How to balance hormones is an age old issue for females. Whether you are trying to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy it’s a concern. Your hormone balance is key for optimal health and the prevention of menopausal symptoms as well. It’s also one of the most common questions that I’m asked in my office to date. In this episode of The Health Fix Podcast, Dr. Jannine Krause answers a listener’s question on how to stop birth control and minimize side effects.
What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:
- What to eat before stopping birth control
- How to chart your cycle to know your fertility window
- What lab testing is key to analyze hormone metabolism
- How to minimize side effects from ending birth control
Resources from the Show:
- Lara Briden – The Period Repair Manual
- Ep 129 with Lara Briden
- Ep 232 with Nora Pope & Jessica Liu – Cycle Charting
- Cycle Charting
DID YOU KNOW PILL BLEEDS ARE ACTUALLY A DROP IN HORMONES SO YOUR BODY WITHDRAWING OFF HORMONES?
Pill hormones are not real hormones – they are pseudo-hormones – their chemical make up is different than our hormones. Levonorgestrel is a progestin not progesterone and it thins hair, uterine lining and is linked to depression. Levongestrel is actually closer to testosterone than progesterone. Progesterone improves hair quality, strengthens uterine lining and improves mood.
Birth control Shuts down your natural hormone production and functions as a hormone replacement:
a combined pill has ethinylestradiol & levonorgestrel – suppresses ovulation
nuva ring – like combined pill – suppresses ovulation
patches – similar to pill combo – suppresses ovulation
mini pill – progestins – thin the uterine lining, impairs cervical fluid then inadvertently suppresses ovulation – norplant – implants – like mini pill
depo-provera – medroxyprogesterone – high dose progestin causes a hormone deficiency— increased weight gain/temp bone loss & increased breast cancer risk (I was told opposite!)
Mirena – progestin only levonorgestrel – cycle but don’t bleed after time – least problematic because you still have ovulation with this.
Risks of birth control – cancer, depression, weight gain, blood clots, decreased libido, hair loss
So you want to come off birth control…get a journal or start taking notes on yourself as info is key
Things to think about: what was your period like before birth control – note that – was it heavy, light, painful, did you have acne? cravings, mood swings? regular/irregular? puffiness, bloating, bowel changes…details!!
irregular periods before birth control – labs…insulin resistance, thyroid issues, magnesium deficiency
What your period was like before…it may be like off the birth control – so we have to predict what may come. It’s also key to assess labs based on what you were struggling with pre birth control.
I don’t do hormone labs right off birth control
I do metabolic labs before off birth control and start changing diet
I have folks go for a pelvic exam – if period was heavy before – check for fibroids/endometriosis
Post birth control.. things to watch for…
Do you get a period and how many days from the last one – if less than 35 then that’s ok if over might have PCOS
Painful period – endometriosis – zinc/decrease inflammation
Breast pain – iodine deficiency
Progesterone key to ovulation – test mid-luteal – BIG ? – are you ovulating
Acne post birth control – because birth control lowers skin oil production – so rebound acne & double acne
due to increased androgens made by ovaries – peaks at 6 months then decreases
Heavy Periods – due to estrogen excess – You can promote healthy estrogen metabolism by reducing alcohol, maintaining healthy intestinal bacteria, and taking nutritional supplements such as DIM, calcium d-glucarate, and iodine.
Lower inflammation by stopping:
all processed foods
berberine (also useful for blood sugar elevation/insulin resistance)
DIM (di-indolylmethane) with Calcium D Glucarate (CDG) – CDG EstroDIM by Orthomolecular is my favorite or 2 cups a day of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, or beets
digestive enzyme with each meal
vitex aka chaste berry – 1000 mg daily
evening primrose oil – 1000 mg daily also helpful if vitex is not
Heavy Periods – excess estrogen:
CDG EstroDIM by Orthomolecular 2 cups a day of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, or beets
Magnesium Glycinate 500 mg – Seeking Health
Vitamin B6 25-300 mg a day – caution if issues with sulfur metabolism
Vitanica’s Cramp Bark Extra
N-Acetyl Cysteine 1200 mg a day
L-theanine up to 1600 mg a day
THE BOTTOM LINE….
KNOW YOUR CYCLE – this is helpful to obtain and prevent pregnancy – there’s the period “red flow days” then dry days then mucus starts to flow, you ovulate then 3 days pre/post ovulation you’re fertile…progesterone boosts this because it increases chances for pregnancy.
CYCLE CHARTING IS HELPFUL & not just a period tracking app– finding a cycle charting trained practitioner is huge!
– White flow – happens before ovulation – this is cervical mucus, it’s normal and it’s key for knowing if you have a healthy period
– 3 days on either side of ovulation you can get pregnant
– sperm live 3-5 days if enough white flow
– Vitamins & minerals for a healthy period B6, Zinc, B12, Folate, Vitex, Magnesium, Iodine
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