Written By: Taryn Symington
If you’re just starting your fertility journey (or even if you’re not), you might be considering coming off hormonal contraceptives, like the birth control pill.
As a nutritionist, there are 5 main steps that I recommend in order to balance your hormones post-pill. These are all essential for a smooth transition off synthetic hormones, and into living a life of balance.
- Liver support
Elimination and detoxification are key in releasing excess hormones that might still be circulating in your body – and the liver is an organ that does this on a daily basis. As efficient as the liver is at removing toxins, sometimes it needs some help.
You can support your liver with nutrition by choosing the best quality food you can access; which means looking for organic, minimally processed options whenever possible, as well as adding a few liver-loving foods like lemon, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables into your regular rotation.
- Gut support
Just like your liver, your gut is extremely important for metabolizing and absorbing nutrients from the foods that you eat and the supplements you take. The gut can take a hit from hormonal birth control, so healing that is one of the first steps to balanced hormones. Your digestive system is extremely important for hormone balance in general, but especially for mood regulation and mental health to reduce symptoms like PMS, anxiety, and PMDD.
You can support your gut using foods high in probiotics, and lots of fibre to feed that good bacteria. Stress management is also crucial for regulating and supporting a healthy digestive system – so remember to do something you love everyday!
- Nutrient replenishment
The pill depletes the body of key nutrients like vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. All of which are necessary for naturally balanced hormones and optimal fertility. Shoot for a diet rich in whole foods as much as possible, especially fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and high quality meat and eggs. This will help to replenish some of the nutrients lost over your time using birth control, and lead to increased energy levels, better sleep, better mood, and easier weight management as well!
- Start tracking cycle
This one is more to get you started in the habit of tracking your body’s cues. You can track your cycle in multiple ways, but the easiest way to start is to learn about the phases of an average menstrual cycle, and what to look for in each one. From here, you can start tracking symptoms, cervical mucus, and basal body temperature (BBT).
At first, it may be tricky to see a pattern in your BBT, but right now it’s all about getting into the habit of taking it every morning at the same time. If this sounds too difficult for you, a TempDrop might be a good option as it tracks throughout the night so you don’t have to set your alarm! (You can use the code kelseytd for a discount).
- Hormone (estrogen and progesterone) balance
This step typically takes the longest amount of time, and requires more on-going and personalized support. Many individuals experience high estrogen and low progesterone levels after birth control, contributing to symptoms like painful periods, breast tenderness, weight gain, fatigue, mood swings and more. Balancing estrogen and progesterone levels is very important, but it’s not always a simple or quick process.
Liver and gut support, sleep, and stress management are going to be the first steps in rebalancing your hormones, as well as prioritizing certain nutrients (like the ones we talked about replenishing earlier).
You can start with any of these steps while you’re still on the pill, or even if you plan on continuing using hormonal contraceptives for the foreseeable future. It is the best option for some people, and the most important thing is to educate yourself on how to nourish your body on AND off the pill (and in those in between stages).
If you have questions or are looking to start your journey towards natural hormone balance, book your initial session with me (Taryn) to get started!