After about 6 months of annoying my friends with my back and forth’s about why I should or shouldn't get off of the contraceptive I was taking … I finally did it!
I am happy to report that I am feeling better than I have in the past 2 years while on the pill and I would recommend this decision for anyone that is struggling with deciding what they should do for themselves.
Taking the pill was never something I really wanted to do. Being someone who is overly conscious of putting only good, clean food and products into and on my body….going on the pill in the first place felt totally wrong, but here I was in a serious adult relationship so why not take the easiest route to keep it safe?
Immediately once I started taking the pill I saw the unnatural changes start to happen in my body. Cue the overly dramatic tears at any sort of disagreement, massive boobs, change in my skin and sex drive…the list goes on. I changed around which pill I was taking once or twice to try and stop the emotional outbursts and landed on the brand Sprintec - which still didn’t completely stop the tears but it helped a little. Besides the crying alllllllllll the time though, I didn’t have too many adverse affects that you could see on the outside but I still hated being on it because I knew what it was doing to me on a hormonal level.
Prepping your body before quitting cold turkey is super important so that your body and hormones can function at their highest and strongest levels when you stop taking the pill. My Doctor’s and OBGYN told me there is no way to ween off of the pill but I totally disagree. Your body has been relying on an outside source of hormones for however long you have been on it, so by stopping cold turkey, you aren't giving your body any prep time to be able to function and create these hormones on their own. Your ovaries have been muted and need to be prepped and alerted that they’re going to have to get back to work soon!
Since our bodies have 4 different cycles that they go through each month - Menstrual, Follicular, Ovulatory and Luteal (yes, there are more cycles going on throughout the month than just your period!) - we need to fuel and support our bodies differently for each. Your menstrual phase requires different energy, food, workouts and rest than the follicular phase and so on and so forth.
For about a year I was following Alissa Vitti method of fueling the body for your cycle by using the MYFlo period tracking app, the food chart for your cycles, reading WomanCode religiously and listening to many of her podcasts.
On top of all of this, I was going to acupuncture at least once a month. My acupuncturist would always work on my hormones and help treat them to keep them strong even in their “sleep-like” state.
if you can add in even just a few of these things at least a month (3 months prior is best!) before you fully go off the pill, you will be setting your body up for an amazing bounce back without all of the post-pill horrors you hear of. Of course, going off of any medication is going to take a toll on your body and there will be an adjustment period.
Here is what I experienced :
Week 1 :
Random outbursts of tears even when I was in a good mood, didn’t even have to be in a disagreement.
Feeling extremely lethargic like I got hit by a bus. This lasted for about a week.
After 2 years of going to acupuncture, this was the first session where my acupuncturist almost couldn't get the needles into my body. I was so swollen and inflamed from the inside out, it was tender when she finally could get them to stay which never happens usually. When she flipped me over for cupping, i was actually painful (I never find cupping painful) and left the gnarliest bruises. All of this was due to my body working hard to detox and flush out the toxins and synthetic hormones left in my body.
i was starting to get super bloated and constipated as a symptom of PMS. I went in for a lymphatic massage (a brazilian massage technique that specifically aims to detoxify your lymphatic system … read more here)
the lady working on my body was shocked at how bloated I was and how tender/inflamed I was still. Now, i was starting to get frustrated because I wanted my body to just bounce back without any issues.
Week 3: So. Many. Pimples.
I am someone who usually has very clear skin, sometimes I’ll get a few breakouts but nothing crazy. This week I experienced intense breaking out that took a while to heal. My face felt super puffy and I was constipated as well.
My first real period in two years arrives! This was super exciting because some people are unable to get their period back when they get off the pill for months or even years. So although the symptoms for the first two weeks were frustrating and had me feeling down, I attribute my normal functioning ovaries to all of my prep work prior to coming off of the pill.
After this first month going through allll of the roller coaster symptoms and emotions, everything evened out after that first period. I have still experienced some extra breaking out before my period comes than I used to get, I also notice a bit more bloating the week leading up to my cycle. I’m sure this is going to take a few months to even out as the excess estrogen & other hormones take time to leave my body.
Thankfully, everything seems to be functioning properly. My energy is back and the crying has come to a halt (my boyfriend has never been more thankful).
I hope all of this helps in your journey of deciding whether coming off of the pill is right for you and what to expect if you decide to go this route. If you have any questions regarding how to prep your body for this transition please reach out as it can be a tricky time!