Why Coming Off Birth Control Wasn’t So Bad
On August 6th, I decided to come off birth control. A decision that wasn’t made lightly, but one that I’m so glad I made. At the time I was going through all sorts of ups and downs, and my body was almost screaming to me: “Maria, let me loose of the pill!!”
So what led me to this decision? Well prior to going on the pill, I would hardly get a single zit (okay, maybe one a month near my period). However, I started to have hormonal breakouts. I was also having a series of other symptoms like heart palpitations, mood swings (sorry Andrew!) and difficulties even getting out of bed in the morning. My body temperature changed and I was constantly really hot all the time. I was losing weight, was constantly bloated, and on top of that, had an inconsistent period. That’s when I started to do some research and consulted my doctor on what was going on, only to find out it was related to me being on birth control and some hidden anxiety and adrenal fatigue (but we will get to that later).
Since I said adios to the pill…
Since coming off birth control, I’ve been absolutely floored at the changes I’ve seen in my body. When you are on something for so long, it’s hard to imagine what your body and life could be like without it or, you even fear that symptoms will be worse without it. However, I can proudly say that I’ve been seeing incredible improvements! My hormonal breakouts are no more, I’m no longer as moody as I was and I don’t depend on Andrew when I’m having a bad day. The depending on Andrew part may seem crazy to you guys because I feel like I show you all so much of my life but I just thought I would be as honest as I could in this post. This summer was the craziest summer of my life and I know that I would not have made it through it without the love and patience Andrew showed. Now, back to the good stuff… My body no longer overheats, my weight has stabilized, I’m feeling less bloated, and my period is more regular!
So here is what the experience was like…
First off, did you know that birth control pills are used by an estimated of 150 million women worldwide? Sadly though, many people don’t know the risks of being on the pill or the alternative options that exist. When you take the pill you impose synthetic hormones on your natural cycle. Pills usually contain high levels of estrogen that essentially convince your insides that you’re pregnant and that you don’t need to ovulate. Then once you start the sugar pills, your estrogen level drops and your body menstruates.
As many women are aware, there are some mild symptoms like larger breasts, mood swings or nausea that come with your pill. However, most women aren’t aware of the serious health risks like an increased risk of cervical and breast cancers, heart attacks or strokes, migraines, higher blood pressure, infertility, and the list goes on and on. It’s seriously scary!
Things I did to help my body adjust
When I decided to go off the pill, I knew my body would take some time to adjust and balance out my hormones. To allow myself to adjust to the changes it would go through, I did ensure I added or stuck to the following…
- Worked out regularly.
- Ate loads of healthy fats (you are what you eat).
- Avoided sugar and refined carbs (instead stick to grains like barley, buckwheat, bulgar, quinoa and faro).
- Hot baths with magnesium salts (they help balance and support healthy hormones).
- I quit coffee cold turkey for 2.5 months (and now limit how much I drink a week).
- I sleep 7-8 hours a night. NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
- I also dry brushed every morning for 5 minutes. I would apply a good quality body oil and brush up or down, but remember to always brush towards your heart. I will do a post about this so don’t panic if you don’t know how to!
- Coconut Oil Pulling. Every morning I add 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil to my mouth and I swoosh it around for up to 20 minutes.
- I take omega 3s (only non vegan supplement I take), zinc, magnesium, vitamin D + C, digestive enzymes, stress care, evening primrose and a high quality probiotic. Some people also like to take Vitex to help balance hormones.
- I also include adaptogens like chaga, reishi in my diet (these help balance out your hormones and lower stress).
- I use essential oil diffusers – clary sage, lavender, peppermint, geranium and basil.
- Drank Liver Lover Tea with rose buds, lavender buds, milk thistle seeds, burdock root and dandelion leaf. This tea is really good for your skin, clearing your liver and getting rid of those hormones from the pill.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and avoid those pesky headaches (the only symptom that I’ve really noticed since coming off BC).
- Lastly, SEED CYCLING! What is seed cycling and how do I do it?”The seeds are rotated based on the follicular and luteal phases. The follicular phase of your cycle starts with “Day 1,” which is the first day of your menstrual cycle and the day that you begin to bleed. The luteal phase is from ovulation, or about day 14 or 15, to day 28. However, some women experience shorter or longer cycles than the “ideal” 28-day cycle, and not everyone ovulates exactly on Day 14, so it’s important to know your body’s rhythms and read its signs.” (Herbal Academy, 2017)Follicular Phase: Day 1 to Day 14, or until ovulation:1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily.Luteal Phase: From Day 15 (about) to 28, or until menses:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds daily.
Other teas that can help you are holy basil, chamomile and peppermint. Holy basil suppresses estrogen production and supports progesterone development. Chamomile reduces adrenocorticotropic hormone levels that in turn reduce the stress hormone production, and peppermint helps reduce hormonal acne and testosterone.
What do you use instead?
Lets get something straight first. I think it’s important to use birth control! I’m definitely a firm believer in protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. BUT it’s important to know your options. We’re quick to jump to taking the pill, and doctors are quick to prescribe it, but there are so many other options out there—condoms, IUDs, or even natural family planning (aka tracking when you’re fertile and avoiding sex at that time).
I’m so excited about the changes in my body since going off the pill and Andrew and I are planning on getting checked to see if my hormones are more balanced and if we can have kids one day!
Have you gone off the pill or tried alternative methods? Share below in the comments! I’d love to hear your experience, or what helped you.
Note: Remember I’m not a doctor; just a foodie and natural lifestyle advocate who wants to share my experience and advice based off my experience.
Hii i just came across your page because i was searching for reasons i have a heart rate over 100 bpm and heart palpitations until i realised it might be because of the pill .. i’ve been on it for 4 years and have been living with this heart palpitations for so long now .. i decided to come off the pill yesterday and i’m going to get checked out but i hope it helps me recover from the side effects too
Same here! I just got off my bc 2 weeks ago and a week ago I went to the ER with palpitations that wouldn’t stop. I’m currently wearing a heart monitor to get some answers. I truly believe the bc played a part. I was feeling heart flutters leading up to the ER visit and just brushed it off. Exactly a week after I quit taking bc, I end up at the ER. Everything I read says hormones leave your body in a couple days, so makes me wonder if it can last this long.
I got of the pill and my skin which is usually manageable is in an awful state every since. I even have acne on my chest which I didn’t even have in my adolescence years. Do you think seed cycling will help with that?
I am so sorry to hear that. Keep pushing through girl it will eventually get better!!
I am not a doctor so I cannot guarantee anything but I think that would certainly help! Where do you live? Have you tried contacting a dermatologist or face specialist?
Thank you for such an informative post! I was on the Pill from the age of 16 until I was 21. It is a massive regret of mine. I only had a 1 month break between pills during the whole 5 years.
Originally, I was put on the contraceptive pill for heavy periods (no pain) and acne. The acne cleared up within a month, which was amazing. My “periods’ (during the 7-day break, were only slightly less heavy.
The most disturbing side effects from the Pill involved the damage they did to my gut, which has taken me over 4 years to understand, and during this time try to help balance my microbiome. I developed food intolerances, nausea and extreme bloating which affected my confidence and made day-to-day life very difficult. (Not to mention the hormonal mood swings!)
Since coming off the Pill, my periods are less heavy, but very painful – something I never experienced before I went on the Pill.
I wish I’d never started taking hormonal contraceptives, and hope that one day GP’s/Doctor’s will perhaps be more inclined to provide dietary advice and complimentary therapies to manage hormonal issues rather than that little pill.
Your blog and Instagram have really helped me in my quest for wellness, keep being awesome. 😀 xox
GIRL!! This is amazing! Thank you for leaving this amazing comment, you rock.
It’s crazy was such a little tablet can do you us, right? I am so happy you are doing better and are actively trying to better yourself everday.
I think one day GP’s will realize but until then we just have to educate others! Thanks so much agin.
You’re amazing and I am so happy FoodByMaria has been able to help you!
I took a pharmacy technician course around 9 years ago. As I sat there reading about birth control I turned to my teacher and asked “So potentially, if you wanted to have kids one day you should be giving your body a break from birth control once in while so you know it’s not the pill giving you your period. That it’s actually your body having a natural period.”
And she said, “Yes, I actually take a month or two off every 6 months.”
I stopped taking the pill shortly afterwards because I knew it was the cause of my severe bloating and bad mood. And I will never take it again. My periods are no longer an agonizing experience like they were.
I have relied on tracking my period and it has worked really well for my husband & I.
SEE isn’t it mad what it will do to our bodies! and for you teacher to say that she takes breaks from it is insane too!
I am happy you’re no longer living with bloating and bad mood! <3
Hi ! This is very interesting. I went off BC yeaaaars ago and I also think my body felt «relieved » I suffer endometriosis but I simply refuse to use hormones to «fix » it (if ever it is possible…) instead I slowly change my alimentation. That is why I love your site and your tips. I started to follow you on Instagram and you are my absolute fave ! (Sorry for my english)
So, thank you Maria, I love what you do <3
I am so happy to hear your story and that you are doing better. I will always be here to help you through this, the natural way! These issues and problems will always be with us but learning how to cope and help them is key!!
Thanks for following me, means alot!
Hi Maria! Thank you forbthe wonderfully informative and in depth post. Under dry brushing, it is five minutes? Hehe I was trying to picture you brushing for 5 hours, then realised I am dunce.
You’re welcome, I am glad you enjoyed it!
ya, five minutes, did I put 5 hours?!?! haha I will change that right now!
Thanks for stopping by and sending your love XOXOX
I love your story, and how you said it. I myself have never been on the pill, or had any implant of any sort, and I have never been pregnant and I’m 25. I use the (aka home planning version) and condoms, etc. although, interesting enough, my identical twin sister had an implant in her arm at the age of 14, and by the age of 23 learned she had stage one, ovarian cancer. A germ cell tumor. Throughout her young adulthood she experienced a strange and large amount of sympotoms. Even after the birth control implant was taken out. For years doctors chalked it up as lupus, fibromyalgia, and prescribed many unneeded drugs such as steroids, pain pills and such. Only when requested by her boss to yet again get another doctors note to avoid firing due to many days off due to being misteriasly I’ll, they found it this time by CAT scan. Doctors have said it was never the birth control that had caused her body to react so badly and develop cancer, but it’s what I believe. I’m glad you are done with the pill. I never advise anyone to take it because it does just stop and trick what your body is trying to naturally do and function in its own organic way. My sister is cancer free today, and is living a happy and healthy life.
How are you? Thanks for this beautiful message.
I am so sorry to hear about your sister, sweetie, but I am so happy she is better. This story is a perfect example why we should all stop taking BC, IT IS HORRIBLE!
Sending you love hun
I’ve been on pills around 15 years. At the end my period abandoned me which got me thinking if everything is ok. I am off pills for 6 months already still waiting for my body to go back to normal state. I want to have a baby now however it doesn’t seem like it’s possible at the moment… if i knew i would quit long time ago!
I am so happy you ended up coming off. Just be patient and maybe go see your doctor or naturopath to find out the next steps to help your body get back to normal
I was on BC for 4 years and it seems my body was screaming at me to come off as now I have a more regular and healthy period than I ever did on BC.
Everyone is different so just stay positive! I see babies in your future hunnie!