Please remember- I am NOT a doctor and this is NOT medical advice, however, I will be noting much of my information from two doctors I trust to speak on this topic. You must always find your own doctor to assist with your health and hormones, but be sure to find one with values and methods that align with yours!
Many of you know how much I avoid synthetic drugs as often as possible, so one of the most frequent questions I get here is what do you do about birth control!? While many people think things like hormone-free IUD’s may be a better option, the sad reality is, anything your doctor may suggest for you can come with a slew of side effects, yes, even non-hormonal options and thousands of women are suffering because of it. I honestly have never had more messages, from any other topic, than this one which truly has me heartbroken to learn that so many women are struggling to clean up the mess their birth control has left them with.
Often, women are also using birth control to treat more serious issues like PCOS, endometriosis, heavy periods, acne or painful cramps, without being told that it’s more so just suppressing the symptoms than it is actually treating it. To those that say birth control is “working” for them, if you stop, what happens? If the symptoms worsen or reappear then it may be a sign that your birth control is simply putting the problem on pause and not truly healing you. For any true hormone disruption, getting to the root cause is always the best bet. Look for a more holistic or wellness-based doctor or Naturopath that will suggest alternative treatment methods because they are out there, my doctor at Nourish Medical Center here in San Diego is one of them! Also, you may not be suffering from side effects while using birth control but when you quit, it is very common to see the damage done to your body and it’s natural system which is why I wanted to have a blog with some tips on some more natural methods for those interested in taking back control of their hormones and health.
Before I tell you all about what I use, I wanted to do brief statements on the other forms of Birth Control most women are on and a few side effects for you to consider. Besides all of the common side effects we all know about by now, the entire point of BC is to release synthetic hormones into your uterus to force your body to do things it is not naturally meant to do. I remember when I was younger, the concept of not having a period was so appealing but when you really think about it, that’s so unnatural and unhealthy to stop your period and today, many women are actually struggling to become pregnant or suffering from multiple miscarriages because of the possible damage these medications did to them over time. I share this info not to scare but to say hey, the symptoms you may be experiencing just might have to do with the form of birth control you are using.
What many doctors also fail to mention is that women who stay on synthetic hormones for 10+ years showed a 38% increase in the risk of developing breast cancer compared to those not using. So, the longer you are on these hormone-altering medications, the more you are at risk for more serious illness. Again, I am not a doctor and am only sharing my personal opinion to encourage you to figure out the best option for you but you can read my doctor, Dr. Jess’s blog on the same topic here!
Most Common Forms of Birth Control-
- The Pill- 91-99% effective– Many pill users have horrible side effects while using this form of BC. I personally took it for a brief moment in college and I legit thought I was going insane. I would cry hysterically for no reason, gained a ton of weight, even though my doctor said I wouldn’t, and overall was just miserable pretty much 24/7. So miserable that one day I flung it out my car window while driving, that’s how unstable I was, I erratically littered without batting a lash, I just wanted it out of my life lol. Some other side effects besides wild mood swings and weight gain are migraines, hormone disruptions (duh), depression, painful acne, sore breasts, missed periods, spotting, blood clots, hair loss, nausea and more.
- Morning After Pill- 95% effective– Pretty much the same as the above- Side effects include abdominal cramping, heavier bleeding, bloating, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, hormone disruption, mood swings, vomiting, and breast tenderness.
- Condoms- 85-95% effective– Condoms made from latex can cause irritations that lead to infections for those with an allergy.
- Copper IUD– 99% effective– Besides the above side effects, these copper ion devices also put you at risk for long-term, heavier bleeding and can slip out of the uterus leaving you at unknown risk for pregnancy. Because this device stays inside of you for long periods of time, you are also at risk for infection from bacteria accumulating and copper toxicity, especially if you have underlying issues like MTHFR. Lastly, the devices also can push through the wall of your uterus which can result in needing surgery to remove it.
- Hormonal IUD- 99% effective- Many that have used devices like Mirena have just as many issues as the forms above as they are hormone-releasing devices. Mirena users complain of prolonged, intense cramping, prolonged bleeding, low sex drive, pain during sex, depression, spotting, hair loss, and acne. If you visit the actual Mirena website, they list the possible risks as pelvic infections, discharge, heavy bleeding, chills, fever, life-threatening infection, uterus embedding, damage to other organs and possible cysts on the ovary.
- Nuva Ring- 91% effective– Another device designed to effortlessly release synthetic hormones into the body, sadly also comes with many of the above side effects. This device totally stops ovulation which is again, not healthy for your body to be doing. Another risk is that to be effective, you have to change the ring on time or else you are at risk for pregnancy. Some common side effects of the ring are spotting, rapid weight gain, dry skin, low energy, insomnia, brain fog, dark and depressing thoughts, hyperpigmentation, pregnancy mustache, bleeding, headaches, nausea, loss of sex drive, sore breasts, acne and more.
- Depo Shot- 94% effective- On the Planned Parenthood website, the very first sentence is that this shot is safe and easy BUT it also comes with some side effects. Oxymoron much? Some of their side effects are listed as permanent dents where the shot was given, depression, weight gain, emotional instability, irregular bleeding, loss of period, bone density loss, nausea, sore breasts, headaches and hormone disruptions for up to 10 months once quitting. Some of my readers also mentioned how much this shot negatively impacted their life, with the injection site still being tender, months after receiving and then bleeding for 2 entire weeks for five years after stopping.
- Nexplanon Arm Implant– 99% effective- Another hormone distributing device I have never even heard of, ugh… but to quote one of my followers, “The Nexplanon arm implant is a fucking nightmare! I had it in for 8 months and it turned me into a crazy person!!! They say it is the most effective form but I will never ever consider it again in my life.” According to the Planned Parenthood website, the side effects include headaches, breast pain, nausea, weight gain, ovarian cysts, pain, bruising or risk of infection where the implant was placed. These also can go wrong quickly, sometimes needing surgery to be removed if infected or inflamed.
- Birth Control Patch- 91% effective- If you have not noticed yet, there really is no such thing as a “good” birth control option and the patch is yet another example that any device or pill that is consistently releasing synthetic hormones puts you at risk for some major emotional and physical changes. On the Planned Parenthood website, the side effects of the patch are sore skin where the patch is, bleeding, spotting, nausea, severe belly pain, trouble breathing, headaches, yellowing of the eyes and back pain. They also warn that those with certain health problems avoid it altogether. One reader shared her story on the patch, claiming after just one week she was crying her eyes out with huge, swollen breasts. She also had blurred vision that she believes was from this patch as well.
How to Quit The Pill-
After your body has been used to synthetic hormones for so long, you have to be very mindful of how you go about quitting and this is something I really rely on doctors for! One doctor that I personally love for all things hormone health is Dr. Jolene Brighten, as she educates all about how to get your mood, skin, and libido back to normal after quitting. Once a doctor that was prescribing patients birth control also, she realized she had not been properly trained on the true, full story of these medications so she took it upon herself to learn and research them closer. What she found blew her away. She found it very ironic that the very medication doctors were giving women for heavier periods, acne, mood swings, and hormone issues were also being totally dismissed for causing even worse mood-related changes. If the medicine can be given for these problems, it can absolutely be causing them to worsen, it only made perfect sense to her.
Dr. Brighten also reminds women that 66% of women were placed on synthetic hormones for imbalances, however, birth control will never fix that, only suppress your symptoms. Not only does she have an Instagram page with endless resources, but she also has a book called Beyond the Pill and an entire online course for restoring your hormones naturally. If you read the reviews on Amazon, women have had amazing success with her book so it is a great place to start your quest. You can also view her Birth Control Hormone Reset program here.
Heavy periods, no periods, acne, mood swings, and libido loss are all symptoms from stopping birth control but the good news is, over time, that usually improves if you put in the work according to Dr. Brighten. For those that have more serious issues like Endometriosis or PCOS, it is a sign that something deeper is going on so really planning ahead, alongside a doctor is very important to prep your body for detox. She also does share a few great tips on her website for those ready to quit that may not be able to afford her plan so I will share those here-
- Hormone Friendly Diet- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is great during this time as your body is going to be going through a rough time resetting itself. She mentions that many of her patients have depleted nutrients so finding a doctor to help you figure out your nutrient and hormone levels is ideal. For those self-treating, check out the AIP diet as a great place to learn more about anti-inflammatory diets to see if it may be beneficial to you during this time. Removing refined sugar, dairy, conventional meats full of hormones and gluten alone are two very important steps to reduce inflammation. The book above also has various meal recipes to support you as well.
- Support- If you are able to afford it, look for a doctor in your area that specializes in more natural methods and root cause treatments. You can Google or Yelp “Naturopathic Doctors in San Diego” or whatever your city is and start to research doctors in your area that might align with your beliefs better. If you can not budget this, her book above is a really great tool to start with.
- Stress- During this time, it is critical to keep your stress as low as you can and to be getting plenty of sleep.
- Supplements- Adding in a hormone balancing supplement is very beneficial during this time.
- Ditching the Toxins- Removing endocrine disrupting ingredients and supplies from your everyday routine is a personal tip of mine. The more disruptive the items on us are, the more you are at risk for continued hormone issues. Things like plastic in Tupperwareerware or disposable water bottles, makeup or skincare, synthetic fragrances that can also disrupt hormones, also found in your everyday beauty or home products, candles and air fresheners etc! Toxins and pesticides are sadly surrounding us so the more you can eliminate them from your food and products during this time, the better.
Hormone Balancing Supplements-
Thankfully, my doctor Dr. Jess has a product called Hormone Master that really has helped so many women ween off their birth control. Anytime you are making such a dramatic change, you want to do it carefully and ideally, alongside a doctor you trust. Dr. Jess actually has her own line of Wild-Crafted & Organic supplements designed to correct the hormone imbalances that often come from using synthetic forms of birth control. Many of my followers have actually sent me their success stories after using this so it is something great to look into.
Hormone Master can be taken by anyone wanting to reset their natural cycle, those with estrogen dominance, irregular periods, mood swings, acne or migraines. Both men and women can take this, however, you do not want to take if pregnant OR breastfeeding. Some improvements from this supplement should be more regulated hormones which hopefully results in clearer skin, reduced cramping, increased libido, and an overall better mood.
For anyone that may be suffering from hair loss, my girl Organic Olivia also just released her Mane Magic which is designed to improve hair growth and reduce shedding. The good news is both men and women are loving it, the bad news is- it’s sold out until May but you can head to her site to be notified of when it is back in! She also has various supplements that I love and use personally, one being her Immune Shroom that helps boost the body’s defenses. I also love her Mood Juice which helps with mood balancing and balancing the nervous system. My only note is, herbs are very powerful so please research the proper items and dosage to ensure they are right for you. Now, to learn more about what method I suggest to try out instead! My #1 choice for monitoring your hormones, naturally is the Daysy Fertility Device.
What is the Daysy Fertility Device?
This device is a 99.3% accurate, super smart and reliable fertility tracker that uses your body’s waking temperature to let you know when you are infertile and fertile. While this sounds complex and risky, the Daysy device has over 30 years of research and really does make it very easy to monitor your fertility all without any harmful side effects. So, wondering how it works? Here is how!
- Use the device every AM under your tongue to measure your temperature.
- Tell the device if you are or are not menstruating.
- Let Daysy evaluate your data to let you know if you will be fertile in the next 24 hours.
Not only is it so easy to use, but you also are not pumping your body full of synthetic hormones each day and it really is so empowering to be more in tune with your body’s natural cycle. I also love that it links right to my phone so I have easy access to all of my current and past cycles right in my hand.
My Review of The Device-
I have had this device for years now, for so long that I still have their very first model, I just have never had the time to sit down and type this all out! At first, there is a small learning curve as you have to now remember to take your temperature every single morning. I never took a birth control pill but if you do, I suppose you have to remember to do that anyway so this won’t be too different. Once I got past that, it really was so easy to use, taking just one minute per morning to use. Also, if you miss a day or two, it usually will not cause a major problem but the more you measure, the better.
Like any major change, this does take 2-4 cycles of use for it to get to know your body and cycle but you must stop all other forms of birth control before use. You will see on the device that she is very skeptical during this time. As soon as you see more green and less red and yellow, you will know that she is catching on! It is very easy to see when you are fertile as Daysy will show you a solid red light.
Want to give the Daysy device a try? If so, add it to your cart to see your $20 OFF affiliate discount here!
Condoms & Personal Lubricants-
Many also have asked me for a cleaner condom or personal lubricant options so I wanted to share a few here! I actually had Woo For Play in an Organic Bunny Box that girls love, code ORGANICBUNNY may still work, and for condoms, I have heard good things about Sustain Natural and LOLA brands. I have yet to try them myself so this one is a word of mouth referral only!
Overall, I hope this blog, at the very least, encouraged you to research all sides of your health and hormones to make the very best choices for yourself in the future!