Balancing hormone after coming off the pill is a long process. Things do not always reset overnight especially if you have been on the pill for many years. The pill typically works by altering natural hormone levels so there are chances that hormone levels will be affected after stopping the pill. Fortunately, there are home and herbal remedies that can be used to assist the body in restoring balance and help you to minimize the health effects of long-term contraceptive use.
How Birth Control Pill Affects Hormone Balance
Before I start explaining how birth control pill affects hormone balance, let’s explore how it works. Keep reading to learn more.
Basically, you can get two types of pills in the market. They are:
- The mini pill which contains only progestin. It suppresses ovulation, the process in which your ovaries release the eggs and make them available for union with sperm (fertilization). Moreover, it thickens the mucus secreted by the cervix. This, in turn, reduces the chances of fertilization.
- Combination pill which contains progestin and estrogen. It prevents ovulation by making the cervical secretion more viscous and preventing the eggs from reaching the sperm.
In essence, both types of birth control pills affect the levels of various female hormones. Most notably, estrogen and progesterone. In addition, they also trick the brain into believing that no more luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) should be secreted by the pituitary gland. Note that LH and FSH are key to regulating the release of estrogen and progesterone.
When you take a birth control pill for months or even years, which is common, the hormone levels become impacted. Simply put it, it’s like playing with the natural hormone balance to prevent a pregnancy.
Worried if birth control pills cause a problem with future pregnancy? Read my article Does Long-Term Birth Control Use Affect Your Fertility?
Coming Off the Pill? Watch For These 5 Health Problems
Irregular or missed periods and PMS.
When you use the pills for a long time, you may have problems getting back to your usual menstruation cycle. A small fraction of the women taking pills for years may fail to resume periods even after coming off the pill. This condition is called post-pill amenorrhea. Typically, a woman should start getting periods within six months after discontinuing the pill. It can be very stressful if you are planning to get pregnant again. Even if you have a period, it can be accompanied by severe mood changes, headaches, abdominal cramps and bloating. All these contribute to a condition called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
Related: Thinking of getting pregnant again? Read my article on the Best Foods For Fertility. Click here for more.
The Fix: How to balance hormones after coming off the pill and irregular or missed periods
Try ginger tea.
According to a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, ginger may be helpful at relieving the symptoms of PMS. In the study, the participants taking ginger reported a significant reduction in the severity of PMS symptoms. The researchers believe this common spice blocks the enzymes that cause inflammation and pain. Hence, you may also get relief headaches and digestive problems as well.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginger is believed to regulate menstruation by enhancing the flow of ‘qi’, which is a life energy. In CHIOMA Nutrition Asana by LadiesBalance multivitamin capsules, we’ve included ginger, nettle and raspberry leaf.
How To Prepare Ginger Tea?
- Take a piece of fresh ginger and grate it.
- Soak in a quart of filtered water for at least 2 hours.
- Boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Prepare the tea as you would prepare normally.
- Take a glass in the morning and another in the evening.
- For best results, avoid sugar. If you feel the taste is unpalatable, you may add a spoon of honey.
Excessive bleeding and more intense abdominal cramp.
Discontinuing the birth pill can make your periods heavier than what it used to be. Moreover, you might experience a severe abdominal cramp. Typically, this problem is more common among the women who started on the pills in their twenties and left it in their forties.
The Fix: Balance hormones after coming off the pill for excessive bleeding and cramps
According to PubMed Health, when you have such problems, the first thing to do is to reduce stress. At the moment of pain, asking you to relax may seem counterintuitive. But I suggest you take up a relaxation technique and gradually improve your response to the stressful stimulus. Try practicing deep breathing exercises or yoga for at 10-15 minutes.
The best nutritional approach to treating heavy bleeding after coming off the pill is to increase your intake of iron-rich foods. That way, you might be able to prevent anemia. Also, make sure to include healthy fats, vitamins and enough fiber in your diet. Take lean meat, beans, legumes, green leafy vegetables and whole grain bread.
Difficultly maintaining or losing weight.
For many women, it is common to gain some pounds while on the birth control pill. This results from the fact that the pills affect your hormone levels. As a result, your appetite increases and you will retain more water in your body. When you stop taking it, your weight may go down. This should not cause much worry as long as the weight loss is healthy and does not interfere with your general health. Also, it might be a good news for those willing to shed a layer of fat. However, you should note that you can lose weight by other healthy ways like a better diet and exercise.
The Fix: How to balance hormones after the pill and weight loss
As a matter of fact, you may not need any specific measures to curb weight loss. But if you lose weight more rapidly, consider taking a professional help. In addition, take care of:
- If you have come off the pill for some time now, you should focus on taking nutritious food that is rich in vitamins, minerals (most notably iron) and the total calories. Take fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy. Cut down on processed foods and increase the amount of water you take. Our Eating for Balanced Hormones 90 Day Plan offers an excellent guide to help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels and achieve a healthy weight.
- No doubt, exercise is a great way to keep you in shape and maintain a healthy weight. Choose an exercise regimen that best meets your unique needs. Make sure to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Depending on your fitness level, you may choose weight training, aerobic exercises or use a combination. If you do weight training, focus on the form rather than the reps.
A painful zit that did not appear when you were on the pills can make a comeback. What really happens in your body is the pills cause hormone imbalance. Consequently, you will be more prone to develop acne even after stopping the pill. Are you ready to kick them out? Here are some natural remedies you may consider.
The Fix: Balancing hormones after coming off the pill and acne
- Manage stress. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, stress is the number one risk factor for acne. When you are stressed, your bloodstream is flooded with androgen, the male hormone. The androgen promotes the secretion of oils and thus contributes to acne formation. Therefore, you should manage your stress through a suitable relaxation technique. It could be a deep breathing exercise, yoga, meditation, tai chi or anything that suits your condition.
- Avoid using the cosmetics that may worsen your acne. Before buying a hair care or skin care product, make sure to read its label. The label should mention that any of the ingredients in the product is Non-comedogenic or Non-acnegenic. Meaning, it does not cause acne as per the results of the lab tests.
- In our article How to Treat Female Hormone Acne we cover some helpful home and herbal remedies for managing acne breakouts.
Further Reading: Spironolactone For Acne and PCOS and Natural Alternatives That Work
Excessive hair growth.
Hair growth and hormones share a very close link. When you were taking the pills, the changes in hormone balance worked to keep the hair growth in control. But once you discontinue the pills, the problems with abnormal hair growth may surface again.
The Fix: Remedies to balance hormones after coming off the pill for excessive hair growth
- Lose weight. Losing as little as 10% of the total body weight can be extremely beneficial.
- Try spearmint tea or green tea. Research has shown that spearmint tea may be helpful at reducing excess face and body hair growth by lowering levels of testosterone in the body. Testosterone is a male hormone that is often linked to hair growth, hair loss and onset of acne blemishes.
- Include more fiber in your diet. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Take a vitamin D or zinc supplement if you think your diet is deficient in these minerals.
Further Reading: The Best Natural Remedies For PCOS Body Hair Growth
We would love to hear from you. What natural remedies did you find helpful to balance hormones after coming off the pill? Please share in the comment box below.
1. Fruzzetti, Franca., et al. “Discontinuation of modern hormonal contraceptives: an Italian survey.” The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care 2016 Dec;21(6):449-454.
2. Khayat, Samira., et al. “Effect of treatment with ginger on the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms.” ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology 2014 May 4;2014:792708.
3. Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal World Health Organization (WHO) Rhizoma Zingiberis.
4. CAN, Engin. “TCM Treatment for Gynaecological Diseases – Irregular Menstruation” Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 2008; 28(4): 310-314.