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.
– 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<
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.