YOUR QUICK POST-PILL PLAN OF ACTION
We could honestly write a whole book on this subject (well, Megan actually has) and could talk about transitioning off hormonal contraception for DAYS on end. But we’ll keep this short and sweet for you.
Let’s preface this by saying it’s YOUR body, therefore your rules. If your contraception is working for you, you do you.
What we often come across time and time again is women who have ended up taking hormonal birth control due to reasons OTHER than contraception. This is often the case when attempting to "regulate" one's menstrual cycle, clearing up acne or other symptoms of imbalance.
Transitioning off the pill can be a daunting prospect as we often hear horror stories from friends or social media posts. After all, your hormones have been suppressed and the communication between your brain and ovaries shut off for however long, it is a lot to take on alone.
We strongly believe that this doesn’t have to be the case for everyone and there are a number of effective steps you can take to help you keep the peace as far as your hormones are concerned. Here is our guide and your post-pill plan of action to help restore some balance.
Ideally, we want to be putting in the groundwork long before you’ve even taken your last pill. Of course, this can’t always be the case, but it’s a really effective way to set yourself up for success if you are fearing the post-pill side effects. This simply means that you start doing all the following steps for a few months leading up to coming off the pill, primarily focusing on your liver and gut health.
SUPPORT YOUR LIVER
So, on that note, supporting your liver health and promoting healthy phase one and two liver detoxification is, in our opinion, the most valuable aspect to focus on post-pill. We want to ensure that all those synthetic hormones are being packaged up tightly and sent on their merry way to prevent recirculation and a build-up of potent, trouble making hormones. We have an extensive list of ways to support your liver health which you can find here. Here are a couple of quick ways to show your liver some love.
- Hydrate! Ensure that your body is adequately hydrated. This is the easiest and one of the most effective ways to support your pathways of detoxification. It looks different on everyone, but 2-3 litres daily is ideal.
- Get in those cruciferous veggies! Think cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and sprouts. These work to activate an essential enzyme in the liver.
- Likewise, up your servings of dark leafy greens. These include kale, spinach, chard and rocket.
- Consider liver supporting teas (side note: these are not SKINNY / Detox teas. ew). Milk thistle, dandelion and artichoke are some great options for the liver.
- You might want to consider supplementation too. Supplements that support the liver include milk thistle, NAC and glutathione. Please work with or consult your health care professional before starting a new supplement routine.
- Avoid liver loaders – the things that distract the liver from doing its job! These include processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol and inflammatory oils.
SUPPORT YOUR GUT
We're sure you already know just how VITAL good gut health is in maintaining optimal health, but we’ll continue to shout about it a bit louder for those in the back. Your liver packages up the hormones into tidy little parcels ready for your gut to mail them out of your body.
Ensure that you are going to the loo every single day as it’s how those metabolised, potentially potent hormones leave the body. Constipation can result in a build-up which can lead to those pesky post-pill side effects that we discussed. Even if you have been off hormonal birth control for a while OR are simply aiming to restore some hormonal harmony, this is crucial for you too.
If this is a struggle for you, consider having a look at how much fibre you are consuming each day. Again, those cruciferous veggies are a great source, as are chia seeds, whole grains and legumes. You might also want to consider looking into prebiotic and probiotic foods (coconut yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut) and / or supplementation – but again, check in with your health care professional if you’re thinking about this just to make sure!
Other easy ways to give your gut some love include incorporating collagen and bone broth into your diet, ensuring each meal is padded out with time and mindfulness and avoiding foods that you know don’t agree with your gut. If you do have symptoms of an unsettled gut, we highly recommend getting a GI map done and some further testing to rule out any possibilities of more serious issues, such as leaky gut, SIBO or pathogens/ parasites. All of these can hinder your post-pill protocol.
FIX THE NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES
There have been a few studies done on the nutritional status of subjects post-pill. These include deficiencies in b vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and selenium. If you’ve read our supplements for hormone balance articles part 1 and part 2, you’ll know that ALL of these are required for optimal hormone health – from healthy cycles to thyroid function.
You may want to consider opting for a high-quality multivitamin post-pill, or supplement with individual nutrients. We recommend testing first, such as a hair mineral analysis or DUTCH test to see where you’re at and then work with a pro to ensure you’re not over or under-doing it.
Ensuring that you’re opting for a wide range of colourful fruits and veggies, wild-caught fish and pasture-raised, grass-fed and organic meat is a good place to start.
BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR
Balancing your blood sugar is an absolute non-negotiable when it comes to balancing hormones. Insulin, the hormone released in response to the presence of glucose in the blood, sits pretty high up in the hormone hierarchy. If chronically high, it can throw off the rest of your sex hormones, including lowering SHBG which your hormones use as transport around the body and can raise the levels of free, unbound hormones in the blood.
Ensure that every meal contains a quality protein source, healthy fat, adequate fibre and a mindful portion of slow-releasing carbohydrates. Aim for this to be your checklist for every single meal and snack. Avoid high levels of sugar (refined AND unrefined), consume fruit with a fat source and avoid fruit juices.
Arguably the toughest aspect of the protocol to implement. Birth control can be a form of stress on the body and our hormones. When stress levels are chronically high (as they are for a lot of us), cortisol can rule over the rest of the sex hormones we’re trying to balance. Long story short, stress causes havoc on your hormones and can further amplify imbalances potentially caused and/ or masked by the pill.
Set distinct boundaries within every aspect of your life so that you are prioritising yourself. Practice radical rest and self-care every single day. Have daily, get outside in nature, consider mediation or breath worth workshops (we are currently loving Frequency Mind) and take up non-work-related hobbies. Consider swapping stressful high-intensity workouts for slower, low-intensity movements for a while and schedule in lots of time to sleep!
Our diets can also be considered as a form of stress on the body if they are high in inflammatory oils, processed foods and refined sugars, but also if you are limiting particular macronutrients, calories or yo-yo dieting.
glow market and the content provided are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on glow market and The Scoop is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your doctor and/ or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.