Post-Birth Control Syndrome symptoms generally arise within the first 4-6 months after discontinuing the pill and can be as drastic as a total loss of your period or as benign as acne and hair loss. Now don’t get me wrong, acne and hair loss are terrible, but the pill can cause a whole lot more damage to your body that is really concerning.
Is there a need to restore your body after birth control? There is a whole lot of evidence that would suggest yes.
Common Symptoms of Post-Birth Control Syndrome Include:
- Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation)
- Heavy, painful periods
- Hair loss
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- Gas or bloating
- Changes in bowels
- Inflammation and other immune imbalances
If you’re a woman who has ever taken the pill please keep reading. The pill takes a serious toll on our bodies and any woman who has ever taken the pill needs some level of support to completely undue the damage that was done.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome: How Many Women Start The Pill
Maybe you started taking birth control for its intended use— to prevent pregnancy. But maybe your doctor told you that your mild acne would resolve as an added benefit. Or maybe your periods were so heavy and so painful, your doctor felt this was the only choice.
Or maybe, and this is the one that really displeases me, your periods were irregular, you had acne, difficulty losing weight, hair loss or growing hair in unusual places and your doctor started you on birth control and told you that you could figure out what was going on when you wanted to become pregnant.
The problem with using birth control at all is that there are a whole host of side effects that no one really talks about. But the big problem with using birth control to treat symptoms is that it is only covering up an underlying issue and potentially allowing the symptoms to get worse or the underlying disease to progress.
Birth control is not a root cause solution to these very complex problems.
But if you’re like me, it has already happened (10+ years for me!). You had already signed up and committed to the daily little pill. And because you’ve found yourself reading this, I would imagine you’re wondering now what? Or maybe, you’ve already discontinued and are wondering how to bring back some sense of normalcy to your hormones and your body.
So, where to start? With the getting those hormones you don’t need out! Or in other words, detox the estrogen.
In my practice, I have successfully treated many women with Post-Birth Control Syndrome…even those who were told they had no hope of seeing their period return. I’ve developed an comprehensive protocol to healing after the pill that has helped women not only enjoy more energy, better periods, and better moods, but it has also helped many become pregnant too. In my clinical experience, here are the 3 key areas that must be restored in Post-Birth Control Syndrome to recover your overall health.
How to Heal from Post-Birth Control Syndrome: 3 Key Areas to Treat
Post-Birth Control Syndrome: Restoring Your Gut
There is evidence that birth control pills may disrupt normal gut flora and create an environment that allows for overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast, and may even lead to leaky gut. Because your body depends on your gut to remove excess hormones, restoring gut health is a necessary step in balancing your hormones.
When gut function is inhibited, the body is unable to remove estrogen, which contributes to a state of estrogen dominance. Symptoms of estrogen dominance include ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts, weight gain, irregular or heavy menses, and irritability.
After discontinuing birth control, I often begin my patients on a gut repair protocol. If they are having gut symptoms we may also order a comprehensive stool culture and analysis or lactulose breath test to check for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
Of course, the best way to know what you need to heal is to partner with a Functional Medicine Practitioner and have appropriate lab testing.
If you’re not sure where to start and looking for help now, you may benefit from an elimination diet, along with healing herbs and nutrients to restore your gut.
The Top 10 Herbs & Nutrients to Heal the Gut:
- N-Acetyl Glucosamine
- Slipper Elm Bark
- Citrus Pectin
In my practice, I recommend these herbs and nutrients in capsule form for generally 2-3 months, depending on the patients needs. I have found great success while using this product during an elimination diet.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome: Restoring Your Nutrients
Birth control has been shown to deplete the body of key nutrients. In fact, birth control depletes your body of folate, which is vital for fetal development if you were to become pregnant. Other nutrients that can become depleted with long term birth control use include B12, B2, B6, Selenium, Vitamin C & Vitamin E.
Having nutrient testing and a thorough medical evaluation is one of the best ways to ensure you are sufficient in your nutrient status. I do not recommend supplementing with single vitamins or minerals without knowing your current status as this can lead to deficiencies of other nutrients and aggravate an existing problem.
I recommend that my patients begin incorporating a variety of vegetables, fruits, quality fats and grass fed meats into their diet. By making changes to your diet and optimizing your gut health, you can begin to balance and restore your body’s needs. If you’re looking for a place to start, you can grab a free hormone balancing 7 day meal plan here.
If you have an underlying gut issue or a pre-existing health condition you may require more nutrients then you can get from your food. It is important to work with an experienced health care practitioner to ensure you’re not only supplementing wisely and based on your body’s needs.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome: Restoring Your Detox System
Your body depends on your detox system to remove excess hormones from the body. These detox systems depend on adequate B vitamins, the same ones which are depleted when taking an oral contraceptive. In addition, the extra hormones you are taking place further burden on your detoxification pathways.
Your liver, which is responsible for processing and readying estrogen for removal from the body can benefit from added support. You don’t likely need to do a heavy “cleanse” or take a fists full of supplements, but instead I’d encourage you to gently support your liver.
Eat Liver Loving Foods.
Beets, carrots, dandelion root, burdock root, broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, and kale are all foods I encourage my patients to get plenty of daily. During times when you especially want to show your liver some love, I recommend juicing some of these foods and mixing in 1 tablespoon of grass fed collagen.
Do a 21 Day Detox
Giving your liver and gut some serious love for 3 weeks can do wonders for eliminating unwanted symptoms quicker, it can also fast track your healing. In my clinic, I use the Vital Detox Kit by Bhuti Life for my patients who are coming off of the pill. We pair this with liver loving foods and every thing mentioned above to get their energy and hormones in balance!
Castor Oil Packs for Liver Detoxification.
Use a piece of flannel folded 3 layers thick which covers most of your abdomen. Slowly saturate it with castor oil by drizzling a little oil across the flannel every day of the first 5‐10 uses. Do not oversaturate the flannel or it will be messy! After these first 5‐10 days, you only need to add more oil when the pack feels dry.
To Use: lay oiled pack across your abdomen. Cover with an old towel. You may secure the pack with an athletic bandage or strip of fabric. To enhance effectiveness, cover pack with a heat source. Ideally, you should use this time to relax—but more important is that you do it.
**Alternatively, you may rub a small amount of castor oil directly over your abdomen in a clockwise direction; cover with a shirt that you do not mind staining, as castor oil will darken fabric over time and wear this to bed.
Store the oiled flannel by folding it inside a designated towel in a location that will make it easy to use it. Take precautions to protect your clothing and furniture as castor oil may darken fabrics over time.
Learn more about castor oil for detox here.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome: It’s Not in Your Head
If you’re a woman struggling with Post-Birth Control Syndrome I want you to know your symptoms are not in your head. Many women experience this condition, in fact, clinically I see that the majority of women struggling with stopping the pill. The majority of women have some form of Post-Birth Control Syndrome that can be easily treated to restore health, hormone balance and maintain your fertility if motherhood is in the plans.