When getting off of birth control, it isn’t always as simple as you may think. The process of discontinuing the pill, removing the IUD, and so on is easy. But the after-effects can last for months or years if not treated right away. A major way to support your body is going through a detox from hormonal birth control.
This isn’t a detox to lose weight or something wild like that. The purpose of the detox is to remove excess hormones, inflammation, and so on from the body. Weight loss may be a side effect, but it isn’t the goal.
The goal is to have a period every month like clockwork. The menstrual cycle is an intricate process, in which stress, poor diet, too much exercise, etc can stop our period. We want to give our bodies the tools to know it is safe to become pregnant (even if you don’t want to).
why is it important to detox from hormonal birth control?
What hormonal birth control does is stop the communication between our brain and our ovaries. It disrupts the HPO axis or hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Women are naturally supposed to go through a hormonal cycle each month. Primally, our body’s goal is to get pregnant to keep the species alive.
By stopping this communication, our reproductive organs don’t know to create a follicle to then produce an egg. Therefore, when we get off hormonal birth control, we need to re-establish that communication. Source: Here
Unfortunately, birth control is often used as a bandaid for other reproductive disorders. For me, I went on birth control due to irregular cycles and acne. However, in hindsight, hormonal tests should have been done. During that time period, I had severe eating disorder behaviors.
I am sure other women have been put on birth control for the same reason. In which, for women who are in my shoes, those symptoms often come back. Some symptoms can include:
- Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation)
- Heavy, painful periods
- Acne, Cystic Acne, Rosacea
- Hair loss
- Blood Sugar Dysregulation
- Gas or Bloating
- Changes in Bowels
- Leaky Gut
- Gut Dysbiosis
These are all connected to post-birth control syndrome. This is something I want to dive into more as it affects so many women. For other conditions, the symptoms of endometriosis, PCOS, and etc can also come back.
How do I begin supporting my body?
Restore Nutrient Deficiencies
The way to detox your body from hormonal birth control is by giving it the nutrients it needs. Typically, women on birth control can be a deficiency in Folate, B-Vitamins, Selenium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
I recommend a whole food paleo-based diet. This is a major way you can get nutrients in. Aim to buy produce that is organic and seasonal. Include animal products that are antibiotic and hormone-free, pasture-raised, organic, grass-fed/grass-finished and freshwater seafood.
This is a major step if you eat the Standard American Diet. Along with the paleo diet, you will be cutting out dairy, gluten, soy, and refined sugar. We want to reduce as much inflammation as possible.
I’d also consider a prenatal multi-vitamin. When looking for a prenatal, ensure it contains methyl-folate. This is the form of folate that our bodies can absorb effectively. If you prefer to not use a multi-vitamin, I’d look into:
- Zinc: Research has found that women on the pill had lower levels of plasma zinc.
- Chelated Magnesium – Research has found that hormonal birth control can reduce magnesium serum levels.
- Methylated B-Vitamins – Research has found that oral contraceptives can negatively affect B6 vitamin and B12 vitamin.
- Selenium – This is used to help your liver remove the excess hormones, but also any heavy metals.
- Vitamin C – This is mainly used as a way to boost immunity, but it is also critical for prenatal health.
Heal Your Gut
Unfortunately, birth control can have a major impact on gut health. The use of synthetic hormones can disrupt our gut flora. This can lead to the overgrowth of bacteria and/or yeast in the body. The most common concerns are:
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
- Candida Overgrowth
- Gut Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut)
What is critical is to get tested. I made the mistake of not testing and trying to self-diagnosis. It does not work ladies…I would look into a comprehensive stool test and the breathe test if SIBO is a concern.
Another test to consider is a hormone panel that includes LH, FSH, Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, Free Testosterone, and Pregnenolone. This will reveal any hormonal imbalances which will also need to be addressed.
Detox Your Body
We finally made it to how to detox from hormonal birth control! By correct nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and gut dysbiosis is important for liver health. You don’t want to overload your liver!
When it comes to detoxing it is a two-step process:
- Phase 1 – Estradiol and Estrone are converted into ideally 2-hydroxy-estradiol and 2-hydroxy-estrone. These are the two forms we want to see!
- Phase 2 – Those two hormones are then attached to glucuronic acid to then be flushed out.
This is very important to flush out extra estrogen from the body (especially if you’re estrogen dominant).
There are key nutrients to support this process, in which a lot will be consumed by food or a prenatal. For example:
- Phase 1 – Folic Acid, B Vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Milk Thistle, and so on.
- Phase 2 – Amino Acids, Cruciferous Vegetables, MSM, and so on.
Some women can simply take a liver detox supplement, but others may need a complete liver detox. Somethings you can do now to support your detox pathways are:
- Include foods such as beets (beet kvass is amazing), carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, dandelion root, lemon, garlic, and burdock root.
- Liver-GI Detox
- Zendocrine Essential Oil
- Drink Tons of Water – Your body divided by two to then equal your daily amount of oz of water.
- Aim for 8+ hours of sleep per night.
- Ensure your digestive pathways are open as you have to be pooping!
- Exercise – I personally love walking, resistance training, yoga, and so on.
- Reduce as much stress as possible.
Do I have to do all of these to detox?
Pick and choose which ones fit into your lifestyle and schedule to help your liver detox. I would not recommend doing all of these as too much detox can be just as bad.
I personally recommend a nutrient-dense/paleo diet, daily exercise, drink enough water, lemon water in the morning, zendocrine, liver-GI detox, and tons of sleep!
Getting of hormonal birth control is 100% worth it. It is just a matter of giving your body extra TLC until it gets back into its natural flow (pun intended).
I’d love it if you’d share this with your girlfriends and thank youu so much for reading!
**This information is not meant as medical or nutritional advice. Always check with your qualified healthcare professional before incorporating new supplements or nutritional changes into your routine. A Primal Health Coach (PHC) is trained to evaluate nutritional needs and make recommendations for dietary changes and nutritional supplements. A PHC is unable to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or medical condition. I cannot guarantee any specific result from recommendations as we are all bio-individually different. If you are under the care of a healthcare provider, it is important that you contact them and alert them to any changes in your lifestyle in regards to nutrition and supplements. A health coach may be a beneficial addition to more traditional care, and it may also alter your need for medication, so it is important you always keep your physician informed of changes in your nutritional program.