Setting My Body Up for Success.
I’m going to share with you a very personal, intimate decision. After 26 years of being on birth control pills, I’ve finally decided to transition off them. I’m sharing this with you because it’s a big decision that many of you are also making. My situation is a little more complicated than most, but at the end of the day, I’m a strong believer in that if this is something that we’re going to do, we need to set our bodies up in the best possible way.
My Birth Control Pill Story
I started on “the pill,” when I was 22 because PMS had always been a huge issue for me. We’re talking both physical and emotional misery. My doctor assured me that birth control pills were the answer and would help to “balance” my hormones. I now know from “In the Flo” author and women’s hormone expert Alisa Vitti over at Flo Living that if I was experiencing PMS that badly, my hormones were definitely out of whack. I also know now that I could have addressed the issue in a more natural way1.
Two kids and 16 years later, I started having debilitating migraine headaches. They were so bad, the doctors at first thought they were a type of seizure that ultimately ended up happening an average of 28 days out of the month. Suspecting that there may be a hormonal component to it, my neurologist told me to start taking the pill continuously. It wasn’t until we found the right medication though 6 months later that the migraines stopped. It’s unclear what role, if any, taking the pill continuously had to do with that.
Where I Am Now
Flash forward 11 years to today. I’m 49 years old, well into perimenopause and still taking birth control pills continuously. I changed to a healthier diet long ago (including giving up caffeine). I strongly believe that because of my diet changes, I was able to stop taking the headache medication that I was told I would be on for the rest of my life.
I’ve been wanting to quit birth control pills for several years but have been hesitant because of fears that the migraines will come back. It’s been more than evident though lately that my hormones are running “amok,” and my body is telling me it’s time to do this. My gynecologist is fully behind it. She does have some concerns about the migraines returning, but that’s why I’m going into it as carefully as possible.
Transitioning Off Birth Control Pills
While I’ve always been a believer in getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need from food as opposed to supplements, I fully recognize that I’m probably going to need an extra boost in getting my hormones balanced while I make this transition. That’s why I’ve started taking these supplements as suggested by Alisa Viti for the following reasons. No, she doesn’t have an exact formula for women in my situation, but this is what I’ve pieced together as a good place to start.
- B-Complex vitamins – Low levels of B vitamins can cause low energy and fatigue. B6 also helps to boost progesterone production and works with the liver to remove extra estrogen from the body.
- Evening Primrose Oil – This is a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which helps with prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins are hormones that control inflammation and blood flow2. It’s also a popular natural therapy for helping to ease PMS symptoms and hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause.
- Vitamin D3 – Foundational for hormone balance and overall health.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – Promotes optimal liver function for getting rid of excess estrogen. It also reinforces healthy weight maintenance by supporting healthy blood sugar and insulin balance.
- Probiotic – Supports healthy gut function, which is essential for managing hormones.
- Tulsi (Holy Basil) Peppermint Tea and a nighttime Tulsi Sleep Tea – Holy Basil supports a healthy adrenal response, helps to stabilize blood sugar and supports liver function.
- Ashwagandha – An herb that helps to reduce oxidative stress and supports a healthy stress response. Alisa also says it’s been shown to safely improve sexual function and low libido for some women.
Bottom Line for Transitioning Off Birth Control Pills
Hormones at this stage of life are no joke, but we don’t have to resign ourselves to “just waiting it out.” We can be proactive in trying to help our bodies and our minds feel as good as possible. Transitioning off birth control pills, taking supplements to help with that, regular exercise and maintaining my healthy diet are just some of the ways that I’m doing that.
If you’re transitioning off birth control pills or are considering it, tell us about your experience in the comments below. We don’t need to do this alone!