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Are You Suffering From Post-Birth Control Symptoms?

As a woman, getting off birth control isn’t as easy as one may think. You’re facing a mood that’s getting worse, erratic digestion, and issues with your periods. All this can be experienced by women after ditching their birth control meds, leaving women thinking that the only solution is to get back on the pill or a whole host of other attempts to solve the problem. But you need to dive a little deeper to see what’s really happening.

According to Beyond the Pill, it’s a process called post-birth control syndrome (PCBS), which is a 4-6 month period of symptoms women accumulate following when they stop taking hormonal birth control.

While PCBS symptoms can bring some women back to their hormonal levels prior to birth control, other women will experience PCBS symptoms for the first time and not understand what is going on inside them.

This article is written purely for educational purposes on what PCBS is and what measures can be taken if these symptoms are currently being experienced.

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The Symptoms 

Understand that each cell in the body has a receptor for natural hormones and that each hormone influences every biological system in the body. It should therefore be understood that the synthetic hormones found within birth control can impact biological systems in a multitude of ways. Below is a long list of just some of the symptoms that can occur from PCBS:

  • Lowered libido
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Changes in bowels
  • Leaky gut
  • Gut dysbiosis
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation)
  • Depression
  • Heavy, painful periods
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Acne, cystic acne, rosacea
  • Migraines
  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Anxiety
  • Gas or bloating
  • Inflammation and other immune imbalances
  • Adrenal dysfunction

Unfortunately, it is easy for doctors to look at these symptoms and deem them to be unrelated to birth control for two reasons. First, many doctors falsely believe that birth control medications only affect the reproductive system. Second, these symptoms can take up to months–and even years–to appear after medication use is stopped.

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How To Recover From Post Birth Control Syndrome

There are five areas to focus on when trying to heal the effects of birth control.

Photo of a woman at doctors office examining the thyroid gland
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Note The Imbalance Of Your Hormones

It is important to note that hormonal birth control impacts all biological parts that produce hormones, including the brain, thyroid, adrenal glands, thymus, pancreas, and ovaries. It is therefore going to be necessary to identify where your hormonal imbalance is coming from to take the necessary protocol for prevention.

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Get That Gut Healed

Heal the gut, heal the hormones. One of the side effects of using contraceptive pills is that it can lead to intestinal permeability (leaky gut), increasing the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease. Moreover, this can lead to an estrogen imbalance by overproducing the enzyme beta glucuronidase by having estrogen put back into circulation.

One way to combat this is to make sure you include zinc in your diet. Zinc, which helps heal the intestines, can be found in foods such as red meat, oysters, and pumpkin seeds. In addition, dieting with nutritious, dense foods high in fiber along with fermented foods such as kim chi serve to support a healthy microbiome. Seed cycling is yet another way to help maintain hormone balance and a healthy gut.

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Have Your Nutrients Replenished

The use of birth control can certainly deplete certain nutrients essential to the body’s overall well-being. More specifically, the pill has been shown to cause deficiencies in folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, B2, B6, and B12, not to mention minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and selenium. In addition, important antioxidants such as CoQ10 can be depleted.

This is why it is going to be imperative to make sure that you are dieting with nutrient rich foods that target these deficiencies. Try to incorporate vegetables in every meal along with high quality fat and protein in order to rebuild healthy hormones and optimize blood sugar. If you are currently using birth control, it is highly recommended that you supplement with a multivitamin or prenatal in addition with CoQ10.

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Re-Regulate Your Metabolism 

The inflammatory nature of birth control medication means that it can throw off the metabolic systems in the body. Metabolic disruption can result in blood sugar dysregulation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and increase the risk of cardiovascular events as well. Whether you are currently on birth control or are trying to get off of it, the acronym BEAT is something that you are going to want to keep in mind to make sure your metabolic systems are optimized (Brighten Metabolic Protocol).

  • Banish sugar and refined carbs
  • Eat plenty of vegetables with real food
  • Activity daily
  • Time your meals

Engaging in physical activity is vital to reducing inflammation as cells become more sensitized to insulin. Eating real foods and eliminating sugary foods will further improve your rate of healing.

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Detox

The depletion of key nutrients caused by birth control alters the body’s ability to detox itself from excess hormones. The liver, which is crucial to optimizing the correct hormones, is altered by birth control pills on a genetic and molecular level. Hence, it is important to provide the liver and body with the proper support to reduce the damage that the detox inhibiting effects of birth control can have.

You can do this by consuming certain supplements such as liposomal glutathione and N-acetycysteine (NAC). Taking a daily dose of 100 to 200 milligrams of Liposomal glutathione does wonders in supporting your liver. On the other hand, NAC is an amino acid precuroser to glutathione that can help improve gut function, fertility, and mood while also reducing risk of miscarriage. A recommended dose would be to take 600 to 900 milligrams twice daily.