One question I often hear from other endo sisters is how to get off of birth control, be that birth control pills, an IUD, or shots.
After taking the pill for a decade and having relief from painful periods, I remember the fear that I had of getting off of them. I was afraid of what would happen if I did. I had fear of the pain returning.
I stopped taking them almost eight years ago when the prescription I had ran out. It was time. I was ready. At that point I’d really started to question the impacts they were having on my mental health. I had crazy mood swings fueled primarily by anger or sadness… extreme sadness.
A recent study showed that women who take hormonal contraception are more likely to experience depression. So, it makes sense why more and more of you are considering coming off of them.
I only recently understood how the pill manipulated my body for many years, for half of my young life. It was literally messing with my brain. (Here’s a recent post I did about how birth control works.)
I’m so glad I made an empowered decision to stop putting those little white pills in my body and if I could go back I would never have taken them.
Tips to Help Get off of Birth Control
Given what I know now from my own experience and from spending years conversing with other endo sisters, here’s the advice I have to help support your body on the transition off of hormonal contraceptives.
#1.) Be prepared for your sex hormones to “wake up”.
Your body has to adjust to the production of sex hormones again. Be prepared for the withdrawal symptoms that may come. You may feel more emotional, or you may experience physical pain. Remember that your body has been chemically manipulated, perhaps for many years. It’s an adjustment to come off of that.
#2.) Learn how to tune into your menstrual cycle
When I got off of the pill I didn’t know much about a normal menstrual cycle. I didn’t even know about ovulation. When my natural hormones woke up, so did other changes with my body and sex drive.
As you get off of hormonal contraception, you’ll start to experience the workings of your natural menstrual cycle again, which includes cervical fluid and hormonal changes during ovulation. You’ll start to feel the sensations of your natural cycle again.
I encourage you to learn more about the workings of your menstrual cycle and learn how to chart via the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). This will help you figure out if and when you’re ovulating and tune into the ebb and flow of your emotions with the hormonal changes in your cycle. Learn how to do that here or with the highly recommended book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
#3.) Support your detoxification channels
Your liver’s a primary player in the detoxification of estrogen for safe removal from your body. It must then travel through your gut to be released in your stool.
The synthetic hormones in hormonal contraception is not easily processed by your liver, so they can easily circulate back into your system, gathering in your cells and tissues.
So, be kind to your liver. Avoid alcohol, pharmaceuticals, NSAID’s and greasy fried foods. Add in liver-supporting foods like leafy greens, cucumbers, beets, carrots, celery, avocados, garlic, lemons, limes, parsley, and cilantro.
Birth control pills mess with the balance of your microbiome, so you’ll want to support your gut with prebiotics and probiotics. L-Glutamine can be helpful too. See more tips to support your gut here.
Another system to support is your lymphatic system. This is the system responsible for removing waste and toxins in between your cells. See tips to support your lymphatic system here.
#4. Nourish your body with B’s, C’s and Magnesium
It’s a good idea to load your body up with B vitamins. These are precursors to your body’s natural hormones. B6 is especially important. See food sources of B vitamins here.
Vitamin C also helps with your body’s natural production of progesterone. Birth control pills can deplete your body of this important vitamin, that plays a key role with your immune system. Leafy greens and berries are great food sources of vitamin C.
The pill also depletes your body of magnesium. Magnesium plays a key role in the signals that travel through the nerves in your body, which in short supply relays muscle pain and cramping. When your body does not have enough Magnesium then systemic inflammation occurs. This can result in fatigue, headaches/migraines, aches and pains.
See food sources of Magnesium and/or supplementation suggestions here.
#5. Load up on Healthy Fats
All of your steroid hormones are synthesized out of cholesterol in your ovaries and adrenal glands. These hormones include androgens, estrogens, progestagens, cortisol and Vitamin D.
An important step to achieving hormonal balance is to ensure your body has enough cholesterol to produce these steroid hormones. See ways to increase cholesterol levels here.
#6. Support Estrogen Metabolism
Hormonal contraceptives can leave behind xenoestrogens, which feed endometriosis. To help your liver detoxify these chemicals load up on cruciferous veggies. (If you have thyroid issues it’s best to eat them cooked or streamed.)
Supplement suggestions to help with estrogen metabolism include:
- DIM (Diindolylmethane)
(I haven’t personally tried any of these options, but have heard good things from other endo sisters.)
#7. Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing really helps if you experience either physical or emotional pain. I’ve heard many stories of withdrawal, especially from IUD’s, that can result in pretty severe mood swings. Remember to breathe. This too shall pass.
Connect back with your breath. Allow your belly to move in and out with long deep breaths. If you need more guidance check out my guided breather here.
#8. Utilize a Creative Outlet
Find a way to express the emotions that are likely to come out as your brain adjusts to a life without chemical manipulation. You’re going to start to experience a true flow of your hormones and a return of a true flow from your uterus.
Without the pills I started to think more clearly and a creative fire that been thwarted for many years was re-ignited. Creative activities can help support the energetics of this naturally creative space of your body and grants an outlet to express this “wake up” call 🙂
On the Positive Side?
Looking back almost eight years ago, I see now how my decision to come off of birth control pills has positively affected both my body and mind.
Once I got through the initial withdrawals and supported my body with nourishment in the way of foods and on a greater level with self love and growth in a spiritual manner, I started to feel much better.
I feel more calm now and those episodes of sadness are few and far between. This is fueled by a greater intuition and understanding of an awakened feminine spirit that is no longer dulled by chemical manipulation.
Have you made your way off of hormonal contraceptives? What helped you to transition? Are you considering coming off of them? What’s holding you back?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Getting off the pill can be rough! If you need more support as you make the transition, I can help! Learn more about my coaching program here.