I get it. You’ve sat with the idea for what seems like ages, waiting for the ‘right time’ to stop taking the pill. Something in the pit of your stomach has told you since forever that it isn’t for you yet you don’t really know where to turn, let alone go it alone. Let me tell you – we are (at least so many of the women who frequent this space) in this together and, sorry to say, there is never a perfect time to overhaul your life. The time is now.
Perhaps you’ve discovered that the pill isn’t solving your PCOS or Endometriosis. Maybe you’ve heard that the pill is ruining your gut bacteria as fast as a shot of antibiotics. Maybe you’re starting to see the link between your not so healthy ways and your hormones. I’m here to say today, PCOS, Endometriosis, thyroid issues and hormone imbalance are all lifestyle conditions. They are sure signs your hormones are downright cranky and that, for there to be change, you too need to change.
So, I want to help you transition. Of course, coming off any medication is best done under the guidance of a practitioner however, it’s equally important that YOU become the doctor in your life as much as possible. A trip to the doctors office is only momentarily – what you do outside the visit is what actually counts. Unlike many medications, the pill is one of those you can simply stop at any time. In doing so you will anticipate a ‘bleed’ (not a period, a period is something that results after ovulation has occurred – something you don’t do whilst on the pill). So here goes.
1. We know that the pill robs the gut flora and fauna – it’s supposed to be a micro-jungle in there full of good thriving bacteria. Because this same bacteria not only shapes your immunity but it also helps you assimilate your food, when it’s absent (or partially so), your body really struggles with digestion. This is also why so many women report of upset stomachs whilst on the pill. So begin with either fermented and probiotic foods (see here, here and here) or for those who prefer probiotics of the supplement kind you can get some from your local health food store. This will help rebuild the gut to aid your transition.
Know this: The gut can take up to 16 months to fully restore. It’s a work in progress – we really do need to be eating or supplementing probiotics everyday.
2. Replenish and restore. Because now your gut bacteria is possibly rather compromised, your body hasn’t been getting the full benefits of the nutrients from your food. What’s more, since you’ve not really been doing your best work in absorbing nutrients, your body has dipped into it’s reserves, meaning they are now low too. Alongside eating the rainbow and being diligent to come back to whole foods, supplementing is generally necessary. A practitioner grade multivitamin and fish oil are essential.
Micro-nutrients are key. Specifically Vitamin’s A, B’s, C, D, Selenium, Zinc and Magnesium. Folinic acid is also essential.
3. Alongside your micro-nutrients and your macro-nutrients – specifically healthy fats and proteins. Your hormones have been held hostage for as long as you’ve been on the pill, and since they are essentially made of fats and protein, it’s vital we eat enough to rebuild happy hormones.
Include healthy fat and protein at each meal – around a fist size portion of protein alongside an array of unlimited fresh vegetables (and some fruits).
4. Cleanse your liver. Your liver plays a huge role in hormone regulation, alongside the gut. Giving your liver a little overhaul can be the difference between your menstrual cycle returning or it taking its sweet time. Our Gentle Body Cleanse is perfect (next cleanse round is for the new year – stay tuned). It’s 5 days of taking it easy on your body, to cleanse your gut and liver and see you thriving.
Pollutants and toxins are everywhere – in a perfect world we wouldn’t need to cleanse, but the load of the pill itself is certainly reason to give the body a good clean out, not to mention other hormone disruptors like chemicals in our body and cleaning products. Be mindful – they are everywhere.
5. Think healthy. It can be daunting when moving into a new regime. Have clear goals and know where you are going. It’s important to map out the next year relating to your wellbeing. For example, I’d like to see a period within 3 months, regular cycles within 6 months and to really understand my body (for contraception) within 12 months. Those who plan achieve.
If you need specific information of how to map out your menstrual cycle for contraception (and conception), you can head to Debunking Ovulation. It’s 2 hours of information to have you totally understanding your cycles on a new level.
There are many levels we may need to consider when it comes to hormone health, especially when transitioning off the pill. Maybe you’ve been taking the pill to manage PCOS or Endometriosis, or perhaps you’ve had bad skin or absent periods so you started taking the pill to support your menstrual cycles. Sadly, the pill isn’t a treatment for these conditions and so it is important we begin to do what feels best for our bodies. You might like being on the pill and that’s your choice – no judgement here. In all cases, collect as much information as you can so you can make a well informed decision about what is best for you. If you do have a known condition, I’d absolutely recommend you seek support. In fact – this is what I do best! We offer this kind of support at The Pagoda Tree (alongside Skype consults too!)
If you’d like to dig deeper into how to fully support your body in transitioning off the pill, I’d love to help. You might also like to check out Well & Good (my new book) to better understand your body, not to mention make use of the hormone friendly recipes in there too! (for more info head here)