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Transitioning off hormonal birth control can be relatively smooth sailing or a total nightmare, depending on existing food, exercise, & lifestyle habits. We’ve seen women experience minimal side effects as if nothing ever happened… And reversely also seen things ‘blow up’ and women experience a rollercoaster of issues.

First and foremost, remember that hormonal birth control is a prescription drug. Please connect with your doctor prior to making changes to your supplement or prescription routine.

Ultimately, hormonal birth control is doctor-prescribed hormonal imbalance. Ever heard the saying “it takes 10 seconds to trash a room, but hours to clean up?” – A LOT of damage can be down to our body in a short time frame by hormonal birth control that may take a while to correct because it shuts down and overrides our natural hormonal function.

Things may very well get worse before they get better. Hormones were suppressed and will need time to up-regulate before things can settle out and this is a SLOW process. Follicles are actually always 3-4 months behind, so it may take quite a few months to see the results of changes we’re making present-day. Good news is that consistency and hard work always pays!

Symptoms may occur for well up to 6-12+ months after transitioning off hormonal birth control. We typically see that for every year we spent on hormonal birth control, we may need one month to recover.

For example, if we took the pill for 10 years, we’re likely looking at 10 months to feel “more like ourselves” again.

The most common complaint often seems to be amenorrhea or lack of menstrual cycle. Worth noting that the more pro-active we are to manage food, lifestyle, and exercise, the more we can minimize kickback of symptoms. The longer we spent on hormonal birth control, the longer it may take to bounce back.

Also worth mentioning that any symptoms that were an issue prior to hormonal birth control may come back with a vengeance, as the root issue of symptoms was never actually addressed. Consistency and hard work always pays – work closely with your doctor and don’t be afraid to hire an experienced coach or dietitian as well in order to get to the root of issues!

A great starting place before making any decisions is to seek further education to better understand your body and what’s going on. Check out Lara Briden’s Period Repair Manual, as well as Jolene Brighten’s Beyond the Pill.

Hormonal birth control depletes us of nutrients and may alter gut health, so we highly suggest supplementing for a few months prior to transitioning off hormonal birth control. If things are still rough after a few months, collaborate with your doctor and explore pulling a full hormone panel to get a better look at what’s going on ‘under the hood.’

Worth mentioning that the medical community has not officially accepted the term “Post-Birth Control Syndrome” or “Post-Oral-Contraceptive Syndrome.” But numerous women’s health physicians have documents a common theme of symptoms that women may struggle with when they part ways with their hormonal birth control. “Post-OC Syndrome” was discussed in Avivva Romm’s book Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health in 2008. This past year, Dr. Jolene Brighten has raised awareness around “Post-Birth Control Syndrome with her book Beyond the Pill.

Potential Symptoms After Discontinuing Hormonal Birth Control:

– Acne, oily skin, hair loss
– Irregular cycles, absence of menstrual cycle
– Anxiety, depression, mood swings
– Changes to gut health/digestion
– Changes to thyroid function
– Headaches, migraines
– Heavy menstrual cycles, cramps
– Insulin resistance/blood sugar issues<

Ultimately, we likely went on birth control for some reason (in addition to wanting to avoid pregnancy): Maybe we had heavy periods, maybe we had bad cramps, maybe our skin wasn’t super clear…
The issue is that hormonal birth control masked those symptoms, so expect them to come back (if not with a little vengeance) – Remember that there was still some underlying imbalance causing those symptoms from the beginning, and now we’re making waves in our hormone balance by transitioning off a medication that alters our hormone levels.
The odd thing?
Some people experience little-to-no side effects, while others… are NOT so lucky. Symptoms seem to crop up 4-6 months after transitioning off hormonal birth control. Some people may even struggle up 12+ months before seeing their period return – it really just depends.
5 Ways to Minimize Symptoms Naturally After Hormonal Birth Control:
1. Manage nutrient deficiencies – Remember that hormonal birth control depletes of us vital nutrients. It may seem super excessive, but we’d invest a little moolah and supplement and consider supplementing with vitamin B, C, D, E, zinc, magnesium, and a thyroid support might not be a bad idea.
2. Support the Liver – The liver is basically going to be catapulted with an onslaught of hormones as the body plays defense trying to get things back to usual business. Consider upping your consumption of cruciferous veggies (broccoli/cauliflower/brussels) and supplementing NAC + milk thistle + a liver support product
3. Support the Gut – The gut is also going to be doing WORK since the liver will basically pass the ball off to the gut for excretion. Probiotics, fermented foods, ample fiber (30g daily, minimum) and plenty of water, and products like Support Mucosa (helps rebuild GI lining) are a MUST.
4. Get Lab Work Done – Work with a doctor to keep tabs on nutrient deficiencies, thyroid, sex hormones, and adrenals. Pull TSH, free T3, free T4, and thyroid antibodies for the thyroid stuff. Sex hormones are best to wait about 3 months after getting off hormonal birth control as they’ll still be altered immediately after HBC use and need time to level out. We love DUTCH testing.
5. Focus on Food Quality – Fats are important for hormone and adrenal health, so make sure to include ample avocados, olive oil, salmon, and grass-fed beef. Buy organic produce as much as possible, high quality meats, and minimize processed foods/sugar was much as possible.
Love these types of health and nutrition guides? My ebook (The Badass Nutrition Guide) is the ULTIMATE guide to your BEST you & has 125 pages of nutritional education, macro cheat sheets, information on how much to eat, tips on fat loss, deets on hormones, guides on cooking, macros, & SO much more!

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