Quitting Birth Control

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

How do I get off birth control?

It’s a question I often get from clients who are tired of feeling the side effects—unwanted weight gain, lowered mood, slowed metabolism, not feeling like “themselves,” nausea, lack of appetite or never satisfied, “just off.”

Or, they are ready to consider less invasive hormonal forms of birth control.

They want to go more “natural” and give their body a break from synthetic estrogen and progestin in their system.

So how to “do it” the right way?

First thing’s first, here’s the top “secret” you should know:

You can quit the pill at any time.

Unlike SSRI’s (anti-depressants), statin drugs (cholesterol meds), or other strong medications, the pill is one of the few drugs that you can stop without having to “wean off” or “cut back” on it.

Some ladies abruptly stop midway through their current supply, while others choose to finish it out and then say, “No mas!”- Totally your call.

However, to help you and your body adjust to a dramatic shift in hormones (going from an influx synthetic estrogen and progestin in your system every day, back to your own hormones), there ARE some steps you can take to help your body rebalance it’s own hormones, energy levels, mood, digestion and more.

Here are 7 play-by-play tips for quittingthe pill.

  1. Heal the Gut.
    Yesterday we talked about how the pill—and excess estrogen—can wreak havoc on your gut. Not to mention the fact that, if you were taking the pill for things other than birth control—like acne, amenorrhea, metabolism ‘regulation’, etc.—there is a pretty big chance that you had some underlying gut imbalances to begin with. A HUGE aspect of hormonal regulation (believe it or not) starts in the gut. As a woman in particular, levels of estrogen in the body are affected by our digestion: a normal bowel transit time (elimination) allows excess estrogen to pass out of the body, rather than reabsorbed. By optimizing digestion through “healing your gut,” you help keep excess estrogen out of circulation, and hormones happy and balanced. Some basic tips?

 

  • Eat Fermented Foods Daily (full fat organic plain yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir)
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (plus dab raw honey-optional) to 2-4 oz. water 2-3 times per day, around meals
  • Chew your food (really well) and slow down at meals.
  • Add in fresh, real food as much as you can (meats, veggies, nuts/seeds, animal and plant oils and fats)
  • Eliminate refined grains, conventional dairy, sugar and processed foods

2. Cut Back on Caffeine.

In addition to cleaning up your gut health, detoxing off your steady reliance on caffeine or coffee can be equally beneficial to promoting a healthy hormonal balance in your launch to being “birth control” free. What this looks like? Sticking to one cup of quality coffee per day—or none. Gasp! Is it possible? Coffee is not innately a bad thing! While coffee beans ARE one of the moldiest foods we do consume, a little dirt never hurt—as is recommended b sticking to that one cup. However, beyond “healing your gut,” excess caffeine in our system can wreak havoc on your cortisol levels (yes even from “de-caf” as it signals a similar blood sugar response as regular caffeinated sources). Cortisol is your stress hormone—and excess cortisol (or super low cortisol) also throws your other hormones—like estrogen and progesterone out of balance. Don’t stress your hormones out more than they need to (they’ve already had enough).

3. Boost Your Energy with “B’s.”

Turn up the volume with a B-Vitamin complex to give your body a dose of these all-too-common micro-nutrients that are extracted from your system when you take the pill. We talked about how the pill strips your body of micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) so it’s time to re-stock. Your B-Vitamins (particularly B6 and B12) play a critical role in immune function, metabolism, your energy, mood and over 100 other enzymatic reactions that take place in the body. Here’s one of my top picks by Pure Encapsulations

4. Make Friends with Fat.
Incorporating healthy fats in your diet is essential. Fats in our food don’t make us fat. In fact, they do the opposite. They make your cells strong, sleek, lean and supple—serving as the outside coating and protector of fats (when we eat low fat or fake sugar or processed, diet foods or nothing at all, our cells become more permeable, weaker and more susceptible to letting toxins and wastes inside). They also are the precursors to producing hormones. Fats are the fuel for creating hormones and helping them keep the peace. Incorporate healthy fats with every meal and even snacks. These may include: ghee, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, raw nuts/seeds, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, olives, lard, tallow, pastured egg yolks, avocado-oil mayo, coconut butter, unsweet coconut flakes, raw almond butter, sun-butter, full-fat grass-fed dairy—just to name a few.

5. Love Your Liver.

  • As we mentioned, the liver often takes a hit when we take birth control. Your liver is your body’s personal garbage disposal—eliminating toxins throughout your lifetime. What this means? Your body may have a harder time “detoxifying” or eliminating wastes—presenting with a congested liver/gall-bladder, and consequently excess wastes, excess estrogen and other toxins in your body. What to do about it? Love your liver! No, you don’t need to go on a juice fast or go Googling “liver detox,” but some simple practices you can begin incorporating include, of course a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, but also:

    1. Drinking fresh, clean, filtered water as much as possible

    2. Eating a serving of beets (even just a little bit) 3-4 times per week and/or taking a liver-gallbladder support enzyme like Beta-TCP   or Beta Plus (if you’ve had your gallbladder removed)-  to help boost bile (waste) elimination along

    3. Eat a medicinal dose of organ meat—like liver OR take a liver capsule. You can get organic liver and other organ meats from your butcher or farmer’s market and mix it in with your burgers, meatballs or other recipes—and not even taste it. Or take a liver capsule like this one by Vital Proteins. Eating or taking a liver supplement is probably one of the best things you can do to strengthen your liver.

    4. Add-ins. In addition to your digestive protocol above, some other all-stars to add to the mix include: Lemon (squeeze on salads, in your water, etc.), bitter herbs, bone broth, fresh crisp green veggies and dark leafy greens (vary it up between cooked and raw), and fresh organic fruit and berries (1-2 servings/day). In addition, aiming to get the essential vitamins and minerals that were potentially depleted while on the pill in food form—including Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin E and Selenium—will give you an extra boost. Here’s your hit list:

    Vitamin C (Spinach and dark greens, citrus, berries)Zinc (Oysters & seafood, soaked beans, raw nuts, grassfed and pastured meats/poultry)

    Magnesium (Dark chocolate, dark leafy greens, raw nuts/seeds, grass-fed yogurt, soaked black beans)

    Vitamin E (Dark leafy greens, olive oil, avocado oil, raw nuts/seeds)

    Selenium  (Brazil nuts, wild-caught tuna, grass-fed beef, pastured poultry and eggs, spinach).

6. Stress Less.

Stress is king when it comes to hormonal balance—and restoration. And chances are, if you’re a modern-day American woman with a pulse, you have some stress. Similar to our caffeine point above—stress (like coffee) messes with your cortisol (stress hormone), which in turn, messes with the balance of your other hormones. “Stressing less” is way easier said than done, but as you’re detoxing off your birth control, be mindful of making an extra effort and point to stress less by incorporating ONE stress-less tactic daily—you choose! It could be:

  • Meditation (Check out Headspace!) https://www.headspace.com
  • Yoga
  • Saying “no”—instead of always saying “yes”
  • Incorporating play into your day
  • Getting some fresh air and Vitamin D
  • Take a workout break—but don’t over do it either (additional stress)
  • Go on a walk with a friend
  • Talk about it

7. Keep Tabs.

Start tracking your monthly cycle. Also recognize, as your body rebalances, you may not have a regular cycle initially. Depending on how long you were on the pill, or your body’s health and any side effects it incurred (gut imbalances, significant hormonal imbalances) while on the pill, it can take some time for your periods to “become normal” or restore. Don’t lose hope. You already have an upper hand if you take the above six points seriously and put them into practice.

8. Don’t Go It Alone.

Lastly, the good news is: You don’t have to go it alone. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable healthcare practitioner on hormone restoration and body rebalancing can help make the process easier.

For more information on restoring your hormones (and underlying imbalances) in a “healthy way,” make an appointment with Dr. Lauryn today by contacting Thrive to make an appointment for a 1:1 consult and initial intake.  Dr. Lauryn works with clients all around the world.

All new inquiries have the option to book a 15-minute free consult if you like more information. In addition, if we are not the right fit for you, I would love to point you in the right direction to suit your needs to help you thrive. 

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