Hi everyone. It's time for another case study, or as I like to call it, success story! This one is all about coming off the birth control pill, balancing hormones and conceiving shortly thereafter.
You can see some past case studies we’ve done here:
Valerie and I first met when I was on exchange in Chile in university. She lives in New York now but we kept each other on Facebook and when she was looking for help with her health, she reached out.
At first, Valerie was looking for help with her thyroid, high cholesterol and her digestion (bloating and gas and mild IBS). We sorted this all out - brought her thyroid back into balance, her cholesterol became normal and her digestion also went back to normal.
Then, she mentioned to me that her and her husband were thinking about having kids in the not so distant future and that she wanted help coming off the birth control pill with as little issue as possible. That’s what today’s post is all about.
She had been on the birth control pill for seven years and was nervous to come off it because she was initially put on the pill to mask difficult period symptoms.
Some women come off the birth control pill and don’t notice any issues at all, while others, like me, don’t get their period for months on end (more on that here), or go right back to having difficult symptoms they had before that the pill was masking, like painful periods, acne, mood issues, heavy periods, etc. Valerie was taking a proactive approach.
Since Valerie wanted to get pregnant, she didn’t want any hormonal issues when she stopped the pill.
One of the main watch outs with the birth control pill is that it can deplete certain nutrients, specifically B vitamins, zinc, selenium, vitamin C and magnesium. These are all really important nutrients! For example, B12 is critical for your energy levels and B6 is important for progesterone production. Zinc is important for digestion, skin health and metabolizing estrogen, while magnesium is important for almost everything your body does, but can especially promote good sleep and relaxation! It’s kind of like the pill makes your body use up the nutrients faster than you typically replace them.
For some women, the pill can affect their microbiome (digestive health) as well. Poor digestive health can lead to inflammation in the body and poor excretion of hormones. You probably know if you read this website often that your digestive health is the root of your health!
We had Valerie on a good probiotic to ensure her microbiome was as good as it could be. We had addressed most of her digestive concerns prior to this anyway; she knew which foods she was sensitive to, had removed them and was feeling great from a digestive standpoint.
We then put Valerie on a prenatal. Regardless of being on the birth control pill this is a good idea to do when you start thinking about conceiving to build up folate stores. Most prenatal vitamins are also a good source of all of the B vitamins.
We also wanted to support Valerie’s liver because it’s the main organ that detoxifies excess hormones. It’s not uncommon for women on the birth control pill to have signs of estrogen dominance when they come off (heavy periods, bad PMS, painful periods, mood swings, etc), so by supporting her liver we were increasing the chances her hormone levels would be more regular when she did stop the pill.
Valerie had a couple of regular periods and then got pregnant. Woohoo!! Pregnancy timing varies for everyone of course, but I truly believe that the work she had done in advance of coming off the pill made her transition easy.
Before coming off of the birth control pill, Mandy helped me navigate several food allergies and regulate my thyroid naturally through healthy eating and some supplement use. When I decided to go off of the pill after more than seven years of use, my body felt better than ever since I had already established good eating habits and better understood how to care for myself naturally. I believe that since my overall health was in such a good place, I was able to conceive much more quickly than expected and my first trimester was more pleasant than it could have been otherwise. Although my eating habits haven't been the best due to caving to some pregnancy cravings, the knowledge Mandy has given me has helped me to still keep a close eye on eating healthy to fuel my body and help my baby grow!
If you’re at a similar life stage, or simply want to transition off the birth control pill for personal reasons and would like help doing so, you can book a complimentary call to learn more about working with us 1:1 here.