Whether you’re trying to start a family, or are sick of the side-effects of hormonal birth control, coming off the pill can be a challenge for a lot of women. If you’re currently on a form of oral contraception, be sure to check out this article about what you need to know first. Simply ‘not refilling your prescription’ is sometimes a shock to a woman’s system, so here’s what you need to consider in order to help ease your body back into hormonal bliss (i.e. regular, pain-free cycles & maximized fertility)!
Let’s first get a few things straight- not everyone gets their period right away after stopping the pill. In fact, it’s common for many women to have up to a 3 month delay before getting a real period. Sadly, some women just don’t get their period back at all (more on this later), and a lot of it depends on your own hormonal system, how long you were on the pill and your age.
If you’re thinking of coming off the pill, buffer about 3 months of what I would call a ‘healthy hormones’ plan into your schedule. Focus on the diet, lifestyle & supplement changes that I (or your doctor) recommend and be kind to yourself– it’s impossible to know exactly when things will return to normal.
Already off the pill and having issues with your cycle (or lack thereof)? You can kick straight into a hormonal balancing protocol with guidance from recent testing of your hormone levels to see what’s going on.
Food & your hormones
Hormones are made from healthy fats (specifically, cholesterol). So making sure you are eating & digesting enough is key. Focusing on plant-based fats whenever possible is key to naturally & safely boosting your hormone production. As a general rule, I say 2 servings of fat with each meal (or 6 servings per day if you include snacks) is a great starting place.
Don’t forget, foods like dairy, wheat & refined sugars are all hormone-wreckers since they cause insulin spikes & inflammation within the body. Translation: more stress hormones produced instead of your female hormones, weight gain & bloating. If your hormones are really out of balance let your cravings be a guide to give your body extra support (smaller, regular meals with protein & healthy fats at each)
This could be a full article on its own, but let’s focus on the main ones that will support a healthy menstrual cycle.
Detox protein powder
This is a must for almost everyone, but especially if you’ve just come off the pill. Remember, your liver is your main detox organ and is responsible for clearing out toxins, pollutants, and yes, hormones. Detoxing while on the pill may make it less effective (not a good idea if you are trying to avoid pregnancy), so wait until you are off to start. I love professional, functional medicine brands like this one that contain all the vitamins, minerals & antioxidants to support liver function. Not to mention, the product should always be gluten & dairy free! Simply blend a scoop with your favourite fruits & non-dairy milk and you’re good-to-go!
Activated B complex
For a bit of detox & hormone balance everyday, we need our B vitamins! Although we can get a lot from food, we don’t get nearly enough to help keep our hormonal systems balanced. Keep in mind, the birth control pill depletes your body of many B vitamins (plus vitamin C & magensium) so you need to fill up the tank. Always look for an activated or methylated B complex product in order to ensure your body will actually use what you ingest.
Balancing our hormones can be a stressful job. Since our female hormones & stress glands (a.k.a. ‘Adrenal glands’) are closely linked, we cannot forget about supporting this vital organ. If you’re finding problems with your energy, mood, skin, hair or nails after coming off the pill, you might want to consider a higher potency of vitamin C plus bioflavinoids (antioxidants that work alongside vitamin C for a bigger impact).
Speaking of stress, one of the most beneficial nutrients overall in my opinion is magnesium. Since it’s used for over 300 processes within the body it can be the secret ingredient for overall hormone balancer. It’s also amazing for cravings due to disrupted blood sugar and sleep. Be sure to opt for the highly absorbable form, magnesium glycinate, a true miracle-worker before bedtime!
Our hormonal systems are delicate and require patience while they rebuild & rebalance. Taking a couple of months off from intense workouts, late nights or stressful commitments can make a world of difference. Schedule time in your weekly calendar for a massage, manicure or acupuncture session (amazing for regulating your cycle!). Good things take time.
Have a hormonal question?? Let me know in the comments below.