To start off, this is not medical advice. I am not a doctor or nurse and am not suggesting that anyone should not take birth control. However, I feel that it was important for women to be informed about the possible side effects of birth control, so I wanted to share my story.
I started taking birth control when I was 18 because I had irregular periods and I was young and wanted a form of contraceptive. When I went on it the doctor did not mention any of the side effects and prescribed me some random brand. I experienced wild mood swings, anxiety and depression when I went on the pill but did not see the correlation at the time. Even though birth control was definitely the culprit.
Getting off of birth control was always looming over me. As I got older I learned more about the side effects I knew I wanted to ditch it. Beyond the Pill by Jolene Brighton is a fantastic resource that I leaned on. A big thing preventing me from getting off of it was that I was terrified of the side effects. While I was healing my mental health I knew deep down that getting off of birth control was the missing piece.
Eventually I decided to take the leap to go off of it and followed Jolene Brighton's protocol in her book Beyond the Pill. I followed her protocols and did not experience any negative side effects except for a bout of insomnia that quickly dissipated.
How I Prepared my body to go off of birth control :
- Supplementing: Birth control depletes your body of zinc and B vitamins so I made sure to supplement with those. I also started taking a hormone balancing supplement and a liver cleansing supplement. In addition I added in some gut supplements such as a gut healing supplement and a good quality probiotic. Lastly I added in a psyllium husk supplement for extra fiber to help cleanse out the hormones.
- Ditching Alcohol: Alcohol increases estrogen production so I cut it out when I went off of the pill.
- Diet: I was already eating a healthy plant based diet but I made sure to add in more hormone balancing veggies like broccoli and carrots. I also added a variety of seeds which have hormone balancing properties.
Now that I have been off of birth control for more than a year I have been able to pinpoint individual health issues that were caused or aggravated by birth control. Everyone is different but birth control contributed to a lot of health issues for me that I did not even fully grasp until I stopped taking it.
Health Improvements I noticed after ditching birth control:
- Improved gut health: I used to get horrible acid indigestion, which went away after I went off of the pill. Also, I used to get gassy and bloated very easily which completely went away after I stopped birth control.
- Better mood and mental health: I do credit most of my mental health to the inner work I did with things like meditation. However I do think getting off of birth control was the missing piece. I feel much more in control of my emotions and do have the mood swings I was getting before and I think I can handle "bad" things much easier.
- Balanced blood sugar: While on the pill I could never fully balance my blood sugar even though I was eating a balanced diet. I would get hypoglycemia and was always hungry. If I ate even 30 minutes late I would fly off the handle mood wise. This resolved itself pretty quickly after going off of birth control and now I have found I need to eat far less often and crave less sweets.
- No chest pain: This was the scariest birth control symptom I had - sharp chest pains whenever I felt stressed. Originally I thought this was just an anxiety related issue but I now know birth control was causing it. Now, even when I have bad anxiety I never get chest pain.
It has been over a year without birth control and I am so happy I made the decision to go off of it. I can truly say I am healthier and happier. It feels so good to be in tune with my own body without any artificial hormones dictating my cycle. I even have been able to regulate my cycle which was the whole reason I went on the pill to begin with ( FYI birth control never helped this problem).
Of course everyone is an individual and it is possible that birth control does not have negative side effects on everyone. I am in no means trying to convince anyone to stop taking birth control, however I did want to provide a resource for those who may be considering it.
What has been your experience with birth control? Let me know in the comments.