For long, women have been made to believe that they just have to use birth control pills. They have been made to see these pills as the ultimate solution to about anything that you could think of. They have been told lots of half stories about the wonders of the pill. But the truth is, everyone deserves to know the full story before committing to any options, and not strung in because of misinformation or semi-formed information. Here is to giving you a choice, and to educate you on how to get off birth control pills. You are not just getting off, but you are doing it safely, in a way that you won’t further endanger yourself.
Which one is you?
What are you even talking about? Why would I even want to quit the pill? It benefits me in so many ways, I have regular, light periods. My skin glistens. I have control over my fertility.
Well, slow down, the essence of this is not to decide for you, but to empower you to make the best choice for yourself. Maybe after this, you will be persuaded to join the class of the 70% of millennials that have ditched or are considering getting off birth control pills.
I really want to stop, I’ve been having these quirky things, side effects as a result of the pill. There have been so many side effects of birth control pills, and they scare me. However, I am more scared of the other problems that I’ve heard will arise when I stop. Be cool, this article is for you too.
We are going to address these here and how to make a safe transition. For a better understanding of Post-Birth Control Syndrome(PBCS), what happens when you get off the pill, see here.
A Little Information about Hormonal Contraception and Birth Control Pills.
This article on the side effects of birth control pills will give you a better overview of hormonal contraception.
Briefly, hormonal contraception make use of synthetic, artificial hormones to take charge of your body’s hormonal regulatory processes. These man made hormones can be administered through IUDs, pills, patches on the skin, vaginal rings, etc. These methods all have varying durations for which they last and frequency at which they should be replaced. The bottom line is that, they all deliver hormones. The hormones are mainly estrogen and progestin.
The most relatively common, of course, is the birth control pill(BCP). While BCPs may be often referred to in this article, it is really referring to hormonal contraception generally.
Birth Control Pills are not only for birth control.
As it turns out, birth control pills are now prescribed for about anything related to hormonal disturbances. Even if you are not necessarily looking to control birth, you can find yourself placed on a birth control regimen. Other conditions/complaints, that might land you on a birth control regimen include:
- Menstrual cramps;
- Irregular or sporadic periods;
- Acne and other skin conditions;
- Unspecified hormonal symptoms;
- Headaches or migraines;
- Hair loss or abnormal pattern of hair growth;
- Premenstrual Syndrome(PMS), etc.
With all these, it is no surprise that a significant number of women are on birth control pills for reasons other than contraception. More specifically, 60% of all women on the pill are using using it for other reasons, and not birth control. That’s more than half! Does it mean there are no other options? Certainly not.
Maybe this wouldn’t even be so much of a problem. But it is. Why? The artificial hormones don’t solve the problem. They may mask the symptoms, but the actual causative issue persists. It is left to grow worse. Only the leaves are being trimmed, whereas the root is growing thicker and reaching further. The problem itself is thus advancing.
Now, the pill might have to be stopped eventually. For example, you might decide you want to have a baby. Unfortunately, that means stopping the pill. Stopping the pill means that your body’s regulator, the pill, has to be taken off. And this causes a myriad of problems, which we are getting to. But in this context, what happens is that, that problem that was trimmed while taking root downwards, now has the chance to blossom. By this time, it could have been much more advanced.
Say for example, you got on the pill as a teenager because of acne. Now that you have to stop, the acne returns with force.
There are other options, and you should know them before committing yourself to a life of dependence on pills that might exacerbate the condition.
How to get off birth control pills safely.
So you have finally decided to get off the pill? Well, congrats to you, you are not alone. Are you scared of PBCS(Post-Birth Control Syndrome)? That’s fine, a lot of people are. These symptoms are real.
However, you don’t have to suffer them so bad. You can help your body regain its natural balance. Its a way of easing yourself into it. In fact, you should start planning towards it some three months before you stop. If nothing, this will, at least, help you reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Here are some steps you can take to have a smooth transition into a life beyond the pill:
- Before quitting, adequately map out your cycle. Sync your diet and lifestyle to match up with that. This will help you ease up the transition. Furthermore, it reduces side effects like acne, insomnia, mood swings, irregular cycles.
- Supplement your body’s nutrients. Synthetic hormones deplete essential nutrients like vitamins B, C, E and minerals like magnesium, zinc, selenium. So, you want to restore those to optimal levels.
- Help your body return to natural hormone production. Of a truth, the synthetic hormones are not good enough to replace the natural ones. Vitamin B6 helps for progesterone. If your progesterone levels are low, you will be quite grumpy.
- Post-Birth Control Detoxification: This is necessary to prevent estrogen dominance and what comes with it. With estrogen dominance, there is hormonal dysfunction. Also, optimize liver functioning to assist it in general detoxification of the body.
- Heal Your Gut: Synthetic hormones can cause leaky gut(intestinal hyper-permeability) and can increase risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease. If you don’t, you are putting yourself further at risk of estrogen dominance. This is because your gut might over produce an enzyme(glucuronidase) that puts estrogen back into circulation.
What you should eat when planning to get off birth control pills.
This list is not exclusive, but you should include these.
- Bananas, spinach, sweet potato, garlic, chicken and salmon are all good sources of vitamin B6, and will help you rebuild your natural progesterone levels.
- Fats and amino acids are a big constituent of hormones. Good sources of these nutrients are fish, pasture fed eggs, olive oil, etc. Include a lot of high quality omega-3 fats.
- Spinach, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc, all help with estrogen detoxification to prevent estrogen dominance.
- Eat around 30g of fiber per day. Fiber helps to eliminate excess hormone from the body.
Other Dietary and Lifestyle habits.
- Limit sugar and carbohydrate intake.
- Avoid environmental toxins. You don’t want to add more toxins to your body system.
Before you take any steps, you should consult with your healthcare professional. They might recommend another option for whatever it is you are taking the hormonal contraceptives for. Make the best choice for your long term health today.
For more information, you can refer to the book, “Beyond the Pill”, by Dr. Jolene Brighten(NMD).