Coming Off Birth Control: Transitioning Off The Pill
There are a number of reasons why more and more women are inquiring about coming off of birth control. Some are trying to conceive in the near future, while others are concerned about the myriad of health risks associated with using synthetic hormones long-term. It is important to take the proper steps to help mitigate undesired side effects, such as hair loss and acne, as quickly as possible and return to an optimal state of health.
Correct Nutritional Depletions
Birth control depletes the body of several key vitamins and minerals, such as B-Vitamins, magnesium, selenium and zinc, which are required cofactors in the body’s ability to produce it’s own hormones. I will often recommend patients on birth control to supplement with these nutrients to prevent deficiencies that may limit the body's ability to create your own hormones, which is crucial if you looking to discontinue birth control.
Identify Hormonal Imbalances
If you went on birth control to manage symptoms such as irregular cycles, painful periods, PCOS, acne or endometriosis, it is important to address your individual hormonal imbalance. While hormonal birth control may help mask these symptoms, it is not addressing the root cause of the imbalance. My favorite test to identify imbalances is the DUTCH test which will look at sex hormones and their metabolites in addition to organic acids that can identify nutritional deficiencies and detoxification barriers.
Support with Natural Therapies
There are several herbs I may use with patients to help restart their natural cycles such as Chasteberry, Maca root, and Dioscorea, though these are not indicated in every patient. Depending on your unique health history, a different combination of herbs may be recommended. Seed Cycling is another great option to help get your cycles back on track. Not everyone will have the same experience coming off of birth control, so it is important to tailor treatment based on your symptoms and in some cases, lab testing.
I recommend working with a practitioner 1-2 months before you plan to come off of birth control. Hormonal birth control has an impact on our ovaries, brain, gut, thyroid, and adrenal glands, which are all part of the intricate hormonal network of the body. Further testing in these areas may be required to restart the complex hormonal network that has been suppressed due to the constant supply of synthetic hormones in hormonal birth control. It can take some time to establish your own natural hormonal rhythm after the pill, but most women feel much better after they reach a new, healthy hormonal equilibrium.
Yours in health,