Birth control buh-bye, what i've learned about hormones

Okay long overdue but it’s finally here the piece of going off birth control! SOOO many of you wanted to know what it was like. I think I should cover most of the questions through my entire piece but if not i’ll be sure to post the questions I received at the end to make sure they were answered!

I had decided to go off the pill because for awhile wellness bloggers and friends of mine had been going off of it for various hormonal issues. I never thought I really had any issues being on mine, but also didn’t know any better. I had been on bc for 10 years before I went off it and learned what I was even putting in my body. I just knew it stopped my cramps and no pregnancy. Thinking about what I know now, what a silly thing to put something in my system without knowing what it was doing right? Well I decided to dive into bc and what it meant for us females. I believe the more you know the better you do at least 9/10 times!

So first and foremost I read the book Woman Code by Alissa Vitti. You can find it here. Let me be honest with you after reading this book I realized I had absolutely no libido and now knew why, that my eczema stemmed from the potential of my bc, my fatigue and brain fog was highly due to messed up level of estrogen and progesterone, gut health was off, and more was all affecting me. I live a pretty healthy lifestyle and didn’t realize that some of my daily symptoms could be contributed to synthetic hormones in birth control. UGH! I was shocked. I had literally on idea and just assumed it was outside factors.

I decided that I was going to go off the pill back in August of 2018. It’s now been 7 months and I feel 100000x better. My constant fatigue is nearly gone. My adrenals and cortisol levels are much happier. My eczema no longer occurs, my libido is back (LOL) yay for that though and to be real with you all I didn’t realize how bad I had no desire, it was actually kinda sad. I feel a lot more in tune with body than ever before. I notice now how things effect me with clarity in comparison to before. Also brain fog is so real. I think about prior and how spacey I would get some days. I straight up would forget things as soon as I said them or did them. It was bad. It’s rare that this happens now and it’s usually due to lack of sleep or too much stress. Also I have less mood swings. I usually didn’t get them before birth control, I'm a pretty level headed person naturally, but holy cow were there days before where I was extremely irritable for no reason. Well the dang hormones. It’s real.

So I was a lucky one going of BC was smooth sailing. I also have to preface this with saying that before going on birth control back when I was 16 I didn’t go on for any real reason other than wanting to prevent pregnancy since I had started my period. I also eat pretty clean and prepared my body to get off the hormones. So if you went on birth control for a specific reason like cramps,  cysts, irregular periods, acne, etc these symptoms will likely come back worst. This is because you essentially have been wearing a band aid and reapplying over and over rather than letting the body heal. However do not fret! Woman Code has a whole section and protocol on eating for your female endocrine system so that you have the smoothest transition off and if you follow it you will be fine. There will definitely be things to address and healing for your body to do but I promise you it’s worth it. Also the most important thing here is if you one day want to conceive. Some people have so many hormonal issues that when they are ready to have a baby it’s hard because their body needs to heal. For some it takes 1.5-4 years to get pregnant and as we females know there’s a time clock for us so the sooner you get your hormone health balanced the better chance you have of conceiving rather than coming to that point where you are ready but find out you have a bunch of hormone issues and that time frame becomes longer before you can actually have a baby. This is not to say if you can’t have a child at later ages, but your adrenal health will suffer more and your ovaries just don’t produce as many viable eggs the older we get and the body just can’t do what it can at the younger stages. However I have said it so many times the more you know the better you do and the better we take care of our bodies the better chances we have for everything!

For me going off was just to have optimal health. One day I did want the chance to have a baby though and as so many hormone doctors have told me the earlier you start the better + the better the life you will lead.

So this is what I did. I finished my last pill packet and that whole month I ate for my endocrine system based off the protocol. I had stocked up on period products because I wasn’t sure when it would come since the BC I was on had stopped it all together before (seems fab and it was but this is actually SO bad for you). Some people get it right away (me 3 weeks later) and some don’t get it at all the first couple months and more concerning 3-4 months out. Typically if you don’t get it within a 28-35 day cycle going off you should consult a doctor because it means their is a bigger underlying issue with your hormones that should get checked. Many women actually have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and Endometriosis and symptoms vary because BC masks the symptoms in some cases not all. PCOS is high levels of androgens in the body and is linked to missed or irregular periods, excess hair growth, really heavy periods, easy weight gain, and worst type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, and endometrial cancer when not managed. Endometriosis is when you have abnormal tissue growing outside your uterine lining and can cause severe pain or other hormonal issues. You learn all about these in woman code but feel free to do research!! Remember the more you know the better you can do :)

So my period thankfully came back like clock work 3 weeks later. However it was VERY light, like too light to be normal, and not be tmi but your blood color matters and mine was off. It was very dark which meant I had low levels of progesterone. Also, it actually started to come about every 18 days so almost every two weeks which also was no bueno. This meant I had a sluggish thyroid and my FSH and estrogen levels were off. So even though I got a period right away my hormones were a little out of whack even still and this was eating for my endocrine system too. So you see BC messes with ya. No thanks! I had kept a diary and wrote down everyday how I felt, how I was feeling, and if I noticed any body changes all throughout these first couple months so that I could really keep track of what was going on in my body. This is how I was able to realize that even though my fatigue was better it was still not the best and I was still having irregular sleep patterns. I quit coffee at this point as well so I could regulate my levels more through this process so I knew in that my cortisol levels were off. Which meant my adrenals were working too hard and the caffeine was putting my body in a state of stress even if I wasn’t feeling stressed. Will all that this meant the rest of my system needed help. Here is the thing I learned most when your hormones are off it’s a domino effect on the rest of the body. So to feel your best self pay attention to what your body tries to tell you through these little changes. They might be minor that is why it’s so important to start connecting yourself back into your body. It’s crazy how many of us are just living but not in tune or we are and ignore the signs. Listen to your body. It’s way more important than what’s in the head and keep going.

I currently am on a supplement protocol + eating right for my body and endocrine system and my periods are nearly to where they should be. I started taking Gaia Herbs Thyroid support, this is to help regulate my period time frame back to that 21-28 day cycle. Ideally on the later side. Vitex Berry to help my progesterone levels so that the oxidation of my blood is healthy. I had to pay attention to what the color was when my period started and ended to know this. Vitamin D, we all (men and women) should be taking this because unless we live on an island our body lacks this vitamin and we don’t eat nearly enough for it and this just helps our bodies natural production of all hormones and regulation. I use Here comes the Sun by HUM Nutrition a brand I trust with the capsules and sourcing. I will link all of these at the bottom. I also take EU Naturals Vitality supplement for my adrenal health. I work A LOT. I used to be worst and experienced burn out quite often and chronic fatigue. It felt like I was hit with a freight train waking up in the morning so my adrenals were so shot and my cortisol levels were all wrong. I still have a ways to go to get this hormone back on track and it requires better sleep habits, more relaxing, and mindful living. This all is a life style change not just doing something to do it. Our bodies and our health are no joke so commit to yourself here for you.

I haven’t felt this good in a long time though you guys! I know with continuing to improve my food choices and making better decisions for my health i’ll live a much better life style and age more gracefully lol. Going of BC was the best thing for me. I did a lot of research and made sure to prepare my body and was mindful. I observed and listened to what I needed. The info is all out there it just requires you to dig a little deeper and remember each of us are so unique that it affects us all different. Make your decision for you. Just don’t be scared. I was terrified and took like a year to finally pull the plug and get off of it and when I did I would never go back. It’s just scary to make big changes in anything.

Overall it’s been good. I will be getting a saliva test to get a more detailed overview of my hormone levels now and go from there. I will be sure to share more and as always message me, comment below, or tell me what you want to know! I want to be a resource for yall and always researching :D

Xo,
Shay