The most common thing I get asked about is Periods, how to get your period back after being on the pill, why the pill is SHIT (which, I believe, it is), how to have a more regular cycle, how to decrease PMS symptoms and a whole lot more. The menstrual cycle is explained too basically too often and the first cure for any problem with the feamle reproductive system is “Go on the pill”. It’s terrible! I don’t know if I should express the level of hatred I feel towards the pill on this post or save it for another time?! I feel like I could get carried away if I speak about it on here, now. The menstrual cycle is my favorite topic other than the healing power of real food, this blog post is long over due and for that I am sorry but here it is…
A FEW DANGERS & SIDE EFFECTS OF THE PILL:
- Depression: The pill may cause depression and anxiety, progestin in the pill seems to affect the mood.
- Hair loss: Progestin causes damage to hair follicles which results in hair loss
- Decreases libido: Woman think there is something wrong with them or having no sex drive is just how they are… that could be very wrong and could be an adverse effect of the pill
- Cancer: The pill is classified as a carcinogen. The pill tricks the body into thinking it’s already pregnant. It causes a massive build up of estrogen in the body. This causes an over stimulation of breast cells which increases the risk of cancer
- Nutrient deficiency: because of the build up of so much estrogen, the liver has to use a lot of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin C to metabolize it which can cause an extreme deficiency in these minerals and vitamins. When people come off the pill they need to reverse this and many other adverse affects of the pill in order to get their period back.
- Migraines and headaches
- Gall bladder and liver problems
- Nausea and cramping
ALTERNATIVES TO THE PILL:
- Male condoms, they also protect against STI’s (sexually transmitted diseases) which the pill does not
- Female condoms
- Calendar method, probably one of my favorite methods. The only problem is that you have to be very in tune with your cycle and your body. You simply abstain from sex during the week that you’re ovulating.
- Temperature method, this method is quite tricky to get right and also you need to be in tune with your cycle and your cycle needs to be regular. You take your basal body temperature with an accurate basal thermometer for up to several months to pin point the day in which you’re ovulating. I have not tried this method.
If you were to ask me which one to use, I would suggest male condoms at first whilst you regulate your cycle. I would suggest downloading a cycle tracking app. I use MyFLO. I LOVE it. click here to check it out! Then once your cycle is normal and you’re ovulating and menstruating every month, regularly, you could try the calendar method with the help of your cycle syncing app. Make sure you know your body and your cycle very well before doing this.
When I was diagnosed with PCOS, the first thing the doctor did was prescribe artificial hormones and the worst thing I did was listen to her and take them. I was on it for 2 years. I didn’t sleep well, I was very miserable and suffered with minor depression and struggled with body dysmorphia, It worsened my acne, my moods were terrible and all over the place. Listening to her was the worse decision I could have made for my body and mind. I felt crazy and I couldn’t explain or understand why I felt the way I did. I made a good decision to stop with any artificial hormones about 2 years ago and made many dietary and lifestyle changes. BEST DECISION I EVER MADE! After 4 months my period was regular and has been a beautiful and wonderful thing since. I’ve only missed one month in nearly 2 years. It’s like clock work now, I understand now why for maybe one week of the month I’m a little more moody and a little sad or why my skin is worse during a certain week. Where before I was clueless and it wasn’t one week that I felt a little sad, it was all the time and I was VERY sad and angry for no reason.
I think artificial hormones create a gap between body, mind and soul and you can feel like you’re living in a body that isn’t yours, like your body wants one thing and your mind wants another and then all of a sudden it switches but they’re never on the same page. That’s how I felt. I use to have more bad days than good ones, now I have only good days, even my bad days are good because I’m able to respond normally without ridiculous amounts of synthetic hormones pumping through me, I’m able to just brush it off without it deeply upsetting me, “it’s just a bad day, not a bad life and tomorrow will be better”, I didn’t have that mindset before. IT DOES AFFECT YOU! You’re not crazy.
“The sex hormone cycle regulates 150 bodily systems all of which are suppressed by hormonal contraceptives and all of which are interrelated to all other body systems (including the endocrine, neurological and immunologic systems). Therefore hormonal contraceptives impact: energy levels, memory and concentration, motor coordination, Adrenalin levels and more …” Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D, N.D
HOW TO GET YOUR PERIOD BACK
For me it took around 4-5 months of really really trying to get it back after coming off synthetic hormones. So you have to be patient but there’s that saying, “Where the mind goes, energy flows” and I believe that.
What I say below can be used to bring your period back or to regulate your period or just improve your cycle and reduce PMS symptoms.
There are two main hormones in the menstrual cycle; Progesterone and estrogen. During the cycle these two fluctuate, some people are estrogen dominant and are progesterone deficient. The quality of your cycle depends on the balance between these hormones to keep them within a suitable range.
There are 3 main causes for cycle irregularity and PMS: Too much estrogen or a deficiency in progesterone, glucose intolerance and unstable blood glucose levels, and deficiency in minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids which create prostaglandins that work in the body to balance hormone levels.
- It is very important to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Following a strict no sugar diet, eating fresh fruits and vegetables often and eating complex carbohydrates can make a very big difference. Maintaining a steady blood sugar level can make a big difference to how you feel emotionally and physically. A healthy blood sugar balance will enable the female hormones you have circulating to be fully utilized which will help you avoid many of the unpleasant symptoms you might experience.
All the food you eat is broken down into glucose. When you eat any food in refined food form (sugar, chocolate, white flour, sweets, biscuits, cakes), digestion is very fast and glucose enters the body rapidly. Any food or drink that causes a stimulant effect, such as tea, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, sugar or sweets, affects your blood sugar level and causes a sharp and fast rise in the blood glucose followed by a rapid drop. Smoking has the same effect.
Stabilize your blood sugar levels by:
- Reducing the amount of refined food that you consume
- Reduce the amount of dairy and red meat that you eat, Red meat worsens estrogen deficiency. It is high in phosphates which increases the loss of calcium from bones and can cause osteoporosis. Dairy contains the protein casein, casein is 300 times higher in cows milk than human milk. Cows milk is not designed for human consumption. Cows have 3 stomachs in which they can digest this protein. We do not, milk remains undigested in the stomach and can start to ferment and rot whilst in there. It clings to the lining of the GIT and can prevent absorption of vital nutrients and minerals. This digestive struggle takes a lot of energy to sort out. That means that the energy you would have to enjoy life and do the things you want is now being spent sorting out your digestion. The result is that you feel tired. How many times have you, have felt sleepy after a meal? Your body is using much more energy than it should to digest the food.
- Make sure your diet contains good sources of essential fatty acids and reduce the amount of non essential fats that you eat
- Try and eat at least half of your food raw, cooking depletes minerals and vitamins from food
- Make sure you are eating enough fiber from fresh fruit and vegetables
- Reduce the amount of sodium you eat
- Eat a low sugar breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up
- Make sure you have eaten something before having caffeine
- Try eat complex carbohydrates with every meal and avoid simple carbs
- Eat small, frequent meals
- Include fish, poultry and eggs
- Try buy organic as much as possible
- Drink lots of water
- Whole grains (oats, barley, rye)
- Beans and lentils
- Fiber in grains, beans and vegetables
- Honey (If you do buy honey, buy raw and organic honey as most honey is refined and heated to very high temperatures which kills all the nutrients in it and is then diluted with syrup)
- White and Brown sugar
- Glucose in energy drinks and sweets,etc.
although fruit is a simple carb, it contains a lot of fiber which slows down the metabolism of the sugar in fruit (fructose) so it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels like other simple carbs do.
Exercising 3-4 times a week releases endorphins, it also may help maintain a healthy weight which is very important for your cycle as being underweight or over weight can be the reason your period is absent or irregular. Over exercising can also be another reason why your skipping periods so it’s advised to have a good balance.
- Exercise reduces fat tissue and increases muscle mass
- Exercise is a stress reliever
- Exercise can help you sleep better
During Menstrual phase: your muscles recover much quicker and your pain threshold is a little higher so doing a tough and sweaty workout can be beneficial during this phase.
During Follicular phase: you may have a slight spike in testosterone so doing weight training may be beneficial.
During Ovulation: You have a peak of estrogen which encourages the body to utilize its fat sources so endurance training might be good to do during this phase.
During Luteal phase: this is the phase where your body is getting ready to bleed, where we often feel run down and low on energy so use this time to do restorative exercise like yoga, Pilates or walking.
Stress and Adrenalin can affect your blood sugar levels which can affect your hormone levels. Imbalanced hormones may cause irregular periods so taking time off to meditate or relax in which ever way you like is very important. I like Yoga,walking outside, dry brushing and meditation.
These are natural supplements that you can use to SUPPLEMENT a healthy diet.
Magnesium: Magnesium is utilized by the liver to metabolize excess estrogen. It promotes healthy estrogen clearance. It also can help with period pains. It may improve insulin resistance. Magnesium works best with a Vitamin B6 supplement. Magnesium can be found in nuts, seeds and leafy greens but magnesium is depleted by stress.
Too much vitamin B6 can be harmful so try get Vitamin B6 from natural sources like; fish, chicken, broccoli, bananas and leafy greens.
Zinc: Reduces bloating, anxiety and eating binges, Zinc deficiencies are common in woman who have taken synthetic hormones like the pill, natural sources of zinc: seeds, nuts, shellfish and wholegrains
Vitamin D: increases calcium absorption, natural sources of vitamin D: egg yolks and fatty fish.
Calcium: Relieves back ache, breast swelling and anxiety. Bone broth and leafy greens are good, non-dairy sources of calcium
Vitamin B complex: The liver uses B vitamins to metabolize estrogen. These vitamins are often depleted when estrogen levels are too high
Vitamin E: protects sex hormones from oxidation, natural sources of vitamin E: sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, almond oil and almonds.
Essential fatty acids: very important. Omega 3s and 6s and to have a good balance between the two. Include into your diet:
- Cold-pressed, unrefined vegetable oils such as sesame, sunflower, safflower (and flax oil) for salad dressing. Store them in the fridge. they’re sensitive to heat and light. Do not heat them
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, brazil nuts) and seeds (sesame, sunflower, flax, pumpkin)
- Nut butters, made without sugar or palm oil.
- Tahini (creamed sesame seeds) for sauces and dressings
- Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel
A FRIENDS EXPERIENCE WITH THE PILL & COMING OFF OF IT:
“I was put on a very strong pill by the gynecologist because I had PCOS, which made me retain a lot of water and put on a lot of weight. I weighed around 90 kg. I decided to come off of the pill and I lost 20 kg. I then got into a relationship and went on the pill again. I visited an endocrinologist who advised me to stop using the pill, I also had thyroid problems and hair thinning. I also had terrible nausea. The endocrinologist tested my insulin and cortisol levels and both of them were double what they should have been due to being on the pill. I also had very low levels of testosterone, making it hard for me to build muscle no matter how hard I worked out. He encouraged me to stop the pill immediately and I decided I really needed to. My Endocrinologist said that gynecologists are not interested in the cause of the problem, they care about the symptoms and what the pill does is it silences all those symptoms whilst you’re on it and your whole reproductive system is working on a fake cycle with fake hormones and when you come off of the pill, you have more problems than what you started with because the pill doesn’t fix them it just silences them and it creates more metabolic problems itself. I am now in the process of trying to reverse all the effects of the pill and return my hormone levels back to normal”.
If you have a success story or a story about your transition coming off of the pill, etc. please share it with me in the comments below or you can DM me on Instagram or email me firstname.lastname@example.org I’d really love to hear your story and how you’re feeling not being on the pill anymore and what changes you have noticed xx
My E book, releasing 4th of July, can be used as a guideline as to how you should eat to get your period back and to regulate your cycle as it promotes consumption of lots of fiber, vegetables, fruit, complex carbohydrates and unrefined foods. It also provides tasty meals using dairy alternatives or very little dairy and no refined sugars. It provides meal ideas that can help maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day. The use of the e-book paired with relaxation methods and some exercise could help you regulate your cycle and minimize unwanted symptoms during your cycle without the use of any artificial hormones. Updates and release date information will be shared on my Instagram over the next week, click here to view IG
Thank you for reading, I hope it was helpful xx