Planning to come off hormonal birth control? (Consider the following tips for a smoother transition)!

Birth Control

Did you know? 100 million women are currently on the pill and roughly 60 percent of them take it for non-contraceptive reasons (such as for heavy painful periods, PMS, acne, endometriosis or PCOS)! 

This is in large part because many women are told by their doctors that the hormonal birth control pill is the only solution for the symptoms they’re struggling with, and rarely given education or resources that would actually get to the root of the problem! Since synthetic birth control uses modified estrogen and progesterone molecules that are not a perfect fit for the hormone receptor sites in our body, the reaction can often manifest in uncomfortable side effects/symptoms. With a combination of synthetic hormones, the birth control pill actually stops your body from ovulating and producing its own natural (endogenous) hormones, while preventing sperm from reaching your eggs and having the chance to fertilize them. With these lab-made hormones present in your body, you may gain weight more easily, feel extra emotional, lose your libido, have trouble sleeping, develop skin conditions, experience increased inflammation and even become vitamin B deficient (among many other related symptoms).

So, as much as you are protecting yourself from pregnancy by using birth control (however, many women forget to take the pill consistently which is when pregnancy CAN occur), it's important to understand that synthetic hormones released into your body can trigger side effects that have a significant long-term impact on your endocrine function and overall health & happiness…and there are safer solutions for relief of many of the symptoms that women experience, and are often given birth control to manage. Please note: You may be on the hormonal birth control pill & not experiencing any of the symptoms we've described (maybe you even feel great!), but just remember that these issues can pop up later in life (impacting your fertility & longevity) and/or when you come off the pill, the symptoms it was suppressing come back with a vengeance or new symptoms develop. This is not meant to scare you, but rather empower you to make the transition off the pill in a way that supports your body so you can feel your best AND get more in tune with your unique body & hormones!

Below we are including a review of some of our top suggestions for transitioning off hormonal birth control with less side effects and symptoms (while still being able to plan and/or prevent pregnancy).

NOTE: we cannot advise on how or when to stop using the pill, but implementing the following diet/lifestyle & supplement suggestions will support your hormones in the process. These tips can be followed before coming off birth control as well. 

#1 UTILIZE CYCLE TRACKING APPS

We are huge advocates of getting attuned to your cycle – understanding where you are in each phase of your cycle, what symptoms correlate to the different phases, and when you are ovulating and need to take extra precautions when having unprotected sex!

The following cycle tracking apps not only provide helpful education and data about your own cycle, but they provide insights to help support your mind + body during each phase.

NATURAL CYCLES

One of our favorite suggestions as an alternative to hormonal birth control for pregnancy prevention is the Natural Cycles Birth Control App. It is 98% effective with perfect use & 93% effective with typical use!

This is the first FDA cleared app-based birth control and it works by identifying your fertility from your basal body temperature. You take your temp first thing in the morning, enter the reading into the app, and it will tell you if you are fertile and should avoid sex or use protection (RED), or if you are not fertile that day and in the clear (GREEN). You can also customize the app whether you are planning a pregnancy or preventing pregnancy, and you can even “Follow a Pregnancy” to track stages of fetal development if you are pregnant. You will also receive personalized messages and reminders correlating to your specific needs and goals. 

Pro-Tip: It’s really important that you’re consistent in taking your temperature for accurate results, so we recommend setting the thermometer on your bedside table or on top of your cell phone so that when you wake up, it’s the first thing you do and can immediately enter the temperature reading into the app. Note: certain factors like being sick, having alcohol the night before & not sleeping well can throw off the results so be sure to read the directions for accurate temperature inputting. 

MY FLO PERIOD APP by FLO-LIVING

Another option for cycle tracking is the MyFLO Period App by Flo-Living. This app works by analyzing everything you share with it about your body (including mood & specific symptoms) and helping you eliminate unwanted symptoms and schedule your life according to your personal cycle.

While MyFLO does not take basal body temperature into account, it does help you track and predict your period, and gives you suggestions to best support your body through the 4 phases of your cycle. It includes recommendations for what kind of foods to eat, exercises to try, and social events to say “yes” to! You can enter any symptoms and it will help you alleviate them with lifestyle adjustments (such as diet and movement suggestions!). You can also sync the app with your partner so they can be more aware and better educated on what you’re experiencing & how best to support you!

#2 THE COPPER IUD / PARAGARD

One of the few non-hormonal birth control options available today is the copper IUD.

This IUD is a copper wrapped T shaped device that sits inside of your uterus and prevents pregnancy by deterring sperm with the copper. Many people are drawn to this option because they can last up to 10+ years, there is no daily upkeep (or pill to remember taking!), and they are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This method is very convenient, and you can keep it in for years or get it removed whenever you want. Please read the pro's and con's list here before considering this option. 

Many women experience heavier bleeding after having the copper IUD inserted (though this is often temporary), and the insertion process can be uncomfortable for some. However, this is often currently the best long term, non-hormonal birth control available for women today.

NOTE: Discuss all of this with your OB/GYN to suss out the right choice for you.

#3 LIFESTYLE / DIET / STRESS MANAGEMENT SUGGESTIONS

In addition to tracking your cycle and/or utilizing non hormonal birth control, it is incredibly important to consider implementing the following lifestyle adjustments for a smoother transition off hormonal birth control!

>> Read “Beyond the Pill” by Dr Jolene Brighten

“A 30 day program to Balance Your Hormones, Reclaim Your Body, and Reverse the Dangerous Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill”

This book is a FABULOUS resource for transitioning off the pill, as it helps readers:

  • Locate the root cause of their hormonal issues, like estrogen dominance, low testosterone, and low progesterone
  • Discover a pain-free, manageable period free of cramps, acne, stress, or PMS without the harmful side effects that come with the pill
  • Detox the liver, support the adrenals and thyroid, heal the gut, reverse metabolic mayhem, boost fertility, and enhance mood
  • Transition into a nutrition and supplement program, with more than 30 hormone-balancing recipes

++ simple diet and lifestyle interventions

>> Key Diet Suggestions:

Overall, these are the top diet adjustments we would suggest to support your body in naturally rebalancing while transitioning off the pill

  • Incorporate anti-Inflammatory foods: eating a diet rich in leafy greens, fatty fish, and extra virgin olive oil, avocado and coconut oils can help reduce symptoms related to use of synthetic birth control
  • Increase your fiber intake to at least 25-35 grams per day (chia & flax seeds, avocados, raspberries, lentils, beans etc). Increase slowly + up your water intake to prevent bloating and constipation. 
  • Balance blood sugar levels by including protein (20-25 grams) + healthy fats (2-4 servings) + fiber (1 serving) + leafy & cruciferous greens (1-2 servings) at every meal! 
  • Consider hormone-free protein sources (such as Thrive Market + Butcher Box + Vital Farms), which offer high quality grass-fed, wild-caught, pasture-raised options.
  • Repair the gut with grass-fed bone broth, a high quality probiotic & probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut, kimchi & goat's milk kefir to repopulate the good bacteria that we need for proper digestion, energy and hormone balance
  • Reduce your caffeine intake (consider Four Sigmatic elixirs and use code yhbalance for 10% off your order) OR try our Health Coach, Jess Suchan's (@bodyblissyjess) new latte blends (here) with code BALANCE10 for 10% off. 


>> Key Supplement Suggestions:

These are our top supplement adjustments to help alleviate side effects that can crop up when transitioning off hormonal birth control

  • Quality multivitamin or prenatal with iron
  • Vitex/ chasteberry – helps re-establish regular cycles
  • Evening primrose oil – helps ease various symptoms that show up after stopping hormonal BC
  • B-complex since birth control pills are known to deplete some essential B vitamins
  • Magnesium which is another essential mineral the birth control pill depletes 
  • Liver-supporting supplements like milk thistle and vitamin C (your liver has been working hard to process all those artificial hormones.)

>> Key Lifestyle adjustments:

We can’t underestimate the impact of chronic stress in our lives, and must also be aware of toxic chemicals found in many of our personal care products (often referred to as ‘endocrine disruptors’) that mess with our hormones and can increase the number of symptoms we experience

  • Prioritize self-care, meditation / mindfulness & meals away from distractions
  • Schedule in daily movement that you love that brings down feelings of anxiety (walking, biking, swimming, Pilates, dancing etc)
  • Reduce toxins in your environment by switching to more natural makeup, body care and cleaning products (check our Instagram weekly for toxic free swap outs!)
  • Avoid plastic which are hormone disruptors and found in everything from food storage containers to water bottles, straws, and cookware!

>> Resources:

Finally, we have included some resources to further your education on hormonal birth control and best methods for transitioning off it naturally!

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We hope this information gave you the tools you need to begin transitioning off of hormonal birth control with a plan and method that feels best for you!




Interested in testing your hormone levels and getting started on an all-natural rebalancing plan? Check out our at-home hormone testing + consulting packages HERE.

Email us at info@yourhormonebalance.com with any questions!
Understanding the Difference: Bio-identical Hormones VS Synthetic HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)
Why it’s Important to Eat Hormone FREE, Including our Favorite Hormone-Free Milk, Cheese + Meat Picks!

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