The Pill, a.k.a Hormone Imbalance Tablets
Before my research frenzy that turned into Quit PMS, I struggled for years with really horrific menstrual cycles. In 9th grade, my mom, wholly sympathetic because she experienced the same symptoms when she was younger, took me to the doctor and inquired about putting me on The Pill. Why? Because this was the solution that provided her relief in the past.
This was years before I plowed into the world of alternative medicine, so it was my habit to take any medications the doctors doled out to me – even though the pharmacy-worth of meds for my ulcerative colitis were doing zip-zero-nada for my health. Fortunately, something inside me deeply and violently opposed this suggestion and I staunchly refused the prescription.
Hormonal birth control is often used as a way to dampen painful period symptoms. It’s even given to women as a way to control acne, a skin disorder properly treated by diet and a holistic skin care regimen. Due to the permanent health-robbing effects of The Pill, which is passed on through generations, women must thoroughly educate themselves before using birth control pills as a contraceptive method or a way to reduce period symptoms.
Use the following steps to help recover your health after using any type of hormonal birth control.
The Devastating Damages of The Pill
Birth control pills (BCPs) literally rob the body of nutrients required for vitality:
- BCPs deplete folate and this can cause serious health problems because lack of folate disrupts DNA metabolism
- BCPs deplete vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12, which may lead to irritability, depression, insomnia and fatigue.
- BCPs deplete zinc and this in turn lowers the immune system and encourages insulin resistance
- BCPs deplete magnesium, leading to a chain reaction of mineral imbalances in the body (Source)
- BCPs permanently disrupts the balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. This means reduced nutrient assimilation, lowered immunity, and the overgrowth of pathogens like Candida. Since gut flora is passed on from mother to baby, the mother’s imbalanced gut health is passed on to her children, and likely even her grandchildren (Source – Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride).
Those serious deficiencies and imbalances that result from taking birth control pills translate into these more visible symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Water retention
- Hair loss
- Reduced libido
How to fix Hormone Imbalance from The Pill
The following steps are a priority for any woman who has taken birth control pills (or any other form of hormonal birth control). Whether you took The Pill years ago or if you have just decided to transition off it, these steps will support healing and balance after the severe hormonal disruption resulting hormonal birth control.
1. Ditch all sources of excess estrogen
To achieve hormone balance, we must identify and eliminate sources of excess estrogen. The Pill contributes to a condition called Estrogen Dominance, where too much circulating estrogen throws all hormones out of whack and creates a hot mess of symptoms. Even women (and men) who have not taken the pill can suffer from estrogen dominance, due to the high levels of estrogen in our diet and body care products.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals that look like estrogen. They attached to estrogen receptors, overburdening the body with estrogenic effects. Yes, it’s scary but true: the products we use on our body can significantly disrupt our hormones. Common sources of xenoestrogens include:
- Plastics that leach chemicals into food
- Conventional body care products
- Conventional cosmetics
Phytoestrogens, found in plant sources, also attach to estrogen receptors. Again, they do not act exactly like our own estrogen. Research is highly variable on the health detriments and benefits of phytoestrogen intake. I do not recommend consuming foods high in phytoestrogens, particularly when struggling with acne. Men, boys, and young girls should use more care to avoid phytoestrogens. Common sources of phytoestrogens include:
- Soy products
- Sesame seeds
2. Support your hormonal negative-feedback loop
Most of the hormones in the body are governed by negative feedback, which works like your household thermostat. Say you set your thermostat to 72 degrees and the room temperature is 69 degrees. The heater kicks in to warm the room up. When the temperature reaches 72 degrees, the heat shuts off until the temperature drops again.
Hormonal birth control wreaks havoc on this system and actually shut off our body’s hormonal negative-feedback loop. It’s like adding a space heater and the furnace shuts off because it isn’t needed. Supporting the negative-feedback loop through supplementation provides support during a period of hormonal catastrophe. Going back to the heating example, the right supplement can help wake the furnace up again so things function as normal.
Biotics Cytozyme PT/HPT is a unique supplement containing lamb pituitary and hypothalamus tissue. Glandular treatment – the ingestion of small amounts of animal glands – is a traditional treatment practiced by ancient healers from across the globe. The pituitary and hypothalamus tissue (from lamb) in this supplement directly affects the performance of your own pituitary and hypothalamus, the key players in the negative feedback loop. Most women benefit by taking 2-5 tablets per day, taken in divided doses with breakfast and lunch, for the duration of 1 – 2 bottles.
2. Use the moon to support your cycles
Women’s menstrual cycles are wired to be in sync with the moon. In all early societies, before industrialism and processed foods disrupted traditional cultures, all women ovulated at the full moon and menstruated at the new moon. This is our default setting, but The Pill (as well as poor diet and stress) disrupt this pattern.
Fortunately, because the female reproductive hormones are so sensitive to light, we can naturally re-train and regulate our menstrual cycle simple night lighting technique that mimics the pattern of the moon. I avidly practice this simple routine, called Lunaception, and I explain how to do it here.
3. Replenish your nutrient deficiencies
Unless you want to read a whole book here, I can’t discuss entire dietary protocol for repairing the nutritional deficiencies caused by hormonal birth control. Replenishing nutrient deficiencies are key to regaining hormone balance. Besides focusing on a real food diet and reading the details in Quit PMS, these three time-honored foods provide potent nutrient-building properties:
- Homemade bone broth, rich in minerals Drink 12-16 oz. per day.
- Himalayan salt helps your body balance hormone production and use the vitamins and minerals from your food. Take as much as is pleasant – salt all your food to taste and add a pinch to your drinking water.
- Liver from pastured animals – although viewed as gross or old-fashioned, properly sourced liver is perhaps the most powerful food for rebuilding nutrient deficiencies. Chicken liver boasts the mildest flavor. Sauté in butter or enjoy in homemade paté and enjoy a 2-3 oz. serving twice per week. Alternatively, you can opt for dessicated liver capsules.
4. Support your gut flora
If you’ve taken The Pill, some permanent damage to healthy gut bacteria has taken place. Fortunately, numerous resources allow you to repair and rebuild some of the flora disruption. A healthy balance of gut flora provides a foundation for hormonal equilibrium.
First, ensure a steady income of probiotics by consuming naturally-fermented foods or beverages daily. Yogurt, pickles, sour cream, and sauerkraut are traditionally made through fermentation, which preserves the food and increases its nutritive value. Now, almost all commercial versions of the foods are quickly processed or processed with heat, so they don’t provide significant probiotics. Instead, learn how to make your own fermented vegetables and fermented beverages (like kombucha and kefir) at home. Here’s my favorite guide for getting started.
You’ll also want to take a clinical-strength probiotic supplement to help repair the damage. Good probiotics are few and far between, however! After much research and after talking to my mentors, I recommend this one and this one. Take one capsule, of each or both, in the morning and evening.
Have you used birth control pills or other forms of hormonal birth control? Did you notice the hormone imbalances and are you working to address the problems?