One thing many of my clients have asked me a lot recently is “how do I come off the pill?” What to expect, what to do. Many of them are anxious about symptoms, nutrient deficiencies and other issues.
Others worry about when their fertility will return, and whether they need to think of alternative contraception. Additionally, if you want to conceive, the pill is known to cause deficiencies, so you really want to make sure you get the into a good place at the very least 3 months before you want to conceive so you can ensure you eggs are at their optimal health for a healthier embryo.
Here are some tips I recommend to women considering coming off the pill:
1. Start Charting Your Cycle
It can take a while for your cycle to return and get into a healthy cycle again, if you start charting your cycle using a symptom-thermal method such as Natural Family Planning (NFP) or Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), you will start to see the signs of fertility returning and if there are any issues, have a better idea of what is causing them.
There are a number of charts and books out there, but most people find they need to learn from a teacher or video. I run webinars on this periodically.
2. Start Thinking About Your Nutrient Levels
The pill often causes issues with levels vitamin C and a number of B vitamins such as B2, B6, B9 and B12. Minerals that tend to be deficient in women coming off the pill after a long time are selenium (brazil nuts and oysters are a great source), magnesium (dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds) and zinc ( grass fed pasture raised red meat, poultry, nuts and seeds).
I always recommend that people get there levels tested where possible but you can consider supplementation. Some of my favourite brands are Thorne Research and Designs for Health.
3. Start Eating A Diet Rich In Vegetables
Eat plenty of vegetables, plenty of green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables and some brightly coloured vegetables and fruits every day. I aim for around 10 portions a day, at least 7 are vegetables.
4. Eat Good Quality Fats
These are essential for your body to make hormones. My favourites are avocado, coconut, olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish.
5. Start Thinking About Alternative Contraception/Birth Control
Are you in a position to be thinking about this. It is so important if you are active to think about what contraception is right for you. Start exploring different options and if you have a partner, talk to them about alternatives you can try together.
6. If You Have An Underlying Health Problem, Look Into How You Want To Work With It
One of the stressful things about coming off the pill is when you were on it for an underlying condition such as PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, painful or heavy periods. There are lots of things that can be done to manage these conditions without drugs or surgery such as working on your nutrition, Fertility Massage Therapy, acupuncture and reflexology.
7. Learn To Love & Reconnect With Your Body Again
This is an important aspect that is overlooked as in some women, the feedback mechanisms that work to tell our body what to do, don't kick back in after the pill. I have found that this can cause emotional turmoil in some women.
Some things that can help with this are journalling or charting your cycle (I have a free cycle charting kit that you can get sent to your e-mail address on the Free Stuff) page, meditating, wearing skirts again, lying down and holding your hands over your womb. Castor oil packs and womb steams are also great for this. Get your free instructions on the Free Stuff page.
You may also experience some detox symptoms so it is really important to understand that and accept them for what they are rather than just think you have major period issues returning or PMS.
So, now you have a good starting point for what to do when you come off the pill. I understand that if you went on it for period symptoms, that it can be scary to come off, but I can assure you: as someone who had the most severe PCOS symptoms, I can assure you it is possible, but I had to invest in expert help to get me there.
Find Out More:
True or False, if you are having periods, you must be ovulating
All cycles are ovulatory
Does Stress Really Affect Fertility?