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I want to empower your health with the steps that freed my life of chronic pain and medications.

Reader Interactions

187 Comments

  1. Great article again, Lauren! I’m convinced that my leaky gut and colitis stems from the birth control pill, which I was on for 9 months a couple of years ago. I’m still working on healing my gut with GAPS and other measures, like you!

    • I recently spoke with someone else who developed colitis after staring The Pill. I absolutely believe it can contribute to – or cause – colitis and other serious gut disorders. I’m glad to hear that you are working on healing your gut with diet!

      • My diet has always been relatively clean throughout my life. It was about 2-3 years ago that I really started learning about organic food, proper nutrition, etc.. You could say I have gotten increasingly healthier. BUT I SOMEHOW GOT COLITIS! Although I am opposed to pharmaceuticals, I decided to go on the pill because I have a serious boyfriend and I didn’t want to risk pregnancy in college.
        Anyway, I am on the Paleo diet, but nothing has helped my colitis (I’ve had it for about 8 months). IT HAS TO BE THE PILL. I’m going off of it starting NOW! I’m mad at myself for taking that crap for so long… I hope it is not too late.. “Permanent damage” to my gut.. 🙁
        Time to heal and go with the natural family planning method!

        • Hey just wanted to let you know, NFP did NOT work for me even though I followed it to the letter. I am married so no biggie, but if you are still in school it’s better to go with the fail safe condoms.

            • I’ve been using the Creighton method for over a year now. (I was on the pill for a long time and have the low drive & weight gain to show for it)

              It takes a few months to get the hang of it (and of not just having sex whenever you want), but I am confident in the process and recommend it.

        • I struggled with severe irritable bowel (always the worst right before my period). A friend had suggested I drink some hot tea or water with grated ginger root. It totally works. I no longer have the symptoms unless I quit doing the ginger tea. I have researched and found that fresh ginger root is recommended with all inflammation and autoimmune problems.

      • Hi Lauren,
        I really hope you answer. I quit the pill 6 months ago and now my hormones are going crazy and im gaining weight and losing hair like mad despite strict diet and regular exercise.
        Im so worried about the weight gain especially as its difficult for me to lose it. Is there any advice you can give me?
        Warmest Regards

          • I would love to know what would help with weight gain, hair loss and crazy hormones. I gave up the pill 3 months ago, still haven’t experienced a period but I am gaining weight despite a healthy vegetarian lifestyle and exercise regime. Please help!

          • Hi Lauren.
            I seem to be having the same problem as Nicole. I’ve always been an active person, and I have a pretty healthy diet as well. When I started the pill the weight just piled itself on and it won’t stop no matter what I do. After being on the pill for 7 years I decided to stop. I just can’t gain anymore weight, or lose anymore hair. I look in the mirror and I look like a complete stranger. I need help. Any advice on what I can do to lose this weight? Because diet and exercise aren’t doing anything. 🙁

            Lauren

          • Hi Lauren,

            I was on Sprintec for a long time to regulate my period and get rid of a host of other period issues….acne, cramps, headaches, loose stool. It helped….but over the last six months I’ve started eating to cure what I feel is adrenal fatigue. I saw immediate improvement and decided to try and stop the pill. It’s been pretty good except for two issues. The hair thinning and the mood is way down along with my energy. I’m eating well and supplementing. What were you going to recommend to Mary for the hair loss? PLEASE…..I don’t want to go back on the pill!

        • Hey Marry,

          Have you ever thought that yor body’s natural hormones may have that effect on the body? The pill contains synthetic but similar hormones to the one a human body would produce each pill contains the appropriate amount of hormone required for your body. Perhaps your natural hormones have different levels and the release of the other hormones that are involved in the cycle are causing your weight gain etc. it’s simple genetics that cannot be controlled by diet however maybe a little tamed. I’d like to also tell you that this website is very biased on it’s view in the pill, it would be a lot better if it provided less subjective answers. All drugs undergo a large series of trials if it was so dangerous it would not be prescribed so easily. Really this website gives women a scare and a reason to scapegoat, however I do think there maybe some but only a little truth to it.

          • Just because the hormones in hormonal birth control are similar to the one the human body produces does not mean they act in the same way inside the human body as our own self made hormones. Honestly, I dont mean to be rude, but have ou notdone any research at all? That is like saying synthetic vitamins are the same as vitamins you get in food. The sad thing about our day is the we have lost sight of the fact that, as one scientist put it, “Sometimes the thing, is not just the thing.” Sure being in the sun causes our bodies to create vitamin D, but taking a synthetic vitamin d supplement is not giving your body the sulfated vitamin d your body makes, nor the other cofactors your body needs to use it. In fact synthetic vitamin d can be dangerous to your health. So it is with hormones, friend. Hormonal birth control is not the same as the hormones your body makes. Not only that, but they are used to bypass the system you have in place. It is well known, and very well documented that they have negative effects on the human body. These are facts. There are many drugs that are in the market that have well documented negative effects. You just have to decide whether the negative effects are worth it to you.

          • This is a good point. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and without the pill i would develop cycsts on my ovaries, grow facial hair, and have terrible acne.
            But thanks to the pill I can stay healthy and live a long life.

      • Hi, Lauren

        Hope you’re doing well!

        Just a quick query, I unfortunately took the pill when I was 16 (been off it for 2 years) to regulate my cycles and much like most women held faith in my physician. As a result I’ve noticed tiny spider veins begin appear on my legs. What would you recommend to prevent further spread? (I’m not close to overweight my bmi is 17.5.)Would getting sclerotherapy possess any unforseen side effects?

        Its so inspiring to see you take control of your psychological and physical state. As my grandmother once you said “You are where you are by right of conciousness” All the best for your future 🙂

      • I’ve had a terrible time the past year + with my hormones. I was 31 years old, gained about 90 lbs and my periods stopped. I went to my gyno and he said PCOS, prescribed metformin and proverra so I’d have a period. When I took the PV, barely anything happened. Long story short, went back to the doc and after blood tests we discovered I was in full on menopause. The weird part was that my estradiol was below 20, but the FH, LH, and TSH are all normal, which is abnormal. That indicates a pituitary problem, but MRI came out clear. Even saw an endo, nobody knew what to do. So they prescribed birth control as hormone replacement, and then gave me too much, which made me sick sick sick, major pain in my abdomen and diarrhea. The gyno said colitis and coincidentally changed the birth control to a Lowe dose. hH said nothing about BC causing colitis! When I read your article my jaw totally dropped because this JUST happened to me. I feel so lost on how to take care of myself. They said that at my age now, 32, that I need hormones. I was beyond miserable before I started taking them and am scared to stop. I have 3 young children who do not deserve a psycho hot flash anxiety crazy mother.

      • Long story short, and endocrinologist “overdosed” me on hormones (31 YO, stopped having periods, low estradiol, but regular FSH and LH, TSH, T3 and 4–extremely odd and rare) given to treat symptoms of menopause. After 2 months I developed extreme abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever. Now my gyn has reduced the hormones after the shocking amount prescribed by endo and I still have the gastric issues, but the severe pain has been reduced. I can tell you without a doubt in my mind that the overdose of hormones caused a significant flare up of the colitis I always suspected I had. I am not going to see a naturopathic MD tomorrow to see if maybe she is interested in actually healing my endocrine situation rather than throwing hormone pills at me.

    • Nothing but hormonal balance helps with any hormone related issues. I’ve been told by multiple specialists and doctors for years that the pill doesn’t do anything, that it doesn’t counteract with anything. WRONG. I just got my blood tests back and I am 21, with the slowest effing metabolism, with an eating disorder and non-responsive estrogen. I’m stopping the pill and hoping for the best. Thank you for the tips. I love chicken liver, when I am off the pill I can enjoy foods and not worry about my weight. Will follow this advice. <3

  2. I made the switch to the NuvaRing a few years ago after trying the pill. I just couldn’t keep up with taking it at the same time on a day to day basis. For a while I stopped using the NuvaRing because it caused horrible craps, I would even get then when I wasn’t on my cycle, craps that were worse than the ones that I already get. But after visiting the doctor and telling her that I was no longer using the NuvaRing her question to me was “Are you trying to get pregnant?”. I didn’t like that asked me that because it made me feel like I had to be on birth control. I am now using the NuvaRing again but I am consisdering not using it anymore because of the horrific cramps that I get.

    I appreciate you doing this post because it gives me some insight to help make decision easier.

    • I don’t think that any type of hormonal birth control is safe or healthy. Even non-hormonal IUDs, such as copper IUDs, are supposed to be “natural” but they throw off mineral balances and cause other health issues. When I need to use birth control (I’m waiting), I have decided that the only healthy birth control is the Natural Fertility Method (also called Natural Family Planning) and condoms. This book explains how to avoid pregnancy by charting your cycles so you know when you are infertile and when you need to use condoms/not have intercourse: http://amzn.to/1942iEU. I thought I should just mention this somewhere in the comments. I am also glad to hear that this post is helpful to you!

        • Just to jump in here (as someone who believes strongly in educating other women about their options for their bodies) on your query in case it was missed…

          While a diaphragm isn’t hormonal birth control (it is a barrier method alone, but more on that below), it is intended to be paired with a spermicidal foam or gel product to kill any sperm which can fit easily between tiny gaps between the diaphragm and your vaginal walls.

          Such spermicides are harsh chemicals known for causing many allergic reactions amongst users. I had this unfortunate reaction myself and the pain… Whoa, it was intense and miserable!! 🙁

          Such methods are usually recommended for people in monogamous relationships due to things like it not being preventative for STIs. In fact, a common spermicidal ingredient (nonoxynol-9) has been shown by the WHO (World Health Organization) to cause micro-tears in mucus membranes (such as the vagina and labia) which increases the chances of contracting STIs… Even AIDS.

          Now, I wouldn’t tell someone there’s no cases where such methods should be used. Always find a “sex -positive”, medically up-to-date practitioner to help you find the right choice for you (check for local clinics, Planned Parenthood, etc, in your area) as many women now wish to and/or MUST avoid hormonal birth control, so there should be other options presented to suit your needs.

          Oh – and while I can’t vouch for it myself, a while ago I was researching this very topic and looked for natural spermicides, curious about possible traditional methods, etc. I stumbled across something called ContraGel Green; it’s a natural spermicidal product and shockingly had very safe ingredients. It has Health Canada certification (I’m Canadian, so I recall that specifically. Health Canada is like our FDA, basically.)

          It is non-prescription, too, but I’m unsure of its availability. If interested, I’m sure a simple search could give you more info. (It would be ideal to improve effectiveness of condoms, so seems to have great potential).

          I hope that helps a bit!

      • I can attest that Natural Family Planning is great. I’ve been doing it for 10 years with no “surprises.” You might be interested in a Facebook group for it: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NFPfans/ Also, Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a fantastic book for one type of NFP. There are several types of NFP depending on your needs and instructors out there that can teach you in any of the methods.

        NFP uses natural body signs to detect when you are fertile and when you are not. It is NOT the old Rhythm Method which relied on a calendar basis. This is highly scientific and as efficacious as the pill but working with your body signs. http://www.iusenfp.com/ has lots of good info about it. I have found it incredibly empowering to learn about how wonderfully my body works. The great thing about NFP is that it can help you conceive too and there are NFP doctors out there that can use your info to detect cycle problems and infertility and CURE them, instead of pushing you to use IVF to get pregnant. Working with your body and not poisoning it with chemicals is definitely the way to go!

      • I was on the nuva ring for years and got off of it because I was moving and forgot to get a new prescription. I am SO thankful for my procrastination/forgetfulness this time! I believe being on birth control for years has caused leaky gut. I feel like I will always struggle with gut health because of birth control, but I am doing everything in my power to heal my gut now.

        I have been off birth control for 2 years now and no pregnancies yet. We use condoms and Natural Family Planning to know when I am most fertile. At my most fertile time of the month, I let my husband know that I may be ovulating and we make sure to be extra careful. Nothing scares a guy more then the word ovulation haha.

    • My doctor acted the same way when I stopped using birth control pills nearly two months ago. We switched to latex-free condoms and Natural Family Planning, which I successfully used years ago when my husband and I wanted to conceive our daughter during a specific month. When I stopped using birth control pills I stopped having the daily cramps.

    • I was also put on NuvaRing as well. I didn’t do well with the pill (after being on and off of it for decades) and the opening to my uterus was too tiny to get an IUD (thank God because that would have been permanent and caused horrible problems). After trying the NuvaRing two months, I had to stop. I was in bed, unable to eat, vomiting, migraines, and just didn’t do well at all. After I stopped using it, I got better.

  3. I was literally just talking to a friend about this very subject yesterday. I’ve been off the pill for about three months now and still feel totally out of whack. I was telling her that I wish there was something I could do to help myself get normal again, both with my menstrual cycle and my skin issues that have been acting up since then despite eating a pretty darn clean paleo diet. So happy to hear there is something I can do! Thank you for this!

    • You posted your comment a while ago, so I hope you’re better by now.
      I stopped taking the pill last may and it took my body and especially my skin a while to stop freaking out about it.
      But there’s definitely a light at the end of the tunnel 🙂
      My skin is just now returning to the “pill” state and I still have backne (hooray to that).

      Lauren, I don’t eat meat (and never liked liver even before) and I was wondering if there are any vegetables that might help with the hormonal imbalance? My hormones are all over the place and it’s driving me nuts. I read the article about the carrots (def. starting that tomorrow!) and am kinda hoping there are some more veggies like that out there?

      Thanks for all the info you share on this site, btw 🙂

  4. This is an excellent post, I have been through so many of the things you spoke of here and recently. I have been dealing with horrible experiences that have led to these hormone imbalances. I was given a book called My Hormones by Douglas Ginter, myhormones.com is the site. I recommend it, it’s really a great resource for me as it discusses ways to alter your lifestyle to better balance your health! Something to look at!

    • I’m glad this post is helpful to you! I’ve actually written even more about lifestyle and dietary changes to address hormone imbalances in my digital book Quit PMS. I’m familiar with My Hormones and it has some great points although I don’t agree with everything. But it’s wonderful that it helped you so much!

  5. Hi! I love your blog and normally I agree with most of it, but I don’t agree with this. I’m 16 and without the pill, I get terrible acne NO MATTER HOW CLEAN I eat and NO MATTER HOW WELL I TAKE CARE OF MY SKIN. Plus, I get cramps so bad I literally cannot go to school without the pill. My mom’s also an OBGYN and she wouldn’t prescribe it to any of her patients if she wouldn’t allow my doctor to give it to me.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your struggle with severe acne but I still strongly believe that The Pill is never the right choice to address skin issues. Sometimes, it isn’t a matter of just clean eating but of eating to heal hormones and to balance gut issues. A tailored supplemental protocol is usually necessary, too. I would recommend working with a nutritional therapist as well as getting weekly acupuncture sessions with an experienced acupuncturist.

      • I second your feedback, Lauren! Drew, your body is not naturally set to such a miserable state. And what would you have done before the pill was invented? Just expect to suffer all your life? It sometimes sucks to realize that your solution requires even MORE strict and specific dietary needs, but it pays off once you find out what those exact needs are and experience the healthy state of your body. Lauren has TONS of resources (and research!) about this exact topic. I wish you the best of health and I am sending encouraging thoughts your way!

      • Hi lauren,
        I am thrilled by ur comments on the pill and how it helps to worsen cases, I am 24yrs, but my period started @ 13 and it was really heavy, then it became irregular, and @ 16 I can record 6 straight months of not having a period, then I was placed on the pill, I used the pill irregularly, and I stopped using the pill when I was 20, I can go a year without a period, but recently in this year I was diagnosed with anovulatory high LH, and my progesteron was really low. Then I was concerned and showed another doc the result of the diagnosis, then she placed me on the pill, right now this is the second pack of the birthcontrol pill. What ever the result is, my fear is my ability to concieve, cos I am not married yet, hoping to get married soon and please what do you suggest is wrong with my hormones, with my inability to ovulate and have a period. Please lauren and peeps I need suggestions. Thanks

    • I agree with Lauren about this. And I was right where you are now except that I am now 28 with a loving husband and two kids. But in High School I missed enough days that I was finally homeschooled! Horrible acne and cramps and heavy periods alternating to almost no period. When I graduated I finally began a healthier eating journey of clean eating and I got off birth control, I went through 3 years of what I now look at as a detox where my skin and cramps were still terrible, but I kept on going. I found out about melaleuca honey from New Zealand and I started putting a thin layer of that on my face for a few minutes then rinse followed by coconut oil once every day. Overnight success!! Eventually my body got back to normal and I was able to finally conceive twins in my first pregnancy. As a result of healing my hormones naturally I had NO ISSUES whatsoever during my pregnancy. I was perfect and my doc was surprised. Afterwards my body did everything it needed to do and about 2 years later I was back to normal period wise with no cramps, no acne, healed skin from suffering from acne for years, and two very healthy and holistically raised kids. It may take time and you may have to suffer through but trust the process and trust that your pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong! At least give this process a try before you deem it untrue and unworthy.

      • Thanks for sharing this…i have been on birth control for 10+ years (many kinds — yasmin, nuva ring, IUD, nuva ring again) and finally my ND/Acupuncturist convinced me to go off of it. I have had SO many health issues over the past 3 years and i’m only 27. I have suffered from anxiety, depression, weight gain, weight loss, loss of hair, horrible stomach problems, infected root canals and more. I have really never been able to get to the bottom of things because there are SO many different things going on with me. I am now also convinced that Birth Control (as well as diet) have been the cause of my issues. I am desperate for help and my ND has been trying everything to help me. I’ve changed my diet, gone on and off of many different types of supplements and cannot get this figured out. I’m convinced it’s my hormones and my ND is trying hard to help me figure it out but nothing seems to be working. I have the worst acne I’ve ever ecperienced. Horrible, deep, reccuring cystic acne unlike I have ever had in my life. I hope this trick works and if you or anyone else has any other advice, I’d greatly appreciate it.

        • I’m 26 yrs old, very similar situation. I have been off the pill for 1 year. My depression has been so extreme, I feel it must be my hormones trying to balance back after 10 years on the pill. I hope you find help, as I am seeking help too. Cutting milk, yogurt, and as much other daily as possible helped my cystic acne, too much fake sugar make mine appear again.

    • Try giving up all dairy for awhile. This was the thing that finally worked for me in my late 30’s. It also worked for my daughter, who was 17 when we went off dairy. We avoided dairy almost completely for almost a year. Now we do eat dairy occasionally, and still have clear skin.

  6. Brilliant! Thanks for this post! I was put on birth control as a band aid. After 3 years, I decided it just made me feel too awful and went off it. It took me 6 months just to get my period back. I wish I had never gone on the pill. I wish my ob/gyn had bothered to actually look into what was causing my symptoms.

    I will never use hormonal birth control again and I am so glad that my fiance and new doctor are supportive of Natural Family Planning.

  7. I went off the pill in May 2012. I got my period shortly after, and have not gotten it since then! I started working with a natural doctor last January, cleaned up my diet (mostly paleo and 100% gluten-free), and have been taking tons of supplements that my doctor suggested. Still no period! I had an MRI done to rule out a pituitary tumor. I’m at a loss….

  8. I love your blog but sadly i take pills because i have a fibroid problem, recently the doctor told me that i have fibroids in my uterus so there’s nothing i can do to eliminate them and that the pill it’s a very good control damage option, what you recommend?
    thanks!

    • I started developing fibroids in my breasts and the doctors had no idea what was causing them. I later found out from a friend that her doctor took her off BCP because they were causing her to grow fibroids. I went off BCP and haven’t had more issues of nodules and fibroids.

  9. THANK YOU THANK YOU for this post!!! I was on so many different bcp’s in high school and college (which were recommended to me by my GP in order to help with my ANEMIA…still a little bitter about that call) and after trying 8 different ones, I decided to stop since, clearly my body was rejecting any sort of toxin to regulate my cycle. Here I am, a year and a half later and I’m still trying to repair my leaky gut and clear up my skin, which broke out a few days after stopping the pill. I also have Candida overgrowth. It seems like the list goes on but thankfully I have access to great naturopathic/holistic practitioners and this blog to help me!

    • Thanks for sharing this…i have been on birth control for 10+ years (many kinds — yasmin, nuva ring, IUD, nuva ring again) and finally my ND/Acupuncturist convinced me to go off of it. I have had SO many health issues over the past 3 years and i’m only 27. I have suffered from anxiety, depression, weight gain, weight loss, loss of hair, horrible stomach problems, infected root canals and more. I have really never been able to get to the bottom of things because there are SO many different things going on with me. I am now also convinced that Birth Control (as well as diet) have been the cause of my issues. I am desperate for help and my ND has been trying everything to help me. I’ve changed my diet, gone on and off of many different types of supplements and cannot get this figured out. I’m convinced it’s my hormones and my ND is trying hard to help me figure it out but nothing seems to be working. I have the worst acne I’ve ever ecperienced. Horrible, deep, reccuring cystic acne unlike I have ever had in my life. Do you have any advice? how long did it take your acne to clear up? I don’t eat corn, dairy or gluten….

  10. Thanks for posting this! I went on birth control for 6 months after I got married. It made me feel so weird so I got off it and started using non-hormone methods of birth control (family planning/ condoms – so far so good 🙂 ) And it took a while for my emotions to even out again. On top of that, I just realized, that about the time I started taking the birth control I started experiencing severely itchy legs all day every day. I have been trying to figure out the cause for the past year and a half – not mold, not detergent, not fabrics – and realized a few months ago that it is most likely Candida. However I never saw the link between the birth control and the Candida and now it all makes more sense! Thanks for the tips!

  11. Wow, as in the postmenopausal geezer demographic have heard so many histories like these plus my own. Survey of a few of the problems. 1) The endocrine system is like a chord organ and you can’t punch a few keys without affecting the cathedral–maybe broken glass or roof totters (pituitary anybody?). 2) BCPs affect the alimentary canal from arse to teakettle. Plus residuals of pills are not necessarily fully digested or metabolized and will pile up for colitis, suppress certain things and blast others (as example, many women after long BCP course become “anovulatory” and can’t tell what’s up like Carrie in Homeland)

    In the “First Wave” of BCP’s all of us would do girltalk–we had straight hair, shampoo wouldn’t even foam. We all had chloasma, the mask of pregnancy. Some on the face, some on the decollete. You would go into the “Girl’s Room” and listen to sister BCP’ers straining to poop normally.. It turned out later that the initial dosages were 10 times the estrogen needed. Pills which also keep you hyper-estrogenated also enhance cervical erosion cells and you can get an alarming Pap test, no kiddin’,, I had one. Talk about the lab rats generation.

    Since I was associated with pioneer alternative folks, besides going off the pill I got a 2 ft long XFrench is the size, I think, catheter, soft rubber, fits on a aregular enema nozzle, both side and end opening for gentle purge. I lay in the bathtub and gave myself a couple of daily high but not too high old fashioned enemas. Which cleared my whole system in a couple of weeks and felt like me again. Have since had RN’s say you were smart, it took them months to clear their gut of effects of The Pill.

    Bless Lauren and respondents. From “menarche” to menopause is a long trip, can be a lot more amiable with sisterly “Attitude”. Everything we do now is creating a happy healthy body for the whole next decades so it’s ‘way ‘way worth the trouble!!! love to all (I’m 80–if you knew you were going to live that long, it’s worth the care and discipline to nix a lot and add better stuff plus your kids and grandkids will thank you for it!)

  12. I too had major issues after being on the pill for 10 years to help regulate my period =/ Finally after 1.5 years after going off the pill, my period started again and I am working to get it balanced on its own. Lots of probiotics and fermented foods, gut healing, cleansing, bioidenticals, liquid ionic minerals, adrenal support, stress management, etc. etc. so not worth it! Thanks for sharing 🙂 the pill should not be handed out like candy!

  13. I definitely agree that we need to question the long and short term health effects of hormonal birth control (while hopefully not feeding an agenda that wants to limit access and make decisions FOR women based on moral/ religious principals). I am curious, however: what sources have led you to believe that all women in “early societies” menstruated at the new moon? It’s an interesting and beautiful idea, but it is a rather broad statement that I imagine is not easily verified.
    Thank you!

  14. This is a great post and I would like to share it with a friend who is currently being put on progesterone because she has yet to receive her period (she’s 20yrs) but I need the scientific articles proving all of this. DO you happen to have them? their links?

  15. I would be careful with liver…I ordered liver pills from radiant life and the first night I took one it gave me horrible indigestion and I felt great the next day took another one that night and woke up the next day sick as a dog nausea and vomit like a pregnant person…I called them and they will not refund my money. Buyer beware I guess!

  16. Long-time reader, first time commenter! Thank you so much for posting this. I took the pill for 3 years. While I was on it I had relatively perfect skin and normal menstruation. At some point in the third year, I started experiencing breakthrough bleeding in the middle of the month, so I finally quite the pill altogether. That was 2 years ago. Unfortunately, I also received 2 Gardasil shots at around the same time, and my body has been going haywire trying to recover ever since. I’ve taken probiotics and improved my diet, but I still struggle with mild but persistent adult acne and odd menstrual cycles (more blood clots than ever before, and lots of “old blood” days). I often feel bizarrely irritable–I will wake up and feel angry at the world, for no reason. It has been so frustrating and sad at times trying to get my body back on track in a toxic world. Thank you so much for your website; it has become one of my favorites!

    • Have you considered getting checked for uterine fibroids? Your comments on odd menstrual cycles, old blood and clots could be symptoms. Estrogen stimulates fibroid growth and most birth controll pills contain it. I’m very sensitive to estrogen and I took the pill for years. I just had fibroids removed a couple months ago and I had the same symptoms. I never felt right after being on the pill.

  17. What a great article. I would love to get off BCP, but unfortunately I need to stay on it since i have no ovaries. Otherwise I go into menopause. I am only in my 30’s. It was either stay on BCP or start hormone replacement therapy. I chose the lesser of 2 evils. I have been on BCP since I was 18. And when I finally decided to get off it, I grew cysts on my ovaries which resulted into several surgeries which finally removed them and my Fallopian tubes (the cysts were twisted around them) I am looking forward to my 40’s when I have the choice to go into early menopause and no longer take BCP. (how many look forward to that?) They say if I go into early menopause now, I increase my risk to a million and one diseases. I can’t wait for my body to just be medication free.

  18. Thank you for this great article Lauren! I have been suffering from adult cystic acne for the past 5 months and your website has been a guiding light through this hellish experience of adult acne. I was on birth control pills for 10 years which provided consistent periods and somewhat good skin. Around year 7 I was tired of getting the occasional cysts on my nose wings so my dermatologist prescribed me spironolactone and I took that for 3 years along with the BCP. It’s been a year since getting off birth control since my sex drive was non-existent, and I stopped taking the spiroaldactone this past summer since I am trying to get pregnant. The cystic acne flare-ups have been non-stop on my jaw/chin, nose wings and hairline. I’ve gone gluten-free and dairy free and go for weekly acupuncture treatments. Lauren, please shed some insight or an additional article about the dangers of mixing BCP and spiroaldactone. I hope the probiotics will help my gut which will be another step in the right direction..

  19. I took them a long time ago for about a year. During that year I had many bladder infections. But most noticeably, I had all the “emotional” type symptoms mentioned in your post. When I asked friends if the pills could cause these things, no one thought that was possible. But when I asked the doctor the same thing, he admitted that “some people react that way to them.” After discontinuing them, some things got better, especially the “emotional” symptoms, but it did seem I was somewhat permanently changed. After about 7 years not using them, some circumstances caused me to try them again, against my better judgment. I lasted one month before I was such a mess I knew I couldn’t go on. As soon as I stopped taking them, again things cleared up greatly. It was fortunate that I discontinued this brand especially, as there are now lawsuits advertised on tv for those who took them. I am convinced they are terrible for health and thank you for your post as this is controversial and a somewhat rare opinion.

  20. What about Ovarian Cyst issues? I am probably going to have to go on the Pill to control this horrible mess and stop my period. Each month every time my period arrives I feel worse and worse and I only experience a break in relief for 1-2 weeks a month. Every other day around that is just terrible.

  21. thank you for the article. I take BeYaz. i have been on it for about 5 years. I only stay on it because I don’t want anymore children. I am 35 with a 15 year old. I am thinking that the BCP’s may be a contributor to my migraines. they come every month about 1-2 weeks before my period starts. sometimes i even get a bonus one! they are getting more severe. I was thinking of stopping the pills in hopes that the migraines become less severe or go away all together. I am not responsible enough to do the natural family planning & don’t like condoms. I was looking into getting my tubes tied. i have been reading about Essure. has anyone had that procedure? sounds almost too good to be true.

  22. I was raised on a good organic garden, lived in pristine wilderness in Maine and ate relatively healthy/clean when left to my own in college. My gut went absolutely haywire and I keep going over everything again and again in my head and where I went wrong and how this could have happened to me. I felt like such a failure and wondered why did I restrain myself and worry about taking such good care of my body if I’m so much worse off than all my friends who drink and smoke all the time? I think it all goes back to being on the BCP for 5 years at the time all the gut stuff begain. I stayed on it for 8 yeas total until the time I finally realized that the doctors weren’t going to save me and I had to change my diet. I started GAPS diet and got off the pill right away. Thank you for helping me feel better about how I didn’t necessarily do this to myself or that I’m not getting what I deserve for some mistake I have failed to remember. My husband and I have been doing NFP for over a year. We are successfully “avoiding” but also I am scared we won’t conceive when we do start trying so thank you for the healing pointers. I was such a child when my doctor prescribed it, (mainly because all my friends were starting it and we were just “that age”…) I didn’t even know myself enough to be able to see how it changed me. My entire adult life was spent believing that I was a horrible mess, totally unstable, boarder line bipolar, and that I had a terrible monster living in me. Within 6 mo of getting off the BCP I discovered that I’m actually a completely different person, that was just a really terrible costum I was stuck wearing! I’m so sad for all those lost years of not really being me, how would my life be different if I were calm, stable, and free from GI pain? The only thing to do is look ahead, thoug. I agree with a previous comment that we need to do more to spread the word of the complications of hormonal BC without taking away from women’s choices, education and access.

  23. Hi,

    Great article, I just quit the Pill after quite a few years of usage and only realised all thenegatives now, while researching the bets ways for recovery/optimizing the body before TTC.

    I am wondering what is the difference between Biotics Research – Cytozyme-PT/HPT with Lamb Pituitary/Hypothalamus Complex Concentrate recommended in your article and Biotics Research – Cytozyme-THY with Neonatal Thymus Tissue Concentrate (meaning do they work differently? I have tried to order the one with lamb pituitary but only the calf one is available through UK amazon)

    Thanks a lot,

    Lana

  24. This is such a great article! I had been struggling with hating my body while on the pill for years – and in August went off it completely and now use a diaphram and condoms (double barriers!). It has been the best choice I have ever made! My OB had to recommend me to get fitted for my diaphram since she wasn’t trained (apparently they aren’t doing that anymore…) but I’ve found it a wonderful alternative to prevent pregnancy and still be natural. Thanks for the awesome article!

  25. Wow, this article is so awesome! I just got off of the pill and it being on it for a year was a terrible experience. I was depressed, irritable, moody, fatigued, I had no libido whatsoever, I was constantly getting sick etc. The day after I got off of it, I felt as though I was on cloud nine! This article makes me feel even better about my choice to get off of the pill.

  26. I find this interesting but I’ curious how you manage your periods? I’ve been on the pill for 10 years, initially because I had an extremely heavy flow. I never noticed any problems, but recently I’m getting dry itchy patches on my eyelids and neck. Maybe that’s a side effect? I’d love your thoughts! 🙂

  27. Hello! I’ve been using hormonal birth control for about 4 years. I’ve run out of my prescription now and see this as a good opportunity to explore the Natural Fertility Method. But the comments and research I’ve encountered in the past suggest that this is not always effective (even when done accurately?) and I do not want a pregnancy at this moment in my life. Mind-body health is very important to me, and so learning how to understand and follow my natural cycles is high up on my agenda, but I admit it feels like a giant leap to continue having sex with my partner without The Pill, even with the use of condoms. Perhaps I am indulging in a bit of paranoia, but I don’t have the resources to support a child, and I don’t want to take any unnecessary risks, all the while continuing to have an intimate and lovely relationship with my partner.
    I’d really appreciate hearing from someone who can relate to my feelings on this matter!

    • I purchased the book Honoring Our Cycles: A Natural Family Planning Workbook, and I feel much more at ease about charting my cycles. Our culture here in America perpetuates sexual misinformation, and this book is something I would love to have had many years ago, when my menstrual cycle began. I do recommend it to anyone looking to begin charting her cycles. Thanks, Lauren, for sharing this book on your blog.
      (The women’s stories in this book tend to have a religious slant to them, where intercourse is only performed between a husband and a wife. But this book is clearly written, and all of the information helpful and concise. )

  28. I have been on the pill for about three years now to deal with severe endometriosis. I had emergency surgery four years ago for the endo which was growing inside my ovaries and all over inside my body cavity. I have never been the same since the surgery and I am terrified to go through it again. I spent so much time and money doing natural treatments for the first year after the surgery (under the supervision of a naturopath)… I really put a huge effort into it. I was taking all kinds of things at all hours of the day. But it wasn’t working and I simply could not afford it anymore. The pill costs me $25 a month and the pain is gone and ultrasounds show no endo growth in my ovaries (it was already coming back nine months after the surgery). It makes my very sad to take the pill and I wish I didn’t have to. I just don’t see another way.

    • Amy, I appreciate your comment so much. I’m recovering from surgery a couple of months ago for severe endometriosis that had spread throughout my entire abdominal cavity. I had one ovary and Fallopian tube removed due to endometriosis. I’m still traumatized from the whole experience-I did not want any surgery at all and spent months (years, really) in agony while trying to improve my health through diet, supplements and other natural treatments. Currently my choices (from my GYN) are more surgery (likely in the next year) or the pill. Very discouraging, as I don’t want either of these options. It makes me very sad, too.
      Thank you for sharing your comment.

      • This is exactly what I’m going through. I’m starting on the pill after being diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis. There’s so much conflicting information out there. Sometimes, all we can do is make the best choice we can with what we have. And I’m going to start on the pill, rather than be faced with more surgery, or an injection that puts my body into menopause for six months at a time. I’m in my twenties. I am likely infertile because of the damage caused by endometriosis. There is no right answer in this situation. There’s no way to predict the outcomes. Please don’t feel bad about having to take medication. We do what we have to, and we have to work with the cards we’ve been dealt. Good luck & encouraging hugs to my fellow endo sisters.

        • Thank you, you three! I hate how people think that anyone can just “go off” the pill and try something natural. I can’t control what is going on in my body. I too have severe endometriosis and I thought I could try just “going off” to see if I felt better. After 4 months the pain was so bad I had to go back on. Also during that time, I developed a cyst (surprise surprise) that ended up rupturing. Not worth it. It’s either birth control or a hysterectomy, I don’t see any other solution.

  29. i was on the pill for most of my twenties until i went off to conceive my first daughter (who incidentally has major gluten, dairy and soy intolerances). after she was born i developed postpartum thyroiditis that has never resolved. i’ve developed the same intolerances too and just had bloodwork done. despite being on the paleo/auto-immune paleo diet and doing a lot to heal my gut, i am deficient in all the B vitamins, folate and magnesium. i can’t believe these results would linger 10 years post pill! thanks for your helpful research!

  30. Do you recommend taking both Prescript-Assist Broad Spectrum Probiotic Prebiotic Complex and Bio-Kult Probiotic? Or just one or the other? Also could I am not great at taking the time to make bone broth. Could I replace the bone broth with gelatin? Thanks so much for this article!

    • I recommend the Prescript Assist over Biokult and there is no need to take both. I do recommend eating fermented food in addition to it. Gelatin from grassfed cows (Great Lakes Gelatin) has much of the benefits of bone broth, but it lacks the minerals, which is important for restoring the nutrient deficiencies.

  31. Could you possibly give me more information on the Biotics Research – Cytozyme-PT/HPT with Lamb Pituitary/Hypothalamus Complex Concentrate supplement? I’ve been off the pill for about 6 months and have regular periods, but my skin is definitely still suffering. Is the supplement good for anyone who has stopped the pill or is it more for those who have irregular cycles, I’m just not sure how the furnace metaphor works in relation to my body and would love to know more. Thank You.

  32. I just finished reading your “Quit PMS” e-book and am going to start on this healing journey! I have probiotics, bones that I will use to make bone broth, I definitely want to try healing my hormones with the moon cycle…just yesterday I got raw milk and am LOVING it!! In your e-book you mention going on a raw milk diet if your stomach is having digestive issues (thank you 7 years of BCPs). Do you have any insight as to how I can go about it in a healthy way? I’m so looking forward to getting my hormones in check, FINALLY!!!

  33. I would also recommend a nettle infusion — a big handful of dried nettles (I also add a small handful of spearmint, which is rich in B vitamins, as well as tasting nice) in a quart of boiling water, steeped for 20 – 30 minutes at least. I take this in the afternoons.

    I took the pill for a couple years in my very early 20s. I’ve been off it for 7 years now — so glad. We use NFP as well, with success. I hope to conceive again in a year or so, so we’re relying on that until then. Plus I’m nourishing myself as well as I can now! You can heal from it — I believe I have, and my later babies are so much healthier than my earlier babies (when I didn’t know anything about traditional diets).

  34. Hi Lauren, thank you for this post. I took the pill for quite a few years, and then stopped as I wasn’t in a relationship. I realised I felt better and suspected it might be the absence of the pill (only having heard bits and pieces about the pill possibly causing depression/irritability). Recently, I tried the pill again and it only took me a few weeks to decide never to take it again! I almost immediately felt irritable, irrational, upset. I asked the advice of a doctor and pharmacist but generally my experience is that they do not like talking negatively about the pill. The pharmacist however at least recommended some B vitamins. I am also now eating a carrot a day after reading your post about that.
    Interesting what you mentioned about the moon. My cycle always seems to eventually return to a ‘default’, just like you say, no matter what the disruption (such as the pill).
    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and trying your recipes, it’s a really wonderful blog, clear and fun to read, and I have just made your banana ginger bar recipe too! Thank you for posting all these lovely recipes and advice. Jenny

  35. Hello. I’m curious where you find most of your information? I find too much conflicting information when I’m researching. Do you have a favorite source? Thank you so much!

  36. Hi! I found this all super interesting. I would love to stop taking the pill but unfortunately due to an ovarian cyst that developed on one of my ovaries when I was 17, it actually ended up killing that ovary and I had to have emergency surgery to remove it. I was put on birth control right after that to regulate my hormones (my periods were always all over the place) so my cysts wouldn’t get out of control and kill my other ovary and I’m terrified to go off of it now. Its been four years and I haven’t had any issues with my birth control, but it seems like some other ladies have this cyst problem too. Not sure if you have any advice for women who need it for cysts or a way to reduce the damage while still using it.

  37. Hi Lauren – you do not mention HRT here – would you say the same things about that? I went on HRT because of an early menopause – I think it caused my ulcerative colitis – I am now in a big mess and intolerant to almost all foods (especially those that will help me = broth and yogurt!) have adrenal fatigue etc. Slowly trying to come off the HRT as my body is so sensitive now and really need to do some healing but not able to tolerate things! Thanks for your posts.

  38. I currently have amenorrhea from anorexia a few years ago. I have maintained a steady weight and am still active but not as much as when I was ill. I went without a period for about 2 years before the doctors started me on the birth control pill. The first month I got a “period” and was right on with each sugar week. That lasted about 6 months before I said enough and begged to be taken off of it. A year later, still no natural period even after detoxifying my body, chiropractic work, and other intense integrative nutrition help. Now I am back on the pill so that other issues such as bone loss and uterine cancer don’t become an issue. I have been taking the pill for the second time now for 2 months and I dread taking it everyday because I know how terrible it is for my body. When ever I have free time I try researching how to get menses back naturally after what I put my body through. Overall, I haven’t had much luck other than the few articles on your blog which give me hope, inspiration, and motivation! 🙂 The problem of not menstruating naturally is always in the back of my mind, pestering me to figure it out.

    If anyone knows of anything I should try or if there is a book, article, or website I should read LET ME KNOW!! I am a very health conscious individual in college and all I want is to be healthy, happy, and feel live, just like any young adult should feel.

    Thank you for such an awesome blog as well! I really enjoy reading each post and am always coming back for more 🙂

    • Kara, I am going through a very similar process as you.
      I’d love to get in touch with you. Perhaps we could help each other…Would you be willing to give me your e-mail address?

      One thing that comes to mind…On the quest for good health, we often fall into traps of what is healthy and not healthy. Mainstream nutrition, for example, has it that cholesterol, saturated fat, salt (etc.) are bad for us. However, we absolutely NEED cholesterol for our bodies to produce sex hormones. Does your diet have adequate cholesterol? Are you getting enough saturated fat (your body can produce cholesterol from saturated fat)?

      How is your cortisol? If your cortisol is too high, it can throw off other reactions in your body – namely the hormones.

      Another blog you may wish to check out is Healthful Pursuit. Leanne talks openly about her eating disorder history, how she overcame it, and what she used and did (A big part of healing is mental – learning to relax, be calm, be still, learning to love yourself again….It may sound cheesy, but…). I would also encourage you to keep reading this blog and others like this one (Perhaps also check out the Weston A. Price foundation) . Do NOT be tempted by pro-vegan or pro-“clean-eating” blogs (which for all intents and purposes usually just mean low-calorie and will wreak havoc on your system)…

      If you’re worried about your bones and taking a bone-building supplement (calcium, magnesium, boron), make sure you are taking Vitamin K along with it. Calcium doesn’t know where to go (and can lead to calcification around the heart – which then can lead to heart attacks) (Check out the “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox” book!) Vitamin K tells Calcium where to go. You also need to be on Vitamin D…

      Although Lauren wouldn’t agree – some argue that boosting estrogen with phytoestrogens and isoflavones can be the way to go…Since I can’t handle soy (which is big source), I will be starting on a Black Cohosh tincture soon.

      Things to check out:

      http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/2013/09/the-one-thing-thats-holding-me-back/

      http://www.healthyimmunity.com/

      http://www.amazon.com/Diet-Recovery-Restoring-Metabolism-Relationship-ebook/dp/B00AFG09FU/ref=la_B001KIM1IA_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399933478&sr=1-3
      (and possibly other by Matt Stone)

      http://www.paleoforwomen.com/
      (She might have a focus on PCOS, which is an estrogen-dominant problem, but there ARE other things to be found on this site. For example, she talks about eating disorder and she also talks about upping the carbs for better health)

      Once again…if you want to get in touch, please write your e-mail address and I will send you a message!

      I wish you all the very best. I know how hard this is. I’m living it everyday…Much love.

    • Hi,
      I didn’t have a period for 2 years after coming off the pill. I went really hard in terms of good diet and supplements but nothing seemed to change. The only thing that worked was accupuncture. I had it for three months and then she used this electric box which connected to the needles over my ovaries. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling but I got used to it. Only lasted around 20-30mins anyway. I immediately felt really angry after the session, for absolutely no reason, like PMS angry. Then my skin went greasy and I felt hungry. Within four days I had my first natural period in 2 years (it was pretty painful and unpleasant but I was over the moon none the less). I’ve had a 32 day cycle ever since, every month. You said you’ve tried other things so maybe accupuncture was one of them but I just wanted to share my experience with you. Sending love your way.

  39. Hi Lauren! I’m dealing with Hashimoto’s and am SO glad I came across your blog. This post made me feel slightly sick upon reading…I was on the pill for 5 years in my early twenties! I came off them because I was starting to take a more holistic approach to health and thought it unwise to be on them any longer. I wish I had never started in the first place! Now that I’m married and a mother of one (planning for more), I am so glad to see your suggestions for healing the damage done by the pill. I remember always having bad menstrual cramping and acne (part of why I went on the pill), but after that time on the pill I started to get hot flashes when I got cramps! I knew something was wrong for me to have hot flashes in my twenties. I was glad I had stopped taking them, but didn’t realize that I could detox my body.

    I now just have to get over the emotional aspect…the fact that I’ve potentially damaged my children as well as myself. I’m working on healing my son from allergies, which I believe are from his exposure to vaccines in his second month (and now I know that the damage to my gut and therefore his could be another part of that puzzle). Thankfully, I’ve stopped those and he’ll never get another one, but it’s taken more than the lion’s share of research on my part to really get my family on track for a chemical-free, healthy lifestyle.

    Anyway, that was my long-winded way of telling you that I really appreciate the resource that this blog is…the wealth of information and the positive approach you take is exactly how I’m trying to view the difficulties I’m facing. I wish you the best in your own journey to full health!

  40. I was also on the pill for at least 7 years. I no longer take it and really does do so much harm to our bodies. As far as birth control I highly recommend the Lady Comp. It is expensive but so worth the investment. Basically as soon as you wake up you take your basal temperature and it will give you a red light or a green light. Red meaning you are ovulating and green you are safe to have sex. I highly recommend it! I have used it for the past year and it has been perfect tracks my cycle perfectly. Just Google the Lady Comp and you can order directly from them.

  41. This is great! I was on the Mirena IUD for about 2 years and lost nearly 2/3 of my hair (and many doctors visits about the hair loss) before it occurred to me the only foreign substance in body was the IUD. I then went to the NuvaRing. I can’t even begin to tell you the GI issues I went through for more than 6 months before I finally saw a doctor, plus my hair was still falling out. Did every test in the book and was being sent to a GI specialist before I finally suggested to try a different birth control (because GI issues ARE NOT a side effect of the NuvaRing). One week off the ring and I was normal again. I was fine on the Sprintec pill until they switched it to a different generic pill – MonoLinyah – and bam, all sorts of issues. Did my research and found MonoLinyah had about 20 more inactive ingredients than Sprintec even though the hormonal make up is the same, but my insurance wouldn’t cover a non-generic brand. Finally decided to go off birth control all together and use natural family planning (which I once got pregnant on, so I was reluctant). Since I’ve been off birth control, I feel so different, especially when it comes to PMS, cramps, and my period – because I have pretty much none. No remarkable PMS, no cramps until I actually start my period, and my period is only 2 days long. I don’t retain water, I’ve lost weight, I have so much more energy, I could go on and on…

  42. I need your help. I have been on the pill for approx 15 years with the only extended break being on Implanon for about 2-3 years in my early 20’s. I am now 30. I have tried to stop the pill two other times and have had after one month off the most horrific acne. I am too scared to try again and just keep taking it for the sake of not getting bad skin, even though i feel angry and get pmt and depressed…because of this I changed pills from levelen ed to yas or isabelle and have been taking that for the last 6 months now. I really want to give it another go but need to know how best to prepare and if there is any other alternative to the acne or balancing the hormones. I am not even worried about pregnancy as i have not had a bf in so many years but just the acne scares me again. I am a yoga teacher, exercise and healthy and eat well well but just cannot seem to loose the extra 5-10 kilos of weight. i have am really keen for your words of wisdom to make this the least disruptive process. Thank you

  43. Lauren – thank you so much for writing this article and thereby validating my own theories and intuition. I have said for YEARS that the BCP messed up my hormones and have unfortunately left my body damaged. I suffered miscarriages, developed adrenal fatigue as well as a heart arrhythmia (AFib) that becomes active when my hormones wildly ebb and flow (which is often). It’s been so incredibly frustrating to go to doctor after doctor and practitioner after practitioner looking for a way to heal my body only to be treated as if I don’t know what I am talking about. I’m so angry that BCP is so cavalierly prescribed to young girls. If only I could go back and do things differently…..It makes me so sad. But thank you for these solutions – I am anxious to try them and hopeful that I can reverse the damage.

  44. Lauren, thank you so much for posting this. I went off the pill in October 2013 after 7 years of use and still have not had a period. I just found out I have polycystic ovaries, but it can’t be PCOS because I have low estrogen and super low testosterone. I went off the pill because I have zero libido and I was hoping it might heal some of my digestive issues. That’s right, as a teenager I don’t ever recall having chronic diarrhea and continual bloating but looking back, after about 1-2 years on the pill these symptoms started developing. I have been working with my naturopath (and waiting to see a gynaecologist) and am taking chaste tree and wild yam – is it safe for me to take cytozyme pt/hpt as well? I’ve bought some liver so I’m going to give that a try too. What about accupuncture?

  45. Great article!
    I had been on birth control for about 10 years, since I was 15. I was put on it to control debilitating cramps and acne. The last year or so instead of taking the pill I tried the Depo shot. It destroyed me. I gained around 20 pounds and when I wasn’t experiencing an absent menstrual cycle I had heavy spotting for months at a time. I have been off the shot and any other type of birth control for 10 months now and I am still experiencing hormonal imbalances. My must stubborn struggle being an irregular menstrual cycle and spotting. I have started supplementing with gelatin and maca powder each day. I am hoping for the best but will definitely try bone broth and Biotics Cytozyme PT/HPT. Thank you for all of the great information!

  46. Thank you so much for this.

    I stopped taking Nuva Ring after my last cycle, and have been officially off of it for 8 days. I was getting pretty worried about the long term effects the fake hormones would have on my body, despite numerous people (including my family) telling me that hormonal birth control was actually HEALTHY. In fact, my sister was actually taught in her nutritional class in university that these forms of birth controls are necessary to regulate women’s hormones. Anyone else taste something fishy here?

    Anyways, I’m excited to regulate my hormones naturally again, but am worried about all the side effects. I’ve read many women gain a buttload of weight coming off Nuva Ring, and since I’ve gained weight ON the ring, I really don’t need any more of that. Though I suppose, that’s probably better than feeding myself synthetic hormones.

    I am on a mission to try your method here, to help get myself on track. So thank you again! Biotics Cytozyme PT/HPT and Bio-Kult are thankfully available in Canada, though quite pricey here. If you have any idea of other options for us Canadians, I’d be very grateful! If not, I’ll probably go ahead and get it anyways. 🙂

  47. Additionally, many fertility experts (including doctors) are concerned about the fact that women often are not informed that the birth control pill can cause an chemical abortion as well as prevent pregnancy. Despite the hormones’ ability to prevent the release of eggs, sometimes a “breakthrough ovulation” takes place.
    A woman can still conceive a baby (embryo), who because of synthetic hormones cannot attach to the uterine lining and is aborted. The pill’s third mechanism is to change the lining of the endometrium, which creates a hostile environment for a newly created human life.
    The similar and even worse mechanism works in case of IUDs (coils), like Mirena, where one of the mechanisms incorporates a physical intrusion to prevent implantation of already conceived baby (embryo).

  48. I was given anti biotics for nearly seven years because I couldn’t afford to have an accessed molar removed. Having messed up my hormones anyway by having a child as a teenager, by the time I reached 30 I was experiencing some serious health issues. I got very very sick.

  49. Lauren! I’m obsessed with your blog. So much amazing information. I went on birth control about 7 years ago to help with my acne and hairloss issues, and I had AMAZING results. My acne pretty much disappeared, my hair grew in thicker than ever, and my moods evened out considerably. But a little voice told me that it wasn’t REAL. It was a chemical that was dominating my body, and I’d have to take it forever to see these results. So, about 2 years ago, I quit cold turkey and the consequences were pretty traumatic: Worst cystic acne of my life, all the hair I regrew fell out, and I spiraled into a dark depression. However, I realize it’s my chance to really heal rather than just using a quick fix that will leave me chemically dependent forever. It will take some time to rebalance, but I know it’s the right path for me. I just bought the Quit PMS book and am exciting to start following the recommendations. Thanks for sharing your story and being a resource for the rest of us!

  50. I want to say thank you for this post as well! I’ve been on some kind of birth control since I was 17 and stopped a bit more than a year ago. I tried the NuvaRing as well for a while and when I stopped with the ring my libido declined and is still lower than my normal. This was 3-4 years ago. When I finally stopped completely with BC I had one period and since then nothing. 1 year and two months now with no period and I’ve got leaky gut and anxious/depression problems every now and then, I’m seeing a naturopath that’s helping me now and I believe I’m on the right track but I expect it will take a while to completely heal.

    I can’t believe how I thought the pill was such a great thing! I only took it to avoid using condors and not get pregnant, have never had problems with cramps. But wow I’ve really not been nice to my body and I’m finally realising what is causing all my problems. I hope that there will be a revolution in this to STOP giving out the pill and other harmful BC methods. I’m so sad what has happened to my body and my health.

  51. Before the accidental development of the birth control pill, women were trying everything from herbal douching to diaphragms to one of the oldest methods, the pull out method. But non of those methods would prove to be as effective as the pill.

  52. This is my 2nd cycle after stopping hormonal birth control. I feel pretty naive to admit I’ve been Google searching MS, celiac and Lyme disease symptoms, not realizing my symptoms are probably due to this hormone change. Initially upon stopping, I felt amazing. My body felt healthy and my mind felt clear and balance ed (I have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, which I constantly monitor/regulate). About 2 weeks after stopping hbc, I started to get rashes that would flair up and go away. After reading this article, I realize that it is probably sugar feeding the abundance of candida in my body. A gluten free diet has so far stopped the rash outbreaks. Other mood symptoms include periods of heightened anxiety, moderate depression and abnormal irritabilty. The more frightening symptoms that I’m not sure are related, sound more like side effects from using the drug, which I never had before. These include one fainting spell and one almost fainting spell. When I got my first period after stopping the pill, I had intense pain and passed some blood clots. I almost fainted during this experience and i did vomit. My acupuncturist told me to report if this continued, so far it hasn’t but I am expecting a period this week. More alarming symptoms include dizziness upon waking and numbness in my left lower leg (which has diminished significantly in the last 2 weeks) I should probably see my general doctor, but I have been a little afraid to. Do you think the fainting could be vitamin deficiency (I also have low blood pressure). Does the numbness warrant a trip to a specialist? Thank you in advance. Yours has been the best resource I have found on these matters.

  53. Lauren,
    WOW so happy I found your blog and this post. I started taking birth control when I was sixteen. My doctor recommended it for the treatment of acne. My acne cleared right away and I was so happy. I am now 24 years old, and just decided a few months ago that I needed to stop taking this crap. I quit cold turkey. The result, to no surprise, cystic acne. I am managing with diet and strict skin care regime. I wish my doctor would have never recommended birth control. At that time in my life, I was willing to do anything to get my skin cleared up. That is EIGHT years of taking the pill. My doctor gave me THE LOOK when I told her I stopped. Wish doctors where more educated on the topic. I am a nurse, and I do believe medicine has it’s place, but how about trying alternative methods before flooding teenagers with prescriptions while there in such a vulnerable state?? Glad to know I am not the only one! Nervous about the permanent damage I have done to myself.
    THANK YOU!

  54. I took bcp on and off for 5 years, then was off for5 years doing nfp. i then conceived and was pregnant breast-feeding for 3 years, until i had a miscarriage. i then had a another miscarriage a year later, and since then my hormones have been really off the scale, according to my naturopath and chiropractor. this has been going on for 4 months now, and i have been taking herbs, liver cleansing, i eat clean, make kombucha and kefir and bone broth, hardly eat dairy, mostly eat paleo, use natural organic skin care and my skin is still suffering hormonal acne on my jaw and chin, really severe. I have been considering taking the bcp to regulate my hormones as i don’t know what else to try. what would you suggest as an alternative to try that i havent already?

  55. Hi! I stopped taking ortho tri cyclin lo 3 months ago. My hair has been falling out ever since but now I’m starting to get full blown acne. I’ve had a few breakouts on the right side of my chin before but now it’s spreading all over my face. I also feel really sad lately. Do you think this protocol could help me and my skin? Everyone is telling me to go back on the pill for my skin but I don’t want to be on it forever!! 🙁

    Thank you

  56. 2nd month of my marriage my perIod cycle normal but when 2nd month my period end after 7 days or 5 days lefted suddenly morning I feel pain in my lower belly and legs and my periods start again I worried then I contect doctor she recommend me pills 1 in morning and 2nd in evening I take start these pills my periods stoped during this time I take these pill only 15 days when finish pills my periods again start for 10 days aftre this time I feel spotting then I consultan my doctor then give me pills orgmenalt like this name that I use for normal hormone balance I take these pills 2 month 1 for morning and 2nd for evening now my periods finish but my after cycle I feel finish bleeding after 8 days of my periods spotting continue and I feel pain in my lower belly and legs in this time I feel spotting please help me and my ultrasound report is normal. Plz reply me

  57. hello everyone at this forum,, am laura from united states ,, i see so many woman with so much infertility rate and not able to bear there own children and this has lead to so much broken homes mine was in that same exact situation ,i discovered i had pcos when i was 16years and i have had only one working tube,,when i was 40yrs my doctors said my eggs been produce is not that good any more i new age has set in , i became desperate i saw online one mrs elizabeth who has similar situation said she got help with spiritual method by a spiritual healer cast ashra ,,and she left ashras contact for any one that was in such situation ,,i did had no choice than to contact ashra and after many mails

  58. Hi Lauren,
    i love your blog! I was wondering if there are any known side effects of the biotics? I’ve been trying to research and can’t find any, so i thought I’d ask here!
    Elizabeth

  59. Lauren,

    Thank you. This information is really important for people to know and Doctors are not educating patients on the possible side effects. For years I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me- I literally experienced each of the symptoms you posted and when ever I asked if it could be the pill all the different doctors (allergist, dermatologist, primary care, gynecologist, endocrinologist, even a natural care doctor) said the pill wasn’t the reason that I needed to change some aspect of my daily habit. It was so frustrating because whenever I tried their suggestions and things didn’t get better I felt hopeless. Eventually I stopped taking the pill and noticed a slight change but didn’t think much of it until I decided to try the pill again and EVERYTHING came back stronger than ever. So I obviously stopped taking it for good. Since then I have lost about 20 pounds, my allergies which manifested in severe excema are so much better and I am much happier. I hope others struggling with similar problems will find this are at least have the peace of mind that there are solutions!

    I just hope after taking hormones for 4 years that I have not caused permanent damage. Do you think it will take just as long for my body to naturally recover?

    best,

    Paige

    • Paige, When I read your story I saw myself reflected in it. It has been five years since I decided to take YAZ after getting married. It is in our plans to conceive within the next two years and it is in my plans to stop taking YAZ after the last pill this month, I have decided to take the Biotics Research although I cannot deny that I am dying of fear of what my body will be facing when I stop the pills. I fear for my skin more than anything, I am aware that I may lose some weight which I am definitely ok with. I will try my best to live a healthy life, moderate EXERCISE, eating healthy–Himalayan salt, carrots, and the recipes mentioned on the page–will be added to my diet. I feel that my body is screaming letting me know to stop the pill–I have visited the Dermatologist, Endocrinologist, Neurologist, Family Doctor, Gastroenterologist, Natural Doctor, Homeopathic Doctor, and experienced Biomagnetism Therapy but I believe that I will continue to have health issues as long as I keep taking birth control. I pray to God that all the damage can be reversible and I can get my life back! Best of luck to all woman that are struggling with hormonal imbalances.

  60. Thank you Lauren for all the insight. My daughter is 16 and was having terrible cramps and excessive bleeding during her periods. I took her to an OBGYN and she put her on Sprintec. First month she had terrible headaches, nausea, vomiting, and wound up with a UTI. Called the OBGYN. Doctor said give it until 3 months and let it take effect. 2nd month came and same systems with again another UTI but this time she was having shortness of breath, dizziness, and heartburn. Again called OBGYN and they assured me all would work itself out give it the 3rd month and it will be better. Not so. My daughter wound up in the ER because her esophagus started to close up and she got a piece of good stuck so they had to do an emergency endoscopy procedure along with an upper GI. She has now started to have problems swallowing and even got the BCP stuck. Took her back to our regular physician and he took her off the BCP. But now we have been to 4 different doctors because she says there feels like a lump in throat all the time and it won’t go away. Every one of the Doctors has said there is nothing there in her throat but my daughter will cry and has not eaten for a days. Within the one week she has lost 11 pounds and she only weighed 113 at starting the pill. She only drinks water. Our physician says it could be anxiety that is making her throat tight and feeling like something is in there. She is so miserable and I don’t know how to fix this and feel it’s all my fault for letting this go this far. Has this happened to anyone else? Any suggestions on what I can do to make it better? 3 days after stopping the pill she has started her period but with major cramps. She says it’s like someone taking a knife to her abdomen. Any help would be appreciated.

  61. Hi Lauren,
    I took a contraceptive pill for about a year and during my time on it I had some very serious side effects such as hair loss, weight loss, tunnel vision migraines and it triggered a severe bout of depression and anxiety. I came off the pill and some of the physical symptoms went away immediately but this was about 7 years ago and since then I have been diagnosed with pcos and have struggled with pms and mood issues ever since. I have spent a lot of time and money on many different diets, supplements and therapies and am now 8 months pregnant so I have obviously managed to create enough hormonal balance for that to happen! I have however struggled a lot during my pregnancy with the same anxiety and depression I noticed whilst on the pill.. My question is can birth control pills have lasting effects on hormone balance even so many years after stopping -enough to cause the mood issues I’ve noticed since taking it? And despite the fact I successfully got pregnant could my hormones still be the cause of the way I’ve been feeling during pregnancy? I am even considering going back on the pill after baby because I can’t seem to find a way to successfully re-balance my hormones. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  62. Hello I have been on birth control for ten years. With in those ten years I have tried to come off of them and I get cronic bactiral infections. The doctors I have seen have givin me antibiotics. Five days later it comes back. I put up with this crazy cycle for three months. Until one doctor said I needed to douch with vinegar and water to clean the Bactria out until my body gets back on track. Well a year later I am still getting infections and have extreme pelvic pain. A different dr told me I should never do that ever and she had an antibiotic that would clear it up haha it didn’t. After a year struggle I gave up and I am back on birth control. I need help will this treatment help me? My husband and I want to have a family but I want to be healthy at least a year before we try. Please help.

    • Tara I would try boric acid suppositories. After 10 years of chronic/recurring yeast & bacterial vaginosis that is how I cured myself. Thousands of dollars spent on doctors for nothing.

  63. I stopped reading this after the comment that acne can be controlled by diet and holistic skin care regime. There has been no scientific proof of a correlation between diet and acne. Secondly most skin care products don’t cure acne. Acne is often caused by an over production of sebum which is caused by a raise in the level of testosterone during puberty. Therefore I don’t think eating a good diet is going to fix it, sure it’s going to help but if you have severe acne like I did the best treatment is an oestrogen containing contraceptive pill.

      • I am 43 and take spiro but my dermatologist does not advise teenagers to take this because of the risks/side effects while they are in a developmental stage. And I agree with the above comment regarding diet….my 16 year old ate a Whole 30 diet for months and drank 64 oz of water daily, took probiotics, you name it and NONE of it helped rid her of acne, period. It’s upsetting that this blogger would state this as though she is a physician or even one who is an expert on the topic. Has diet been PROVEN to cure acne? Based on our personal atudy(and suffering) the answer is NO. My daughters acne is 100% caused by a spike and/or fluctuation in hormones. How do you fix that with food? I’m curious if there is a diet or vitamin or anything that is proven to regulate hormones?

  64. A couple of years after puberty started (got my period at 11 yrs old) my boobs were a size C (by the time I was 13). I only weighed 105lbs, but had pretty large boobs. I was filled out everywhere, I simply looked healthy. I felt great, had no health problems. I also had a very prominent sex drive.

    I got on the pill when I was 16 and took it off and on until I was 18. ( I am now 20) I took it off and on because I was in and out of relationships, and also could not find a brand that I liked. Birth control pills made me CRAZY. I was irritable, and depressed. I had no energy, I had an overgrowth of candida, lots of yeast infections. I may have gained 5 pounds on the pill, but no more. My breast size also stayed the same.

    I could not take the way it made me feel any longer and knew it could not be healthy. When I got off of the pill I lost weight, but only in the breast area and around my ribs and clavicles, also my stomach. (I always had dominant thighs and butt and they are now just a little larger). Candida went away, no more yeast infections. However, I’m still irritable, I have extreme anxiety, get depressed often, my appetite is like a roller coaster, awful awful awful PMS. NO libido. My boobs are a size A (they were a size C before BC) I weigh the same that I always have (maybe 5 pounds different) but my face is thinner, I’m boney, etc. In general, I simply don’t look as healthy.

    I eat healthier than I ever have, organic meat, fruits vegetables, light exercise. I take “CALM” a magnesium supplement. I take food derived probiotics and food derived vitamins. I also take fish oil omega 3 pills.

    I have always said ” I feel like birth control took over and now that I am off of it, my body forgot how to make/ use my hormones.”

    I have ordered the cytozyme pt/hpt and really hope it helps.

    Any input or suggestions would be very helpful! Thank you!!!

    • OMG i have had literally the exact same though about how my body does NOT know how to make hormones again. I was on thep ill for TEN YEARS and when I got off, it’s now been two years, I am still dealing with feeling empty. No sex drive, acne, oily skin, super irritable all the time, depressed, fatigued, boobs shrunk, lost 10 pounds, I AM MISERABLE. And am also tempted to order the cytozyme.

  65. Very helpful article! I have been looking for ways to naturally regulate my hormones ever since coming off the pill.

    I was on Yaz for 2 years and decided to stop due to loss of libido. However, about a month after I stopped the pill, I got the worst acne outbreak around my chin, jawline and shoulders. I have never had an acne problem in my life.

    It’s been a year and a half now since I stopped the pill and I am still getting outbreaks of acne. I take supplements such as zinc, vitamin a, evening primrose oil, magnesium and vitex every day, and still not enough to stop the acne. It’s quite depressing and I wish I had never gone on the pill at all.

    • Su, I was also on Yaz. I have been wanting to take zinc, do you take it in liquid form?

      B vitamins and magnesium have really helped my acne after the pill. I never had acne before. I also go to acupuncture which helps more than anything else I’ve tried- for all of my symptoms as a whole.

      All of the symptoms I have (after getting off of the pill) are hard to cope with but it really bothers me that my breasts are two cup sizes smaller than they were before I took the pill.

      Did you have this problem?

      Good luck with the acne, hang in there, if we keep up the healthy habits we are bound to be ourselves again!

      • My breasts definitely shrunk as well. I actually dropped 10 pounds when I quit the pill. As for the acne, I got perioral dermatitis and what helped me a good deal was a product called Macafem. Check it out on google. It’s derived from the maca root which is supposed to naturally balance hormones. I took it for 3 months and it helped a lot with the acne and oily skin problem.

      • I was on Yaz also for about 4 months and it’s been about a year and a half since I got off it. My breasts are 2 cup sizes smaller than they were before I took the pill and they feel as though they have lost density. Is it possible that there isn’t much estrogen in my body, because I’m also loosing alot of muscle and my hair is starting to recede. I did get a blood test and they said my estrogen levels are normal but I feel so out of whack and it’s been so long since I’ve got off it.

  66. I find this interesting. I am on the pill and have been on and off for 16 years. I have endometreosis, the severe bleeding and irregular cycles. Are too much, I bleed heavy to the point I will fill a maternity pad in an hour or 2, for 9 days have 4 off and start again. Sometimes I might get 6 weeks off then heavy. On the pill I have ectropian, which is painful and causes spotting after intercourse. The pill reduces and controls the bleeding but I hate being on it.
    How would you go about rebooting hormones there? Would this work?

  67. Hi, thanks for this article, i hope you see this. I am 16 and have been on birth control (tri sprintec) for almost a year due to me having severe acne and i skipped my periods all the time. I have recently started caring about my health a lot more and realized how bad birth control is. I however had no idea when i first started because my doctor never mentioned anything. I have always been pretty healthy even prior to the pill, so i am scared of what is going to happen if i stop. Especially with acne, my face is the best right now that it has looked since like 5th grade, and even at that, i still have more acne than most people. How can i balance out some of my hormones? I can’t just stop taking them and break out ridiculously like i did before and with the way my periods were before, there was obviously other hormonal imalances that i had. Can you please give me some advice on how to minmize breakouts and other reactions so i can finally get off the pill? Thank you so much.

  68. This article has made me feel like i am not alone. Sometimes it feels like i am the only one experiencing major problems from coming off of the pill. I am currently 19 and in April of last year my gynecologist suggested I go on birth control (for no reason what-so-ever, i was not sexually active and I was just at the gynecologist for my yearly visit). I unfortunately fell for the promise of clear skin, regulated cycles…etc. I have always known that birth control was not the best thing for you but it is hard to resist when doctors push it on you like it is a miracle pill. After being on the pill for five months I finally realized that birth control was not for me and my body was not reacting well to the hormones. In August of last year, after being on the pill for five months, I finally decided to stop and vowed NEVER to take it again. Within a few weeks I developed colitis and I am still dealing with the symptoms.Then in December, my gynecologist discovered that I had multiple ovarian cysts that have still not subsided. Of course, she just wants to throw me back on the pill to get rid of the cysts. Now, almost seven months after stopping the pill, I have never felt so horrible. I have started to break out every day and my acne just gets worse and worse. I have tried everything. I eat clean, i take the correct vitamins, i know how to care for my skin but nothing works. My hair has also thinned excessively and my hair is shedding like crazy every day. I have developed horrible anxiety and depression. I have never felt like this in my life and I know all of this is because my hormones are going crazy because of the pill. My gynecologist will not suggest anything except going back on the pill and I refuse. If someone, anyone, has any advice PLEASE help me, I have no idea what i should do at this point. Does anybody know if my hormones will ever get back in order? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you so much!

  69. I am 27 years old and started taking birth control when I was like 14 years old, for the exact reason you stated. I wanted to regulate my cycle because I was irregular by a few days and it was irritating never knowing when it was coming. At the time I was kind of stupid and didn’t really know how to count the calendar to figure out when I would be getting my period. And even if I tried charting it, it was always off by a few days and my periods were really heavy and I would have terrible accidents in school.

    So I got on the pill. After years of suffering from depression, chronic recurring yeast infections, and a zillion other issues, I decided to try and get clean to fix the yeast problem and get off of anything toxic I was taking. So I decided to quit birth control. It has been 2 years now and I still am going through hormonal hell. I never thought that quitting would make me react the way that I did. I LITERALLY went through menopause at age 25. It was and still is miserable. Periods 2 times a month, horrible acne, brown periods/spotting, periods that lasted almost two weeks, having incredibly short or long cycles, my skin got oily as all get out, I have/had hot flashes almost every single day, no sex drive, gosh I could go on.

    After two years, my period is sort of on its way back to being “normal” though I still experience irregular and somewhat long cycles, my main concern is the lack of libido, depression (which I am experiencing right now pretty badly) and these irritating brown periods I get. Sometimes I will get what I call the brown period for an entire week before my actual period comes. It is almost as if old blood is being released a week early or, something else is causing it to turn brown and then I get my period a week later.

    I appreciate blogs like this because I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have these. I still really don’t know what to do. I had found a product called Macafem that claimed to regulate the hormones by using an all natural maca root compound but, I don’t think that it really did anything except get rid of my perioral dermatitis caused by my hormones.

    I sincerely feel like my hormones are BARELY producing anything at all. I am exhausted all the time, don’t sleep that great, have horrible depression, lack of libido etc. The weird thing is when I quit the pill, I immediately dropped 10 pounds. This was crazy to my family and friends because I weighed 105 when I was on them. Now I’m at a steady 95 pounds. At 27, not many women can say that! Lol. Anyway, I realize my comment comes super late as you posted this over a year ago, but, any advice for me?

    I am curious about the supplement you name that women should take. I already am on a good regimen of probiotics, I take garden of life’s RAW women’s multi/probiotic combo. But my diet is kind of sucky. Which honestly I cannot do anything about. I am anti veggies & fruits like a little 5 year old. I just want everything to be normal again. I’m in entirely too much pain and discomfort on a daily basis for my age.

  70. Hi Lauren,

    I thought you might find this interesting. Healthline has compiled a list of the Effects of Birth Control in a visual graphic and I thought you and your readers would be interested in seeing the information.

    You can check out the information at http://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control-effects-on-body We’ve had good feedback about the article and we think it will benefit your readers by giving them med-reviewed information in a visual way.

    If you think this information is a good fit for your audience would you share it on your site, http://empoweredsustenance.com/the-pill-hormone-damage/ , or social media?

    Let me know what you think and have a great week.

    All the best,
    Nicole Lascurain • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3100 | f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
    http://www.healthline.com | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

  71. I have been taking the pill for almost 2 years, and have just noticed my hair thinning! 🙁 it’s obviously been thinning over the past 2 years, and it’s now to the point where I am noticing! It not breaking, but actually coming out with the root attached! I just stopped the pill about 4 days ago! Help!!! What can I do? I’m so happy I read this as I have a daughter, and I will know what NOT to do for her!!! Is there anything I can do right now?

  72. Hello Lauren,

    I enjoy your writing because I know it’s totally supported by great research.
    I was given the pill at the age of 18 to correct my cycle and was on it for about 4 years. Now other 4 years have passed but I’m still left with irregular and prolonged cycles. The doctor seems to recommend the pill for me again but I refuse. Instead I’ve changed my diet and am currently taking Vitex and Wild Yam, do you know if they’re effective?

    And I will definitely buy the probiotic supplements you listed in this article.
    Thank you and keep the good things coming!

    Dana

  73. Hi Lauren,
    I’ve been on birth control for several years now as a result of being told I have PCOS (My period completely stops coming and I have multiple follicular cysts). I was reluctant at first considering I don’t like the idea of not treating the actual cause, but since it had been about 10 months since I’d had a period I was worried about the effects. Reading your post has started making me reconsider alternatives to birth control for this issue. Have you heard of women with the same problem? And what to do about it?
    Thanks!!

  74. Hey Lauren! I’ve decided to stop taking the pill. I think it’s contributing to my problems sleeping and with headaches. How long will it take my hormones to balance?

  75. Late to the party I realize,, but would this apply to other forms of birth control as well? I was on the patch (which is very high estrogen) for several months before switching to the IUD (which has worked much better) and I developed a chronic yeast infection for which I had to take several rounds of Difulcan. It basically came back every other week for about three months. I also developed a severe Vitamin D deficiency (<5) and my TSH tested at 4.9 so I am beginning to look into autoimmune conditions.

  76. Im on my 7th month off the pill (4 months no period) and emotions and depression/lack of energy have set in major time 🙁 do u suggest anythinh for these? I want to avoid the doctors but thinking acupuncture may help, at my wits end just want to sleep and cry all the time

  77. I just want to thank you for this blog. You are the reason I decided to stop taking birth control after five years of ongoing birth control–Yaz consumer. I tried coming off several times but the side effects were horrible and immediately went back to them. But after reading this blog, I decided to give your theory a try. It has been about two months since I left the pill. I also felt the urge of leaving the pill because I was having multiple complications, such as gastritis, skin problems, migraines, elevated testosterone, high cholesterol and experienced horrible hair loss, and simply felt like my body was rejecting the pill. I visited a neurologist, an endocrinologist, dermatologist, gastroenterologist, you name it. The endocrinologist mentioned that I may have PCOS but that I had to come off the pill in order to see the changes in my system without synthetic hormones. Tomorrow I get blood drawn to see where my hormones stand. Thank God that I decided to leave the pill and all this behind me. Although I am still in the process of recuperating I feel a huge difference now that I left the pill. Immediately after I decided to go off the pill I decided to take the Biotics Cytozyme PT/HPT along with B12, Vitamin C,and a homeopathic Hypothalamus/Adrenal supplement, and eating carrots. Recently I had a break out on my chin which freaked me out–then I decided to add the saw palmetto which I already had handy. I have seen a difference in my skin after taking the saw palmetto–looks like I have not gotten any new zits. I also just stopped consuming dairies because I noticed that it was affecting tremendously. Furthermore, I already had my first normal period which is awesome. I will continue to take the mentioned supplements adding vitex, and himalayan salt, and spearmint tea. Will give you all an update on this journey.

  78. Hi Lauren

    Just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading your articles, seem to pop up on lots of different topics – I am trying to do the same with my website.

    My girlfriend is now following the protocol from this article after being on the pill for a while and is noticing some good changes, I believe it played a part in creating an underactive thyroid and bad gut health.

    Once again thanks!

    Gavin

  79. Hi Lauren!
    Thank you for this article! I am turning 18 in a couple days. I had never gotten my period my whole life until at 17 my endocrinologist put me on provera to make sure I could technically have a period. I had a week long period with barely any side effects, which showed her that I was capable of menstruating. Then she referred me to an OBGYN who told me my only option was birth control, being under 18 my mother made the decision to start me on birth control. I’ve been taking Junel Fe for 3 weeks and have had either heavy spotting or a real period starting on the third week, before I was “supposed” to get it on the week of the sugar pills. I have experienced unbearable cramps, insane bloating that makes my stomach protrude, and awful acne. I stopped taking the pills with 3 left and refuse to ever go on them again. My question is: will my body ever go back to normal and how long can I expect that to take? Since I’ve only taken three weeks worth of the pill I would hope the side effects would go away immediately but I’m so nervous I’ve done permanent damage to my body!! Please reply, I am so anxious about this whole situation and no one in my family or the medical world will take my complaints seriously!! Thank you in advance.

  80. I am 24 and I have not been having a regular period since I was 16, and before it started to cease I have always had very heavy flow, but in this year, I was diagnosed with anovulatory high LH and low progesterone, then I showed my result to another doc who placed me on the birth control pill, I am on d second pack of the pill, and ofcourse it makes me see my period, I do not know what will happen if I stop using the pill, please I don’t know what to do, I am scared If it will not stop my ability to concieve when I get married.please lauren I wouldn’t mind having

  81. After being on birth control pill for 28 years, what are the possible negative effects of stopping cold? I am 48 years old and would like know if it is safe to just stop taking the pill. Have no issues at all while on the pill, but would like to stop giving my body synthetic hormones… I would like to start seeing a bioidentical hormone replacement doctor, but want synthetic hormones out of my system before starting.

  82. Thank you for the article…

    I was on the Nuva Ring for about 2 years and it caused over-active bladder problems. I Switched to Tri-Sprintec and that caused spotting in between periods. Then the Dr. put me on Sprintec and about 3 weeks after I started it, I got symptoms of yeast and bacterial infection. I was treated for BV and that cleared up but now the outer labia, where my hair is, itches and I can’t seem to get rid of it. The skin looks healthy. Could this be a cause of hormonal in balance?

    Thanks again!

  83. Hi!
    I hope someone can help me with this…
    About two years ago I started birth control with the Nuva ring. A month later I noticed something was very different about me. I started to experience extreme PMS, depression, muscle pain, LOTS of hair loss, constant itchy skin and scalp, and the worst cystic acne ever. I didn’t know what was happening! For some reason I didn’t even think about considering the birth control and instead visited countless amounts of doctors. I was told it was depression, lupus, calcium deficiency, etc. I was prescribed so many pills and none of them worked. All the doctors I saw couldn’t figure out what was going on. I even told them about my recent birth control but they assured me it wasn’t that.
    I had always had perfect skin, thick hair, a strong body, but now I had turned into this “shell” of a person. None of my friends or family could recognize me. I spent so much money on everything from creams to lotions to hair products etc. fast forward to earlier this year, I had done some research on the nuvaring and saw that a lot of girls had problems because the hormones in it were too strong for them. I was then prescribed YAZ, a very low dose birth control to see if things would be different. After a month thought all the same symptoms happened again! Finally, I read about allergies to synthetic hormones and decided to see a different OBGYN. I told her what happened and she told me for sure that j was having severe allergic reactions to birth control and to get off of them immediately. I have been off of them for a about 4 months and I have seen a HUGE difference in everything! The doctor said it would take a while for my hormones to go back to normal and I could possibly still see symptoms come up. Nowadays, I got my hair back!!, my muscles are hurting just a bit less, and I am not always so tired all the time, but there are still lots of problems and I don’t know what to do to fix this. I still have bad acne:( which upsets me the most because it has truly depressed me because j never had this before B.C. and now I can’t even recognize myself in the mirror. It’s always on my lower cheeks and jawline which just shows that it’s hormonal acne. I have longer periods now like I used to have 4 day periods before birth control and now I have 7 day periods. I also get terrible cramps! And I truly NEVER got those before birth control! It’s like in my family that the women never get cramps and now I do. I also have very shifting moods and insomnia. I also have bacne which is totally weird. I just don’t know what to do to properly bring my hormones back to a balanced level. My doctor said to just be patient and wait for them to re-balance themselves but I’m tired of this! I am terrified to try any new prescription medications because of my last experience. I just want to help my self before my skin is ruined with complete scars and I have to spend any more money on only disguising the problem and not fixing it. Please help! I just feel so hopeless sometimes.
    -Roxie

  84. Hello,

    I am trying to repair my hormonal imbalance caused by birth control pills, I am just wondering how long it would take for my body to recover/how long I should take the supplements? So, I know how much to buy.

    Thank you,
    Bernadette Fannin

  85. Thank you for getting this word out there. I was on the Pill for 22 years without weight gain, loss of drive, hair loss etc. I didn’t have any of the bad side effects anyone mentions about it, so I thought it was the bee’s knees, and thought I was one of the lucky ones, to tolerate it so well. It kept my skin clear and my periods regular and I was thrilled with its predictability. I became pregnant twice, easily, when I chose to, and had zero problems. I thought everything was great…UNTIL at 40 I decided to go off it. Hearing *only then* that it destroyed gut bacteria, I had a micronutrient panel done…and found I was extremely low in B vitamins and minerals, and had indications of leaky gut. I immediately started a supplement regimen and a Paleo diet with a nutritionist. For a month now, I can tell a night and day difference! I cannot believe I’ve lived with brain fog, a distended stomach, gas, bloating and tiredness for so long, thinking it was normal! It was the PILL! Since eliminating grains and dairy, taking supplements to repair my gut, and having daily nourishing foods like liver, bone broth and fermented foods, my belly has shrunk, I have more energy, and each time I eat something that is bad for my belly, I can actually TELL. I was afraid to go off the Pill because I thought my skin would break out crazy (it did once when I tried to quit before) and I would gain weight and be on a neverending PMS roller coaster. NONE of that has happened. So if you’re thinking about going off, try it with a modified diet and nutrition plan and supplements – your body will tell you it’s glad you did!

  86. Hi, I went off birth control on September and I have had a daily mild headache ever since. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it and then realized the only thing I changed was going off bc. I did a Google search and sure enough there are 100s of women suffering this same thing. A headache that lasts months from hormone withdrawal. Anything you suggest to help with this?

    Thanks

  87. I was on the pill for 7 years due to severe bleeding, off for 3 years, and now back on due to adneomyosis. I have yet to find a holistic manner to teat my adneomyosis and the pain relief provided by the BCP in combo with raspberry tea, clary sage, and other natural methods is so very welcome.
    My question for you lies here, can I do GAPS while on the BCP to facilitate a healthier gut? Until a better & more natural solution for my adneomyosis is found I need to stay on my BCP. Thoughts? Insight?
    Thank you!

  88. Hi Laura!

    Great article. I’m currently living in France so I’m not sure if I have access to some of the vitamins you mentioned but I’m certainly going to check out some speciality stores to see if they’re available. I’m very curious about your research as I have personally stopped using the shot for almost a year now and already feel exponentially better but now I am struggling with what feels like weight gain. I agree that not every person should be spoonfed the information that being on the pill is better for women, especially when given a proper understanding of your body and how it works is a smarter and healthier alternative, especially for women who aren’t particularly sexually active. Again, I really enjoyed reading your article and can’t wait to try some of the things you mentioned.

    Thanks!

  89. I was on the pill for a year and just stopped 2 months ago. It wreaked havoc on my body, my emotions, my libido. As a newlywed I had zero interest in even having my husband touch me a lot of the time. I felt like a complete lunatic for how out of balance my emotions were. I have noticed a ton of hair loss, which I know believe was the pill. I became incredibly irregular in my cycle and even had my first ever ovarian cyst (I’m 29). My question is I still feel like I’m on the pill emotionally speaking. I’m almost depressed so much of the time, and if not that, I’m cranky and very short tempered. How long will it take before I’m back to feeling like I was before the pill?

  90. Do you have any vegan supplement options to regulate hormones? I’ve been on the pill for over 10 years and just got off of it. I eat extremely well, track my nutrients religiously, and exercise at least 7 times per week. I’ve been off the pill for about 2 months and my hormones are off the charts. Looking for anything that can regulate them even just a little bit.

  91. Well, anyway, contraception pills are known for reducing risk of ovarian and endometrium cancer. Whenever I want to have kids, I will wait a couple of months to resto re my vitamin levels 😀

  92. Hi all,
    I was on birth control pills for about 11 years and am now 26. I stopped cold turkey last month and within the first week (after a large cup of coffee) I had my first panic attack. I had a history of mild anxiety before I stopped birth control along with being a germaphobe and hypochondriac. But now I have anxiety when I leave the house and it seems to be getting worse. Birth control pills gave me digestive issues as well as slight depression, but that seems like nothing compared to how I’m feeling now with this anxiety and irritability! I don’t know what to do and I don’t want to get back on birth control…I’m wondering how long this could last and if anyone has had similar experiences with anxiety after stopping BCP’s. I am now too anxious to go to any social gatherings, go into my office, or drive. I also have other physical issues even when I’m not feeling anxious, such as dizziness and shortness of breath (I’m out of shape right now, too) but that tends to brings on my attacks once I feel them kick in. It’s a horrible feeling and any advice is helpful. Thank you so much.

  93. I was put on birth control pills in junior high when I had a heavy period and bled straight for two months. My parents didn’t believe something was wrong till I lost all color and kept fainting. I needed four units of blood transfused and was put on birth control to regulate my hormones. I always wished I had been more informed about their effects and just kept using them to be safe, both because of my parents and the doctors. I’ve always wondered if the pills contributed to some of my issues – extremely irregular cycles, anovulatory cycles, inability to get pregnant for a long time, weight and skin issues, depression, etc. Guess I’ll never know for sure! I have been off them for years and will NEVER use hormonal BC again.

  94. I have been on Birth Control (several different pills and the shot once) for 11 almost 12 years and I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis (slow digestion/paralyzed stomach) last Feb. After reading articles/posts from other individuals with my disorder I have come to the conclusion that if the pill didn’t cause my disorder, it certainly didn’t prevent it. In fact, the pill most likely exaggerated the issue by killing off all the good bacteria in my gut. I also have horrible heartburn. My doctor put me on 20 mg of Omeprazole a few years ago and have now upped my dose to 40 mg. I don’t want to have to depend on this med anymore. Half the time it doesn’t even work and I have to eat tums like candy. I heard Apple Cider Vinegar helps heal acid naturally. I’m going to give it a shot. After speaking with my doctor and discussing it with my husband, I am getting off my birth control. I have maybe two weeks left in my pack and I’m done. Hopefully, my body has changed enough that I won’t have horrible periods again. That was the whole reason I got on BC in the first place. I don’t want children so I have been researching natural BC methods. I don’t like the idea of having to track my every reproductive move, but I don’t want to pollute my body anymore. A girlfriend of mine suggested I start taking organic neem oil caps to help prevent pregnancy. Apparently, people in other countries use that and other natural herbs. Worth a try! I’m optimistic about my future without hormonal BC 🙂

  95. I was on the the Pill for 2yrs and went off it last May. Since July my hubby and I have been trying to get pregnant and to no avail so far. I’m 29 and I have 3 boys already, youngest one born in Dec 2012. I’ve always had horrible heavy periods with L ovary pain. Dr told me that my L is bigger than the R and that’s where all my kids came from. I started taking herbal supplements and drinking herbal teas a few months ago. My MIL always told me to drink chamomile tea esp during my period.

  96. Hi Lauren,

    Great article.
    I’ve been using pills for 5 years and when I stop using it my hormones went crazy. I didn’t gain weight but I had hair loss and severe acne. With this hormonal imbalance I want to use pills again however I’m worried with the side effects. Any advise will be appreciated.

    Thank you so much.

    Johnna

  97. I was on birth control for almost 15 years, first the pill then the NuvaRing. I’ve been off now for just over 7 months and have been having the most terrible health ever since. I’ve been gaining weight, I have terrible acne (all around my chin, jawline and neck so I know it is from hormone inbalances) and have had the worst chronic insomnia. For over 2 months I’ve gone night after night with no sleep at all, until my doc finally prescribed ambien which helps sometimes. In addition to that, I’ve had really irregular periods, and lately no period at all which I assume means I am not ovulating. I am 31 and my husband and I want to get pregnant are start a family. I’ve been taking prenatal vitamins and chaste berry supplements but they haven’t seemed to help. Any other advice? I am miserable!

  98. I hope you will respond, I need advice. Long story short. Miscarriage, fertility treatments/meds, 4 years trying to conceive, got pregnant had my son and got on birth control to prevent getting pregnant. I was gaining weight and unable to get rid of it and had zero sex drive, I decided to stop taking it. I stopped for 2 months and no problems, I got scared of getting pregnant so I resumed it. Well I gained weight again and just felt yuk so I got off of it last month. I had mowing drawl bleed and had that cycle then I started bleeding over a week early and continued to bleed for 15 days! I’m still spotting. What can I do to get back to normal even though my cycles have always been long I never bleed that long. Should I wait it out? Use natural progesterone after cycle day 14? Any help?

  99. Hi there, thanks for this lovely and thoughtful article. I am wondering if you know of any animal-friendly versions of the remedies you mentioned for all the plant based goddesses of there? <3

  100. Hi Lauren,

    Thank you so much for your awesome article here. I regret it so much that I used BCPs, and I hope i can fix the damage which is only hair fall. I just purchased Biotics Cytozyme PT/HPT and am planing to do the rest of your advises.

    Thanks again beautiful lady.
    Cheers,
    Shamim

  101. I have post pill amenorrhea (going on 18 months). Are there any concerns in combining Cytozyme PT/HPT with Vitex? Maybe pick one or the other? I know they both act on the HPA axis..

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I’m Lauren Geertsen, an author and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. When doctors told me that surgery and medication were the only answers to my chronic health issues, I decided to use the power of nutrition and a natural lifestyle instead.
My mission at Empowered Sustenance? To show you the simple steps on your path to vibrant health.

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