When I tell people I don’t take the birth control pill anymore, they are shocked! It seems like the norm these days to get in the pill when you are young to help with acne, cramps, heavy flow, etc. But what does this really do to our bodies?
You came off the pill, Lexi?
Sure did! It was just over a year ago (June 2017) and it was a roller coaster of challenges to figure my body out again, and to be honest I’m still figuring it all out.
Before I dive into the facts, I want to share my story about coming off the pill and how my life has changed drastically!
I was on the pill, like most young women, since high school. I told my parents I wanted to get on the pill to help with my acne and period cramps (which really weren’t that bad); the real reason I wanted the pill was because I became sexually active with my boyfriend at the time and didn’t want any babies!
I went to planned parenthood and got free pills without gaining much knowledge about what they do to my body (red flag number 1), just that I’ll get my period during the time I’m taking these darker colored pills. I was told that my acne would most likely clear up and my period might become lighter. This was all true! I thought it was great only bleeding for like 3 days and having less acne on my face.
I continued to take the pill all throughout college and into my young adult life with no real issues. The only notable thing that would happen to me was that if I missed a pill and took it even just a few hours later than usual I would get super anxious and emotional about literally everything (red flag number 2)…
It wasn’t until I was introduced to the book Woman Code that I was awoken to how much harm hormonal birth control can cause to our wellness. This is why I’m sharing this with you. Holistic wellness is my passion and finding a natural way for everything just feels so right.
Coming off the pill…
So, as I said, I finally decided to come off the pill after reading the Woman Code book and doing a little more research on cycle syncing to your natural flow (basically knowing what your body needs during each phase of your cycle), and I ditched the pill cold turkey. I was expecting to get my period back right away so I could learn how my natural cycle worked and start feeling like the powerful woman I am! …I was wrong…
It took me 66 days to get my period back and even longer for it to come regularly. Some women don’t get their period back for a year! Some physical side effects that I noticed is that my hormonal acne came back. This is something that can be healed through cycle syncing and making sure you are eating the right foods during each phase of your cycle.
The non-physical changes were the most interesting.
This is something that is super personal to me but I still want to share it with you: after coming off the pill I was no longer attracted to my partner how I was before. It seemed as though I was feeling more like myself than ever before, now that I wasn’t ingesting those artificial hormones, but my feelings and desires changed as well.
I wanted to try couples therapy (which I ended up going to by myself for about 4 months – he didn’t think we needed it) to see if talking through our differences would help. What I got out of it was that it was time for me to continue to move forward with positive growth. Looking back and trying to become the person who was in love with this man wasn’t that.
I did a little research and found this article from the Woman Code blog, Flo Living, and found some crazy alignments:
“If you start a relationship when you’re on the Pill then you may find, if and when you come off, that you’re no longer attracted to your partner. This makes sense – your primordial instincts have been thrown off, meaning you matched with a Mr Wrong.” – Flo Living Blog
WTF right?! Is this not the exact thing I experienced?! I was glad I wasn’t alone in this. It honestly lifted some major guilt off my shoulders after reading. Anyone else experiencing the same thing? (comment below)
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On to the facts! Now that you know basically my whole life story… Let’s dive into the facts about hormonal birth control and why you should ditch it for a more natural approach.
Hormonal Birth Control
The majority of women who are on a hormonal birth control take the pill. There are many other types of hormonal birth control out there as well like an IUD, the patch, the ring, injections, or a rod in your arm, yikes! Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what type of hormonal birth control you’re on, all of them still do the same thing: pump artificial hormones into your body…
The artificial hormones in hormonal birth control stop your natural cycle. Even though these fake hormones can give us a feeling that we are “normal” or “better” compared to experiencing PMS symptoms, it’s still not natural to suppress them. PMS symptoms are our body’s way to telling us that there is something that it not in balance.
When we suppress those symptoms with artificial hormones, there are some major problems that can happen in the long run or when you decide to come off of hormonal birth control. These issues can be physical like acne or bloating, and they can be non-physical like increased anxiety or becoming unattracted to current partner.
What your doctor tells you:
- Acne / breakouts
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Low risk of ovarian cysts
What your doctor won’t tell you:
- You’ll need to work harder to gain muscle
- You could attract the wrong mate
- Increased risks of developing depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses
- Coming off the pill and getting your natural flow back will be hell…
Hormone Free Contraceptive Alternatives
I’m no doctor or gyno, but I do have some recommendations for you to try out if you are ready to kick hormonal birth control.
1. Barrier Method (i.e. condoms, diaphragm, FemCup)
Yes, these methods do work! Condoms are the easiest and most popular but they are also sometimes filled with icky chemicals that your precious lady parts don’t like. Another barrier method is something that covers the cervix like a diaphragm or the FemCup (in the US you need a prescription from your doctor for these). The downside of these is that they don’t protect against STDs, only pregnancy.
2. The Copper IUD
This method is something that is in fact hormone free but still something to be skeptical about. IUDs are very invasive and have some serious side effects. Basically the copper kills the sperm before it can reach the egg. If the sperm does reach the egg and fertilizes it, the copper will not allow the egg to attach to the uterus wall and will pass through with your normal period.
Please, make sure to do your research first before choosing this method!
3. Natural Cycles: Fertility Tracking App
This is what I use as my contraceptive method and I am so happy with the results! Natural Cycles is a completely natural and cleared by the FDA. This app based method measures your basal body temperature and determines your exact window of fertility and ovulation day.
All you need to do is take your temperature every morning first thing when you wake up, enter it into the system and the app does the rest for you. AND when you are ready to start having children just change your goal in profile from “contraception” to “planning pregnancy” and it will show you when to try for a baby!
This is a subscription based app. It is $80 per year + the cost of your Natural Cycles Basal Thermometer.
Use this link to sign up with Natural Cycles and you’ll receive:
10% off your subscription + a free thermometer!
Summary: Hormonal birth control does more harm than good in the long run. The artificial hormones that you are using to “heal” your symptoms aren’t really healing you. It’s best to take a holistic approach to contraception.
I hope you found this helpful! I will be writing a follow up post that dives deeper into steps you can take to ditch the pill (or other hormonal contraceptive) and start to connect with your true self again.
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