My Story of Going off of Birth Control after 13 years: How I went off, what happened, how you can do
I was one of those teenagers who broke out a ton in high school. I tried Accutane (week, I know), antibiotics, topicals and I had reached a breaking point and (I thought) my last option was birth control. Looking back, I am sure my breakouts were related stress, food and exercise. But back in the early 2000’s the holistic information was not readily available to me, it just was a world I didn't even know anything about. So we went to what we thought was the best option, and that was hormonal birth control. Little did I know, there were going to be side effects.
After being on the pill for 3 years, I went to college and I thought I was ready to to you go off of it (since it had cleared my skin and I was not sexually active at the time). But before I tell you what happened, tell you a little bit about my life in college:
At this time, I was taking 18 units (on the quarter system), I had an internship I worked 25 hours a week for, my classes were extremely academically challenging for me as I was in chem, bio and psych (if you know you know), I was trying to maintain a social life that consisted of irregular sleep and going to bed between 3-5 in the morning, being overly stressed, and also eating crappy food from the dining commons.
Ok, back to the the story. I decide to go off of the pill so I stop taking it cold turkey. A month goes by, I don’t get my period. 2 months go by, I don’t get my period. 3 months, 4 months, 5 months, 6 months - no period. I finally go to the OBGYN after 6 months without my period to see what was happening. She initiates a 24 hour urine test, an MRI on my pituitary gland and gives me a pill that should essentially make me bleed immediately (like what the heck was in that anyway). No conclusions were drawn, no period again month 7 and 8.
At this point she tells me something that I will NEVER FORGET. She tells a 22 year old college girl, alone in the room,
“This means you are going to have a lot of trouble having children of your own. You may not be able to get pregnant, and if you want to get pregnant, you’re going to need a lot of help.”
She then proceeds to tell me,
“We need to put you back on the pill so you can regulate your hormones, it’s not safe for you to not be bleeding this long.”
I left that appointment feeling absolutely devastated. I cried for a week straight.
I was told to go back on the pill.
I was told I couldn’t have kids.
I was already stressed, and this stressed me out even more.
I felt like something was wrong with ME.
Another 9 years go by and I am on the pill. I start to feel some really weird side effects that I just thought was related to food, lifestyle, environment etc.
Frustration and overwhelm
Really horrible digestive issues
It honestly all changed when I found Maddie Miles on Instagram. Maddie was an Instagram friend of mine who I actually loved to follow because of her positivity. She shared her own journey of going off of hormonal birth control and educating women on cycle syncing, seed cycling, the negative impact that birth control has on your body, how it gives you mood swings, gives you insomnia and is totally scary for female hormonal health. I felt intrigued to know more since all of my symptoms were exactly what she described!
Here’s a BASIC breakdown of cycle syncing:
Females have 4 phases of their cycle;
During each of these 4 phases, the female body will need different nutrients from food. These nutrients help regulate the cycle and diminish PMS, mood swings, breakouts, cramps, and other negative side effects that come during a month. I was fascinated by the fact that we could potently eat foods to help mitigate that difficulty. She talks about what forms of exercise to do during each phase. Yup - there is a way to move the body to support the female cycle too. I started with seed cycling, which is just the simple consumption of 2 different kinds of seeds every day depending on which phase you’re in.
I literally knew NOTHING. I had no idea where to start. So here's what I did:
I purchased Maddie’s Hormone Harmony eBook, which was super helpful. I was determined to educate myself on it based on resources out there. Her eBook walked me through the basics and gave me simple charts I printed out and still keep on my fridge and around my desk!
Once I felt ready to make the leap off birth control I wanted to do it the right way.
I decided to hire Maddie to help coach me on how to get off the pill, just so I didn't have the same issue I had years back. We scheduled a 30 minute consultation where she was extremely helpful in preparing me for the next few months. We talked about ways to lower stress, what to eat, what to do, how to exercise, and supplements to take to help prepare my body for a natural bleed. I felt totally supported.
I decided to use her recommendations for 3 months, before quitting the pill. She checked in on me, supported me and answered literally all of my questions. I went from feeling absolutely lost to pretty educated.
Every single person is different, bio-individuality. So I always recommend speaking with a practitioner about your supplements.
I started taking a liver supplement (because the liver is super compromised when on birth control, especially for a long period of time), a women’s multi-vitamin, a digestive enzyme (to help my body absorb the food I was eating), and L-Glutamine (to help strengthen my gut lining).
I made sure I practiced lowering my cortisol, here’s what I implemented:
Grounding: putting my feed in the grass a few times daily.
Meditating: every single morning in the direct sunlight to help my body relax.
Journaling: every single morning in the direct sunlight about things I am grateful for.
Doing less: saying no to more plans, taking it easy, resting, relaxing and slowing down.
Eating more: I stopped intermittent fasting, that actually can have a huge impact on the female body. I ate when I was hungry, and it was ok that it was a lot more food than before!
Finally, I remember the day I stopped taking it. It was like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. We synced up with the moon, which was another fun fact I learned about the female body (we work well with the phases of the moon). The first month rolls around and BOOM, I got my period on the exact day that Maddie said I would… it was a literal miracle. I called her crying I was so happy!
This picture was taken on the day I got my period, I feel like you can see it in my eyes how happy I was.
My faith in myself came back. As soon as I made myself a priority, it all worked out! It has now been 4 months since I have gone off the pill, 4 months since my life has changed, and it's thanks to people like Maddie for educating us and helping empower women to make thoughtful decisions.
I am just sharing my story and hope that I can inspire one other female out there to take control of their health. We are all so precious, and this mass medication often makes us all feel crazy. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can all feel our best!
I recommend you check out Maddies social & connect with her if you have questions on your own journey!
Podcast: Peace. Love. Hormones.
What is the best form way to prevent getting pregnant if you're off of birth control?
This was my biggest question as well. I learned from Maddie that there are only a few days in the month you can get pregnant. So here's a podcast that goes more in depth! Link to Maddie's Podcast on Natural Birth Control (for pregnancy prevention)
Weight gain and it's correlation to birth control?
Maddie talks about the pill having many side effects that impact the female body. Many medical professionals don't talk about it. She says that it can cause metabolic issues like insulin disregulation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also impacts the gut, liver and raises inflammation in our body. It has an impact on thyroid and MUCH MORE. Check out this post.
How long does it take for our hormones to reset?
Good question and I feel like that's a question for Maddie! From my understanding it takes at least 6 months up to a year.
Let’s continue the conversation on Instagram, DM me! Let’s chat! Love you all.