from whole food sources is super important, but may not cover all of the bases or prevent deficiency so supplementation is still warranted. Always speak with your provider before supplementing.

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    When To See A Fertility Specialist

    If youre under 35 and have been trying to conceive for 1 year or more without success, talking with a fertility specialist may be beneficial .

    According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, evaluation and treatment from a fertility specialist may also be recommended after 6 months of trying to conceive for women over 35 and even sooner for women over 40 .

    You may also want to consider consulting a fertility specialist if you or your partner (

    • has had three or more miscarriages
    • has difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
    • has irregular periods, a heavy period, or no periods
    • has a history of sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea

    For more information on when to see a fertility specialist and what to expect during your visit, check out this article.

    Benefits Of Birth Control

    Any gynecologist will tell youhormones are powerful stuff, and the hundreds of formulations on the market prove its not one-size-fits-all science. The benefits are great, of course: Pregnancy prevention, acne reduction, menstrual cycle regulation, not to mention the convenience.

    • Pregnancy prevention: When taken consistently , birth control pills are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Its most reliable when you take the pill at the same time every day, so choose a time when itll be easy to incorporate into your routine .
    • Acne reduction: Acne forms when hormones called androgens create sebum, an oil made by your skin. Too much sebum leads to clogged pores and bacterial growth, and ultimately creates acne. Birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone are believed to help reduce androgens, leading to clearer skin for some women.
    • Menstrual cycle regulation: Birth control pills were once offered with 21 days of active hormone pills and seven days of inactive pills. While that formula is still common, there are even more options today, including 24 days of active pills, and extended-cycle regimens for longer stretches between bleeds.

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    When To See A Doctor About Anxiety After Stopping Hormonal Birth Control

    You should see a doctor if your anxiety lasts for longer than a few months after stopping hormonal contraceptives, if lifestyle measures do not ease your symptoms, or if your anxiety is severe enough to interfere with normal daily activities.

    Your doctor will assess your health and symptoms and suggest treatment options like self-help strategies, medication, or talking therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy . They might also refer you to a psychiatrist.

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