Episode #57: How to Navigate Stopping Birth Control For PCOS with Destiny Nolan

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How to Navigate Stopping Birth Control For PCOS with Destiny Nolan

What you’ll learn in this episode

During the episode, special guest Destiny Nolan and I explore how to heal your hormones after stopping hormonal birth control and achieve easy, healthy, ovulatory cycles. We’ll discuss the importance of nourishing your body to support hormonal balance and facilitate a smooth transition off birth control. You’ll gain insights into the specific nutrients and lifestyle practices that can enhance your fertility, improve your energy levels, and help you feel better in your own body. 

Destiny Nolan

Destiny Nolan is a registered dietitian specializing in women’s hormone health. She helps women balance their hormones, fix their periods, and prepare for pregnancy using a holistic approach. As someone that struggled with hormone imbalance for 5+ years, she understands how confusing, frustrating, and defeating it can be to deal with hormone symptoms & feel like birth control is the only answer. Because this isn’t true. Her goal is to help women understand their bodies & heal their hormones naturally!

Destiny Nolan is a registered dietitian specializing in women’s hormone health. She helps women balance their hormones, fix their periods, and prepare for pregnancy using a holistic approach. As someone that struggled with hormone imbalance for 5+ years, she understands how confusing, frustrating, and defeating it can be to deal with hormone symptoms & feel like birth control is the only answer. Because this isn’t true. Her goal is to help women understand their bodies & heal their hormones naturally!

Stopping Birth Control 

During this episode, we’ll address the challenges that can arise after stopping hormonal birth control and explore strategies to heal your hormones. You’ll learn practical tips for optimizing your menstrual cycle and promoting regular ovulation. By implementing these techniques, you’ll be able to regain control over your hormones and take steps toward achieving the easy, healthy cycles you desire. 

If you’re ready to embark on a journey of hormonal healing and fertility enhancement, join us in this episode where we’ll discuss nourishing your body, facilitating a smooth transition off hormonal birth control, and healing your hormones for easy, healthy, ovulatory cycles. Get ready to take charge of your fertility and feel empowered in your health!

Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.

 

So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com

 

Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.

 

So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com

 

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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here

Have you ever been told by your doctor that birth control is your best option for assisting your PCOS symptoms, then you’re definitely going to want to listen to this episode. I’m very excited to have special guest Destiny Nolan here with me to talk about women’s hormones and the effects of birth control. Whether you are currently on birth control or you have stopped birth control but are struggling with your hormone imbalances after being on years of birth control, or if you are getting ready to or wanting to stop your birth control but are concerned about what’s going to happen after you stop, you’re definitely going to want to follow some of the steps outlined by Destiny today in this episode. We go through how to care for your hormones, whether you’re choosing to continue to stay on birth control or whether you are trying to repair some of the nutritional deficiencies and dysfunction that synthetic hormones have caused. Destiny Nolan is a registered dietitian specializing in women’s health and she helps women to balance their hormones, fix their periods, and prepare for pregnancy using a holistic approach. She’s someone that has struggled with hormone imbalance for over five years, and she understands how confusing and frustrating, and defeating it can be to deal with hormone symptoms and feel like birth control is your only answer because that simply isn’t true and her goal is to help women understand their bodies so that they can heal their hormones naturally. Without further ado, let’s dive in and welcome Destiny Nolan.

You’re listening to the PCOS Repair podcast, where we explore the ins and outs of PCOS and how to repair the imbalances in your hormones naturally with a little medical help sprinkled in. Hi, I’m Ashlene Korcek, and with many years of medical and personal experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is my joy to watch women reverse their PCOS as they learn to nourish their body in a whole new way. With the power of our beliefs, our mindset, and our environment, and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.

Welcome back to the PCOS Repair podcast, where I’m really excited to be talking to our special guest, Destiny Nolan today about how to come off of birth control if you’re ready to do that in a way that supports your body, supports your hormones, and really furthers your health journey without all of the hiccups that coming off of those synthetic hormones can cause. Destiny, thank you so much for being here with me today.

Yes, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to join you.

Let’s start with what got you into hormone health? What is your back story that led you to working with women to support them in nutrition that supports their hormones, as well as knowing all of this good stuff about birth control and hormones and how to safely come off of it?

Yeah. So for a little bit of background, my formal education is in dietetics. I am a registered dietitian, so that’s my basic knowledge. But prior to that, what really drew me to wanting to work with women and in hormones is that I was young. When I was younger, I was on birth control for a couple of years, and I really didn’t have a ton of symptoms on birth control, which is not typical. Usually, people have every symptom under the sun. Thankfully, the only symptom I really struggled with was migraine. I mean, like four and five times a week. But post birth control, I decided this just isn’t working for me, I don’t think it’s the right option, I didn’t feel like it was necessary, I just felt very disconnected, I guess. I got off of the birth control and that’s what led me into the hormone imbalance whirlwind, if you will and it only took a couple of months for my periods to be super irregular and super painful, which I hadn’t experienced before and I mean, it’s so painful. I was on the floor, I can’t even do anything, can’t even go about my business and then that progressed into the hormonal acne and the hair loss post birth control and a little bit of mood changes after that and it took me a very long time to really balance myself again post birth control. Honestly, I struggled for years after that with at least the period cramps, the PMS, the bloating, all of those things that felt like, Well, and that people were telling me, this is normal. I just wouldn’t settle for that. I would just talk to friends, family, anybody about the struggles I had because it really impacted my life negatively to a point of I would have so much anxiety about my period starting like what am I going to do if I’m at work? What am I going to do if I’m at school? I’m going to have to miss a day, and that thing, which as a perfectionist was not okay with me but that led me into the journey of there’s got to be more to this. I’ve got to dig a little bit deeper and I did. I just started just looking for anything that would give me more answers than just you’re stuck with it and this is your life because you’re a woman, because that wasn’t okay with me. And that’s what led me on the journey to be able to find healing for myself and because it’s been so redemptive for me, I felt like I have to share this with other women, it just felt like the right thing to do to be able to share this with others, especially considering my whole entire life, every single woman I encountered had period problems and we just accepted that it sucks and it’s awful and it just felt like I’ve got to tell more people that that’s not normal like, you don’t have to experience this every month, it can be better. So that’s what led me to wanting to help other women and digging down into the deeper, the root cause of what’s really going on with their hormones because it’s not as surface level as we would expect, right?

No, it’s not. I love the part of your story where you refuse to accept that not feeling good in your body was normal, that you took that and you pursued it and I know the feeling, too, from my own journey of when you find what works and you understand what’s working, you can’t help but share it with other people. It’s too exciting and it’s such an important thing. So I love that. Let’s cover as a quick recap for those listening today, what are some of the problems with birth control that are going on? Similar to you, I didn’t have any problems while I was on birth control. They all came afterward. And the problem that I’ve seen working with patients in a clinic setting is when you go off a pill and all of these symptoms starts coming, it seemed like the logical solution is go back on the pill and so let’s outline a little bit for our listeners, what is going on that’s negative with synthetic hormones on birth control, and then we can get to what to do about it once you’re coming off of it.

Yeah. So while it seems like not that big of a deal because we’re handed out birth control, like willy nilly, and we’re not told of the symptoms from doctors. So we just assume it’s safe, it’s fine and you think I’m going to have a regular period, so that’s normal and that’s healthy. However, on birth control, there’s so much that’s going on. Not only is it going to nearly shut off your natural hormone production, but we also have to realize that not everything in the body works in isolation. Everything works together. So not only are you shutting off those hormones, which is going to cause other problems, but now you’re going to have a disconnect from your ovaries to your brain. There is connection there that needs to happen for proper hormone function so that is one thing that’s going to be huge and that’s why post birth control, you get those wide hormones swings, and it takes a long time for them to become more balanced because that connection is minuscule, if any, at all and so it takes some time for it to get back regulated, right. But in addition to that, hormonal birth control is also going to lead to some nutrient deficiencies, which has their own repercussions, things like magnesium and zinc and B vitamins that are so important for hormones and overall health and energy, which is a big one I feel like everyone feels like I have no energy and then on top of that, it does negatively impact your gut as well. There is some instances where it’s going to lead to some leaky gut, which can lead to really negative GI effects, which it wouldn’t necessarily be the first thing you connect to birth control. You think, Oh, I just have tummy issues, you don’t think your birth control is going to have any impact on that, but it definitely does. It’s going to have some negative GI effects and it can lead to some leaky gut, which can lead to food sensitivities and food intolerances or suspected intolerances that if you held your gut up, then you probably wouldn’t have those anymore, which also has a negative impact on nutrient availability and digestion and absorption of those nutrients as well. So we’ve got the nutrient deficiencies, we’ve got gut imbalance, but then we’re also going to have a negative impact on your thyroid and your adrenal glands, so both of those are super important for hormone regulation, hormone communication and they really have a huge impact on your sex hormones, which we also don’t realize at first glance but they’re actually all connected and when you have that negative impact on your thyroid and your adrenal glands, they’re going to become a little bit more sluggish, they’re going to be impacted negatively where they’re not regulating properly and that’s going to negatively impact your energy, your stress, your stress levels, your sex hormones, all the things pretty much. Then, of course, your thyroid is in charge of a lot of things like your metabolism, then that’s when people experience the hair loss, the brittle nails, the low energy. The list honestly goes on, which is unfortunate but I would say those are the biggest ones up front that you don’t originally see you suspect and you aren’t aware of when you first go on birth control, if nobody’s told you that before.

To add to that, because birth control is used at a reproductive age, the age of people using it of women using birth control, is at an age where our bodies are surface, at least, very resilient to things and so we can get away with things in our 20s and 30s that start to catch up with us in our later 30s. And we start to notice a lot of those symptoms like you talked about. And it’s something that we find out, oh, this pill that I’ve been on or this hormone that I’ve been on for the last 15 so years that seemingly was not affecting my 20 year old body that could deal. All of a sudden we’re seeing how much chaos it has caused in systems that already start to be a little fussy as we get into our 30s and head towards our 40s and then so on. If there’s a way to choose an option different than hormonal birth control, we highly recommend it. For those of you, though, that have been on hormonal birth control and are either coming off of it or wanting to come off of it. Destiny, let’s talk a little bit about what are some of the really important considerations when getting ready to stop the pill so that you can minimize or avoid as many of these problems and symptoms that we don’t want to have to experience as possible.

I do want to step back a little bit just to state that I don’t share all this to scare anyone or to make them worry like, Oh, no. What am I doing to my body? It’s just so that you can have an informed decision. I’m still understanding that birth control works for some people in some seasons, I just think that you should know that these are the potential things that could also be impacted by that. Just to be clear about that, so that way nobody’s like, Oh, my gosh, she’s reprimanding me. No, I just want you to be able to make an educated decision about what’s going to work best for you. But like you said, there are things that we can do on birth control and post birth control that can help support those systems so that there’s less negative impact post birth control and things that we can do to support our hormones through that. So as we originally mentioned, nutrient deficiencies are a big one. So I would highly suggest using a high quality multivitamin or even a prenatal vitamin during that time that can really help support those nutrients that are going to be depleted a little bit more because of the birth control and not to mention, sometimes in those years that you might be using birth control, you may not be eating the greatest diet. So there’s always room for a little support. So that’s going to be first and foremost. Let’s make sure that we are supporting those nutrients that might be missing through a high quality supplement. Then, of course, we want to eat a high quality diet as well. But that’s in conjunction with everything else that comes next. Things that you can do to help support your gut. So making sure that you’re getting those probiotic foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented veggies. I like to buy dairy that has probiotics in it, which you can easily find those at the grocery store these days, which is great and tip, if you look on the back of the package, you’ll typically see that it has the listed probiotics, which is super helpful because then you can even get a wide variety of dairy products that have different probiotics in them. So anyhow, making sure that you’re getting those probiotic rich foods and making sure that you’re getting prebiotic foods. So the difference with that is probiotic foods contain the good gut bacteria, which is what we need to help with digestion and for immune support and things like that but then you have your probiotic foods that essentially provide energy to those good bacteria to keep them flourishing. Things that we can support those good bacteria with are things like a wide variety of fruits and veggies, things like oats and legumes and beans can be helpful too. On top of onions and garlic and cabbage and leafy greens, all of those are going to be so supportive for those good bacteria. So supporting that gut lining, you can incorporate things like collagen and gelatin, which are things that you can purchase unflavored and make different recipes with. Put them in your smoothies, things like that, and purchasing different cuts of meat that contain those tough fibers that you can cook slowly in the crackpot that cook down, things like bone broth, all of those are going to be super helpful for the actual lining of the gut because they contain an amino acid called glycine, which can be super helpful. Also super important for pregnancy, but that’s side note. Incorporating those things are going to be super helpful for supporting your gut. Then, of course, we want to try to minimize other things that could be negatively impacting the gut, like alcohol and super processed fatty foods to have trans fat and things like that. Those are going to negatively impact the gut, which can a little bit reverse what you want to do here. We want to support it, not make it worse. So we want to avoid some of those foods, not totally avoid them because you’re going to have them. But finding balance, I would say. Then that’s for the gut. With the adrenals and the thyroid, doing things like making sure you’re eating enough, that’s a big one. I would say it’s so frequent that nobody is eating enough, I feel like. I think that was a big one for me personally. I felt like I was eating enough because it wasn’t like, Oh, I’m so hungry. My body had just gotten used to a lower amount of energy and it was really just surviving on that when all I had to do is add a little bit more and I could really thrive in that. So incorporating more foods into your diet, making sure you’re eating enough, making sure that you’re eating frequently enough. I think that was another big one for me was skipping meals and not really realizing how negatively that can impact your overall health but it’s going to negatively impact your blood sugar, your thyroid, your cortisol response from your adrenals and it can have a negative impact on your gut as well. So making sure that you’re eating frequently enough, at least breakfast, lunch and dinner, if nothing else. So speaking of breakfast, making sure that we’re not skipping breakfast and not relying on a giant cup of coffee for breakfast. That can be so harmful for your blood sugar and for your adrenal glands and your thyroid and if you’re skipping a meal, it’s already going to be hard enough to get enough energy throughout the day. You know what I’m saying? If your intake is 2,000 calories and you’re only eating lunch and dinner, well now you need 1,000 calories in one meal, and that’s pretty challenging to do. That’s something I always like to mention to clients. That’s why we have to make sure we’re eating enough because it’s impossible to get all of that in one sitting or two. So making sure that we’re doing things to support our adrenal glands, our thyroid, eating enough, getting good sleep is huge and I would say that in the terms of quality and quantity. So definitely aiming for at least 7 to 9 hours per night and with that, making sure it’s quality sleep, a dark room, it’s cool, you’re comfortable, there’s not lights on, making sure that we’re doing a little bit of bedtime routine beforehand, limiting those screens, making sure we’re actually winding down because that’s going to help support that melatonin production, which helps us sleep at night and then helps support our cortisol production, which keeps us awake in the mornings and throughout the day, which all comes from your adrenal glands. Those are a couple of things, making sure you’re eating enough, making sure you’re eating frequently enough, getting good sleep. Another one I would say is getting enough carbohydrates. I think that’s a common one that we assume we need to do low carb, and that’s not always the case. We actually need carbohydrates to create thyroid hormone, which regulates a lot of things in the body. So making sure that we’re getting those good complex carbs throughout the day and balancing that blood sugar with protein and fat at every meal. That’s the balance we’re looking for, carbs, fat, protein at every meal, and making sure that we’re balancing stocks that way as well. Those are the first ones that really come to mind for making sure that we’re supporting that thyroid and adrenal glands. And then, of course, the ever so popular Adrenal Cocktails can also be super helpful, I do have a couple of recipes on my Instagram, so if you do follow me on there, you can go check it out or there’s a really good brand called Jigsaw Health. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say a brand.

Yes, totally. Any of these things that help our listeners are welcome.

Okay, awesome. So the brand Jigsaw Health makes a really good pre-made powder that you can add to water. It’s just called Adrenal Cocktail and I will say that is one thing that really switched my day around as well and this is something I’ve been incorporating just recently. It’s not something I’ve done since birth control usage. It’s something I’ve just used recently and my energy is so much better. The 2PM slump was like totally gone after I started incorporating it. So even if you’re not post birth control or even if you’re still on birth control, either way, I promise you, you’ll benefit from this. But that’s a really good product that I do recommend.

Do you know what the active ingredient is in it?

Yeah. So it’s going to contain three different things. It’s going to have sodium, potassium, and vitamin C and those are three nutrients that really nourish your adrenal glands that a lot of us are probably not getting enough of. We think sodium is the devil and we need to limit it as much as possible but sodium is still a necessary nutrient. We just need quality sodium and sodium in balance with potassium, which a lot of us are not getting enough of because it is a little bit challenging sometimes, especially if you don’t have a lot of variety in your diet and then, of course, vitamin C is a nutrient that actually birth control does deplete a little bit. So getting that vitamin C is going to help as well and I will say these three nutrients, as stress is increased, they are used a lot quicker, and not only do we have regular stress of life and work and all of those things, but we also have the stress of birth control on our systems now. So I would highly, highly recommend making sure that we are supporting that stress response from birth control by supporting all of these processes, especially with your adrenal glands.

100 %. Then you would mention this, but I just want to say flat out, if you’re still on birth control, all of these same things are going to be just as beneficial. You know like you were saying before, Destiny, everyone needs to make their own decision on whether a hormonal form of birth control is necessary in their life at a given reason. There’s a lot of circumstances outside of health, just with overall lifestyle that we have to make those decisions. But all of the tips that we’re giving can be used both on or as you stop, or even if you’ve stopped and it’s been a while and you’re struggling, it’s the same steps that you’re going to take, So all of these things will support your hormone health, regardless of where you’re at in those different phases of on birth control, stopping birth control, or having been off of it for a while.

Yeah, for sure. I would even encourage that you incorporate all of these things prior to getting off birth control because it can really minimize those negative effects that can come post-birth control.

Very much the case. As women are starting to try to incorporate some of these, you mentioned your Instagram. We’ll link to that in the show notes so people can follow you on Instagram. Then you had mentioned to me that you have a free guide that walks them through. Would you like to share a little bit about the six steps to pain-free periods and I’ll link to that so they know how to get that in the show notes as well.

Yeah, of course. As I mentioned in my past, my history is that I had super bad period cramps where it would just take me out for a day or so. That was the inspiration for wanting to create this because I know I’m not the only one out there. This is a free guide that I wanted to create because it really lays it out for you what you can do one thing after the other, after the other. I do encourage that if you do access this, you take it one step at a time and not do all of these at one time because that can be really overwhelming. That is my free guide. Some of these I actually mentioned in that because all of the things that we’ve mentioned in this podcast are things that are going to support overall hormone balance as well as birth control, post-birth control.

Wonderful. I will link to that in the show notes below. I will also link to your Instagram so that our listeners can find you and connect with you on social if they have additional questions or want to learn more. Anything else that you want to point out or leave us with today in regards to hormonal birth control and how to support your hormones after going off of that, or anything else on this topic that you feel like is really important that we want to fit into this episode today?

Yeah, I would love to add, don’t give up too quickly, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. A lot of times we think I’m doing all the right things, why isn’t it working? But specifically with hormones, it can take at least three months to see some progress, if not upwards of a year to do, especially if you’ve been on birth control long-term. Give yourself grace, be patient. The time will come. Healing just takes time sometimes.

I’m so glad you added that. It is 100 % true. Yeah, three months minimum. Yes, I see that over and over. Three months minimum. Be patient, stick with it. Yeah and there will be little things that happen faster, certain symptoms will improve faster and so be encouraged by those. But yes, thank you for reminding our listeners of the time frame because yes, discouragement is very common because it takes a while.

Yes, for sure.

Well, thank you so much, Destiny, for joining me today. I really enjoyed getting to talk with you and I know our listeners are going to enjoy hearing some applicable, practical ways that they can really support their hormones wherever they’re at in their hormone health journey. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Of course. Thank you so much for having me.

All right, until next time. Bye for now.

Did you know that studies of PCOS epigenetics have shown that our environment can either worsen or completely reverse our PCOS symptoms? I believe that although PCOS makes us sensitive to our environment, it also makes us powerful. When we learn what our body needs and commit to providing those needs, not only do we gain back our health, but we grow in power just by showing up for ourselves. This is why I’ve created a guide for you to get started. My PCOS fertility meal guide can be found in the show notes below. I want to show you how to create an environment that promotes healing while still being able to live a life that you enjoy. This guide is completely free, so go get your copy now so that you can step into the vision that you have for your life and for your health.

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Results are not guaranteed. Please see Medical Disclaimer for more detail.

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About Show

Welcome to The PCOS Repair Podcast!

I’m Ashlene Korcek, and each week I’ll be sharing the latest findings on PCOS and how to make practical health changes to your lifestyle to repair your PCOS at the root cause.

If you’re struggling with PCOS, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in ten women have PCOS. But the good news is that there is a lot we can do to manage our symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.

So whether you’re looking for tips on nutrition, exercise, supplements, or mental health, you’ll find it all here on The PCOS Repair Podcast. Ready to get started? Hit subscribe now