We live in a world that is constantly on the go. We’re over-stressed, over-taxed, and over-committed. But what if your birth control is behind all that?
Birth control pills increase estrogen and suppress progesterone, setting your body up for a chronic state of stress. And if you’re using the pill as a means of healing a hormonal imbalance, that excess stress is only exacerbating the problem.
High Levels of Estrogen mean High Levels of Stress
In a natural menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone work together to naturally balance each other. Estrogen gives us our creativity, ambition, and most importantly, ovulation! But soon after ovulation, progesterone steps in to counter that drive with tranquility and serenity. If unopposed by progesterone, estrogen irritates your nervous system and keeps you in a constant state of drive without allowing your cycle the rest a natural progesterone increase would provide.
Not only that, but birth control-based synthetic estrogen is four times higher than the stuff naturally produced by your body. Talk about an energy high! It’s awesome that you have that go-go-go attitude, but … all month long?
Ovulation makes you a freaking siren to the world. I’m serious. I’m ovulating as I write this right now and I am on fire. I submitted an article to MindBodyGreen today, completed a blog and newsletter for my site, wrote this little diddy, and all while husband just can’t keep his hands off me. You see, there are these precious little ingredients called pheromones. They aren’t so much of a tangible thing as they are chemical, but one thing is for certain- those little babies come out to play right when a women is most fertile. You probably know that ovulation makes women crave sex more than the average night, but did you know that men feel it to? I don’t even have to glance in husbands direction before we make for the sheets. So I started to wonder if something about ovulation might also spur that whole biological clock thing.
An ovulating woman secretes particular pheromones called couplins that stimulate sexual arousal in men. But what if they’re also responsible for stimulating our own desire for children? Several studies have shown that women on birth control pills see the world with a bit less romance. When shown images of naked men, those off the pill could easily imagine all sorts of sexual fantasy, while those on the pill weren’t as apt to jump to any conclusions. Similarly, those off the pill were blatantly charmed by photos of little babies while those on the pill just weren’t as into it. Interesting since we don’t actually release those precious little pheromones while on the pill. We don’t ovulate at ALL when we are on the pill. No ovulation, no couplins. No couplins, no “siren to the world” feeling, and no desire for little babies precious or otherwise.
Being that the pill is an anti-ovulating machine, it would make sense then that while on the pill, you might not be so babytastic. To get to the bottom of this hypothesis I started my own secret experiment. I got off the pill more than a year ago (not to have babies but to go au naturale with my hormone situation). It took my body quite a bit of healing to get back on the ovulation train after so many years of lying dormant, but needless to say, when it came back it came with a vengeance. Experiment commenced. Like clockwork my husband (most likely prompted by my sexy pheromones) began making tipsy baby comments ONLY when I was ovulating. Hmmm… interesting. I must admit, despite being fiercely anti-baby for my last pill-ridden decade, I’ve been a lot more open than I used to be.
The experiment got far more interesting when a bunch of my friends (most likely tired of hearing my crazed rants about the pill) also ditched their hormones and took to the natural route. Suddenly babies were back on the table, but only periodically. Every couple of weeks or so babies were a bit more of an attractive concept. Double interesting.
Ok, my experiment is pretty lax at best, but what if I’m on to something? Modern research will tell you that women are holding out on children because they get married later in life than they used to, or that they have careers and busy lives. But what if the real reason is that we are all put on birth control pills fresh out of high school, are then less sexually aroused by men to begin with, less desirous to our future mate, and then less interested in children because we hold platonic viewpoints on everything without our sexy, juicy pheromones keeping us vivacious and inspired? What if we focus on our careers because we’ve flipped the off switch to our biological clocks? Without nature moving us forward into amorous trysts we become mega working women, much more like our male counterparts than our own femme fatale selves.
It’s a scary thought. There is so much about our own chemical makeup that just isn’t open to a hormonal swap! Fortunately I’ve been writing like the wind to get you my upcoming Ditch your Birth Control guide so you can decide for yourself exactly what you want to do. If you’re interested, stay tuned, the guide and my new Ditch your Birth Control workshops are on their way!
Image Credit: Kids by LimaoscarjulietRead More
I stopped taking my birth control pills. Here’s why. Here’s what I’m doing instead. What was getting off the pill like? I’ll tell you, but it’s totally going to be TMI. But you know what? I don’t really care! Someone had to! I find it hard to believe that no one else is willing to give an honest account of what it is like to go pill-free! So hopefully this will help you somehow.
Before the Pill
Before I started taking the pill I had regular periods, clear skin, and a skinny teenager body. I started taking Yasmin birth control pills when I was 19 years old. The normal stuff changed- boobs got bigger, skin a bit clearer, but for the most part, I felt normal.
After the Pill
In the first year after getting off the hormones:
- I ovulated only once
- I had only one period
- I changed my skin regimen
- I had a really hard time finding bras that fit
- I saw every possibly spectrum of emotion (mini-menopause anyone?)
- I took three pregnancy tests (all negative- thank heaven!)
- I started getting my lip waxed
- And finally, I felt better than I ever have in my life. (phew!)
Here is how it all shook out:
The first three months I felt super lethargic and cried all. the. time. Seriously. My husband constantly thought I was preggo since I couldn’t stop the weeping. And when we tried to go hiking it was all I could do to muster the strength to get to the top. I didn’t have a single ounce of energy. Our Thanksgiving trip last year was essentially a week of me giving up. I felt like I had no strength, no willpower, no happiness. This doom and gloom hovered over me on and off for about three months. Real fun right? I also felt sick to my stomach on a number of occasions which is what led to the late night pregnancy tests. The first of which showed up as “inconclusive” which resulted in an all-nighter where husband and I stressed over what our lives would be like with children. (Lesson learned- Garret would probably adjust super fast. I would freak out.)
Talk about feeling like a teenager again. Maybe the reason people kept saying that I looked young was because of the acne! I experienced major outbreaks on my face on-and-off for the first 6-months off the pill (at which point I had my first period and things got better). After the six-month mark my skin started clearing up considerably and I’m now very happy with my complexion.
That being said, my skin has totally changed. All these years I thought that I had dry skin, turns out I don’t! That was just the pill drying me all out. My skin now is more oily to normal (which is actually nice!). I have had to completely change my skin regimen! I used to use the Aveda Botanical Kinetics skin care line which is for dry skin. I would wash my face once a day, spritz on some toner, and then use the hydrating lotion or a sunscreen depending on the time of day.
While I still love Aveda, I decided that since I was switching, I might as well upgrade my skin care line to Intelligent Nutrients. For those of you that are not as crazy as me- this is the skin care line that Horst Rechelbacher, the founder of Aveda, started after he sold Aveda. It is far more natural, and more expensive, but I am OBSESSED with it. He even grows the fruits and veggies himself and recommends drinking the hairspray with a little gin and cucumber for a refreshing treat (yeah, it’s that natural!). I now use the IN skin care line. I wash my face at night, spritz on the mist, then serum or sunscreen depending on the time of day.
Totally got a mustache 7 months after stopping. NOT COOL. Over time it started to nag at me more and more until I was seeing an undeniable shadow that was driving me up the wall. I went to my hair salon and asked for my first ever lip wax. I was so worried about having to start the process and then keep it going forever, but when I sat under the light my esthetician said “Don’t worry, a lot of people don’t even need a lip wax, let’s take a look…. yeah… let’s take care of that.” Alrighty. Since then I really can’t tell if I still need them or not. It seems like I am still going through a hair influx where sometimes it grows in and sometimes it doesn’t. So I’ve been getting one about every 4 weeks now for maintenance. We will see if that needs to continue. One thing I do know is that as you get older, facial hair gets worse, so either way I was probably going to head in that direction at some point. But at 27? I have to wonder.
I dropped from a 32c to a 30B pretty immediately after getting off the pill and now can’t find a bra to save my life. I really like it though! Maybe now my boobs won’t get saggy when I’m old! YES! Nothing worse than boobs that hang around your waist (or hips). But still, the hunt for a good bra continues. Apparently bra companies figure that if you have small boobs you don’t need to lift them up. Which means that all bras for my size are little cotton things that don’t actually offer support, they just sort of sit there. They are comfy and all, and I realize that an under-wire would be totally overkill, but I know in my heart that there has to be something that will keep them up!
The Menstrual Cycles
I had my “fake” period the week after stopping the pill, but then did not get my first “real” period until 6 1/2 months after stopping. My body definitely had a major problem starting back up again and didn’t finally regulate until I took things into my own hands and healed my anovulation holistically. My body is still healing from the years it has had to keep my ovaries in hibernation. Thank heaven I didn’t want to get pregnant, or I would have been completely heartbroken. It just wouldn’t have been possible that first year.
By the way, It’s ok if you go without a period for a couple months when you first get off the pill. Any longer than three months, however, means your body will build up the endometrial lining without ever shedding it. This becomes a breeding ground for malignant cells and eventually cervical cancer. You need to check in with your doctor every three months during anovulatory cycles to get a one-week stint of hormones so you shed that lining. If you have to do this more than once- your body might need a jump-start to get going again.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this crazy. Ditching my birth control pills spurred a health revolution for me and eventually I revolved my whole business around it! It became my mission to help women ditch their birth control pills and heal hormonal imbalances holistically. Best of all I wrote a guide so you don’t have to experience this same post-pill craze. Simply sign-up for my newsletter and you’ll receive my Ditch your Birth Control guide all about how you can get off the steady hormonal drip and onto more natural alternatives. I hope these help you on your journey to better health! Lots of love in your direction!
Anyone else struggle getting off the pill? I’d love to hear all about your journey!Read More
I have been on Birth Control Pills since I was 19 years old (7 years!!) and I have been wanting to get off of them for the last 2. I was left in constant indecision about where to turn. It wasn’t that I was unhappy with my pill, but I was freaked about the consequences! Everything I have read and researched about health has been entirely contradictory to what my chosen method was doing to my body. Once I was diagnosed with food intolerances and discovered that my birth control pills were laced with dairy- I decided that was the final straw and quit cold turkey. The plan was to use barrier methods until I made up my mind. Luckily hubby has been really supportive!
In the midst of my anguish over what to choose- I happened to meet two people that offered an alternative! Talk about meant to be. BOTH of them use the “Fertility Awareness Method.” Apparently FAM is 1) NOT the Rhythm Method, 2) It works, and 3) both of my friends have been using it successfully for several years. I bought the book “Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler instantly to get to work on some more research.
The result?? I am a completely new person! I highly recommend the book to every woman- regardless of whichever method you choose! I can’t believe how much I didn’t know about my own body! Not to mention, as I have been researching I have found that a lot of women with food intolerances are consequently on the pill- is it possible that synthetic hormones could be spurring this on? There are soooo many health risks associated with pills, patches, shots that we use simply to avoid getting pregnant! Isn’t that horrible??!! Meanwhile, woman have been going uneducated of their own bodies and don’t know that there is a more natural way to put you in control of your fertility. By tracking changes to your body such as basal body temperature, cervical fluid, and cervical position, you can be completely in charge and completely UN-pregnant (very important to me!).
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
The good news is that this method is as effective as you want it to be! It can be almost perfectly effective if you use condoms for about 8 days of the month depending on your cycle- or less days if you are thinking about starting a family.
Ok… But I have a friend who knows someone who…
Yeah there are pregnancy cases and everyone is an expert when you start talking about “natural birth control.” But really every case of an unplanned pregnancy using FAM is because of one of two reasons- 1)They get pregnant because they start using Fertility Awareness IMMEDIATELY or 2) They kind of want to get pregnant deep down (in other words- they start “risking it”).
Those are two problems that are easy to address, and if you do, you have awesome birth control for life without any horrible side-effects!! So to address the first one is easy- if you are getting off the pill or other method of birth control, you need to use a barrier method for quite awhile since your body will be out of wack for a bit and you don’t know your body well enough yet. You can slowly wean yourself off the barrier method as you get more familier. And the second one- well you can’t really “cheat” with this method like you can with other methods. Yeah, when you are on the pill and you miss a day- you might feel ok with “risking it.” That is really not an option with this method since cheating would mean having sex exactly at the time you are most fertile without using a barrier method. That is a nice little baby recipe.
And one final note- don’t read this and then try to use Fertility Awareness- get your info from the woman who literally wrote the book about it- Toni Weschler! It is an excellent read that will give you plenty of information on how not to conceive, how to conceive, and how to know your body better.
I’ll let you know how it goes- but either way I seriously recommend the book! It will completely set you free! Talk to you soon! Good Health!