While there are sadly many side-effects to both the pill and the Mirena IUD, there are also many ways we can support your body when you’ve been on hormonal birth control and want to make the move away from it.
Whenever I chat about the side-effects of hormonal birth control, I want to make 2 things very clear:
- Hormonal birth control is an effective form of birth control
- And for many people, the lighter and less painful periods hormonal birth control brings is an absolute god-send and a much needed break from their monthly hell
Indeed a 2011 study found that 58% of people taking the pill took it not just to avoid pregnancy but also to deal with irregular or painful periods, acne or endometriosis.
But…the problem is that hormonal birth control doesn’t fix these problems. It just temporarily masks them. Often though we don’t have the head space, time or resources to dive down rabbit holes to try to figure out what underlying health issues are causing our problems and I totally get it.
Whatever brought you to hormonal birth control and whether or not you want to stick with it or move away, it’s important that we address some foundations so that you will be the healthiest you can be and have better periods.
Nutrient deficiencies: There are a number of nutrients which commonly become depleted due to the pill and other types of hormonal birth control. Identifying which ones apply to YOU and replenishing them is crucial.
The best way is to ensure your diet is packed with food bursting with those nutrients, although supplements are often needed too. A few are the B vitamins (found in liver, sunflower seeds), vitamin C (fruits and veg including guava, kiwi, red pepper), selenium (Brazil nuts) and zinc (pumpkin seeds). There are unfortunately lots more nutrient deficiencies, folks!
Gut health: Long term use of hormonal birth control affects our microbiome, so it’s important that you support your gut health EVERYDAY. My key tips are eating slowly to help you fully digest all the good stuff you’re eating, having 50% veg at every meal and add fermented food (remember though, that fermented food don’t suit everyone). As we know COVID severity is linked to gut health, so it’s more important than ever to give your gut health some attention.
Support your liver: The synthetic hormones in hormonal birth control put more stress on our livers. If possible, avoid alcohol, smoking and reduce xenoestrogens in your life as these stress your already overworked liver. Remember: you need to poop every day and castor oil packs over your liver can be a great support.
I know making changes to your health like this can seem daunting but remember to be gentle with yourself and take things at your own pace. If you’d like company while navigating your hormonal health, you’ll love Embrace Your Cyclical Power where you are be part of an awesome group cheering each other on for 6-weeks.