Post-Birth Control Syndrome symptoms generally arise within the first 4-6 months after going off hormonal birth control 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, the patch, the IUD and other hormonal birth control options can cause a whole lot more damage to your body that is really concerning.
As a leading expert in post-birth control syndrome, I've helped many women eliminate their symptoms after stopping birth control and take back their periods. Cystic acne, debilitating periods, severe mood swings, depression, anxiety, and vaginal infections are only a few of the side effects that can come with stopping birth control.
Is Post-Birth Control Syndrome Real?
For years I've been documenting and developing protocols surrounding hormonal birth control within my medical practice. What I find is that the majority of women struggle when they discontinue hormonal birth control. And it makes sense, right?
These drugs are designed to shut down your entire reproductive system. They stop your brain from talking to your ovaries and stop ovulation. And this may sound well and good until you try to call it quits.
There is also evidence showing that side effects that begin while on birth control don't just go away when you stop. Things like low libido, anxiety, depression, gut symptoms, autoimmune disease, and inflammation.
And while doctors may be telling you that your symptoms are all in your head, I want to assure you that they are not.
It is well documented that birth control leads to nutrient depletions, mood symptoms and scarier side effects like cancer, blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. And women round the world have complained of post-birth control syndrome symptoms since the introduction of hormonal birth control.
As a doctor, I firmly believe that a woman's experience has value and her story needs to be considered in our diagnostic workup.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome Symptoms Include:
- Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation)
- Heavy, painful periods
- Acne, cystic acne, rosacea
- Hair loss
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- Gas or bloating
- Changes in bowels
- Leaky gut
- Gut dysbiosis
- Inflammation and other immune imbalances
If you're a woman who has ever taken the pill, had a hormonal IUD, placed a patch, inserted the nuvaring, been given the shot, or has had an implant please keep reading. These hormones take a serious toll on our bodies and any woman who has ever used hormonal birth control needs some level of support to completely undue the damage that was done.
Clinically I have found that women do not heal from the effects of birth control without taking the necessary steps outlined in this article.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome: How Many Women Start The Pill
Maybe you started taking birth control for its intended use— to prevent pregnancy. And 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.
Women are passed the pill at such a high frequency that things like PCOS, endometriosis and autoimmune disease are often left undiscovered, undiagnosed and untreated.
Your symptoms have a root cause. And while hormone symptoms suck, understand that birth control won't fix them.
Sure, maybe your periods and skin get better, but the cause of your period problems isn't addressed by birth control.
Birth control was designed to deliver you enough hormones to shut down your reproductive function. Yes, hormones that suppress your body and therefore, can't fix the true issue.
I believe giving women hormonal birth control to treat symptoms without ever asking why they are there in the first place is not only a disservice, but a short sighted approach to a complex issue.
Got heavy periods? Could it be thyroid disease or anemia?
Painful periods? Could it be endometriosis, but instead your doctor is telling you to take the pill, ignore it and deal with it when you want to have a baby…only to find yourself unable to have a baby?
Irregular periods? Could it be PCOS? Instead your doctor gives you a medication to induce an artificial bleed while heart disease, diabetes and infertility is left to progress.
Women deserve better. You deserve better.
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 going off birth control 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 a comprehensive protocol for healing after hormonal birth control 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 and within the Brighten Protocol™, there are the 5 key areas that must be addressed in Post-Birth Control Syndrome to recover your overall health.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome Treatment
Is there a need to restore your body after birth control?
There is a whole lot of evidence that would suggest yes.
Clinically, I have seen that women do not recover from hormonal birth control without directly addressing the systems it has affected.
Here are the 5 Steps of the Brighten Protocol™ to Heal Post-Birth Control Syndrome
- Replenish nutrient stores
- Identify Your Hormone Imbalance
- Heal Your Gut
- Post-Birth Control Detox
- Metabolic Repair
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.
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 my free birth control quick start guide with diet recommendations here.
Unfortunately, I have found that you can not out diet hormonal birth control. Now diet is absolutely foundational and essential, but the majority of women do better to have a quality prenatal or multivitamin as part of their daily routine. I often recommend a prenatal to women who are still having periods because it provides the nutrients you need to create healthy blood cells.
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.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome: Identify Your Hormone Imbalance
Synthetic hormones impact your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, thyroid, and cortisol. It disrupts all your hormones, which can make it confusing for you and your doctor to figure out what is driving all your symptoms.
Within my Birth Control Hormone Reset™ program I help you identify YOUR hormone imbalances and where you need to start to feel better ASAP!
Because all of our hormones work together it is important to consider them together and take a comprehensive approach to restoring hormone balance.
After hormonal birth control many women struggle to ovulate again and may experience other symptoms like mood swings, painful period, headaches, or acne. These are common signs of a hormone imbalance and something you can absolutely bring back into balance naturally.
Often, women who seek help for symptoms of PBCS are put back on hormonal birth control without any regard for what may be the root cause. I encourage you to determine your hormone imbalance and work with your body to naturally restore hormone health.
Post-Birth Control Syndrome: Heal 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).
The Brighten Protocol™ teaches you how to heal leaky gut, identify food sensitivities, and optimizing gut function so you can effectively eliminate your hormones and other waste. By healing your gut you will also ensure you can replenish your nutrients.
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 Detox
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. The liver is one of the primary organs responsible for detoxing synthetic hormones from the body. Women using hormonal birth control have a higher risk of developing liver tumors. Yes, hormonal birth control is incredibly hard on your liver and part of what makes PBCS so difficult to heal.
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.
Professional Detox Supplements
Giving your liver and gut some serious love for 14 days can do wonders for eliminating unwanted symptoms quicker. It can also fast track your healing. In my clinic, I use the Paleo Detox or Plant Based Detox for my patients who are coming off of hormonal birth control or who are still on it. We pair this with liver loving foods and every thing mentioned above to get their energy and hormones in balance!
Post-Birth Control Syndrome Metabolic Repair
Did your doctor tell you that your birth control causes inflammation, insulin resistance and weight gain? My guess is probably not.
In fact, most women find their concerns about weight gain dismissed.
Because hormonal birth control messes with your blood sugar and can lead to insulin resistance, it can also cause you to experience symptoms of excess testosterone, hypoglycemia (aka hangry) and lead to overall hormonal chaos.
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 struggle with stopping the pill. And most women experience some form of Post-Birth Control Syndrome. The good news is that it can be reversed and you can restore health, hormone balance and maintain your fertility if motherhood is in the plans.
If you're in need of more support then I invite you to check out my Birth Control Hormone Reset.
This is the first and only physician designed program to teach you how to transition off of hormonal birth control, reverse symptoms of PBCS and create amazing hormones!
Within the Birth Control Hormone Reset program you'll be introduced to the Brighten Protocol™. This method was developed within my medical practice and have helped thousands of women who are struggling with PBCS.
Discover how to get off birth control, kick your unwanted hormone symptoms, and make friends with your period all in 5 weeks!
This program is designed to help women ON hormonal birth control and OFF! If you're not ready to ditch your current contraception then no worries. You can learn what you need to do to take incredible care of your body.
You can learn more about the Post Birth Control Hormone Reset Here!
Curious to Learn More About Post-Birth Control Syndrome?
Watch this video on PBCS. This is the type of information you will learn inside the Birth Control Hormone Reset™ Course. Plus you'll be given handouts, tools, meal plans, supplement guides and more to support you in taking back your hormones!