PCOS after Birth Control:
You might be wondering what will my PCOS be like after birth control? Deciding to stop taking hormonal birth control can be a big decision. Especially, if you started birth control to improve symptoms such as acne, period problems etc.
Post pill problems such as severe acne, pill induced PCOS or the return of your PCOS symptoms is a scary thought. It’s common for women with PCOS to experience amenorrhea (no periods), anxiety, and weight gain after stopping birth control.
So why is birth control creating so many side effects?
Birth control isn’t the problem. In fact it is long gone from your body after a short time. The problem is the havoc the birth control left behind with your hormones.
Your Body’s and PCOS Reaction After Birth Control
A real cycle is a series of hormonal events, each event leads to the rise or fall of each hormone. Taking hormonal birth control such as the pill, the ring, patch, implant or IUD with hormone, stops your natural hormonal patterns.
When you stop taking hormonal birth control your body your body is confused and overreacts. Hormones are your body’s way of communicating with itself. Hormones tell you when to wake up, eat, get a blanket because you are cold or open a window when you get hot. Your hormones tell you you’re happy, sad, worried, relaxed or anxious. When you stop taking hormonal birth control your body doesn’t know what to do or think.
For a lot of women just waiting a few months can seem to do the trick but for women with PCOS this is often not the case. I have worked with women who are scared to go off the pill because they know they will be a mess for months. I’ve also worked with women who have gone years without a natural period and women who do not ovulate naturally. So I know how frustrating it can be when you know something isn’t right but you are told to wait it out.
Birth control really isn’t the problem, it wasn’t the solution either. It was just a bandaid for temporary symptom relief. But you are probably wondering now what. How do I balance my hormones so that I can maintain a healthy weight? How do I restore healthy fertile cycles? My hormones have me on an emotional rollercoaster, will I ever feel “normal” again? And when will I stop breaking-out worse than when I was a teenager?
How your body reacts to stopping hormonal contraceptives, can tell us a lot about your overall health . Hormonal birth control covers up many women’s health concerns such as endometriosis and PCOS. Once you’re off it you can finally discover and address these health concerns at their root cause.
While it’s frustrating that your period doesn’t return immediately after stopping birth control, it’s not uncommon for it to take 3-6 months to return to normal.
With PCOS, back to normal might not be a good thing. This is where using lifestyle medicine is so powerful! Digging into the root cause of why your body isn’t having regular ovulatory cycles and optimal fertility will help you know what steps to take in your nutrition, exercise and other personal habits to create healthier hormones, and fix your period.
Your nutrient stores
A big factor in hormone imbalance from birth control is nutrition. The foods you eat can either support or hurt your hormone health. While taking hormonal birth control the pill can deplete your nutrient absorption.
Nutrients such B12, B2, B6, Selenium, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, & Folate may need to be replenished after discontinuing birth control . When we aren’t well nourished our hormones suffer.
How to Recover Your Cycle After Birth Control
Since birth control doesn’t regulate or improve your PCOS you will be faced with all symptoms again when you stop taking it to get pregnant. In fact they might even be worse.
Hormonal birth control, in particular, the pill stops you from ovulating. Ovulation is the main event of your monthly cycle so we want to make sure that you resume ovulation after birth control even if pregnancy isn’t your goal.
Restoring ovulation begins with balancing your hormones with what you eat, how you move and how you care for your thoughts and feelings.
Getting Pregnant with PCOS After Birth Control
Getting pregnant may not happen immediately after stopping hormone birth control. But don’t let this alarm you. Birth control, while perhaps not fixing anything, didn’t cause infertility either. Give yourself a few months to make your health a priority, kind of like a pre-pregnancy glow. While you might get pregnant sooner expect it to take a while as you work on the root causes of your PCOS.
As you regain a regular cycle by reversing insulin resistance and decreasing inflammation you will increase your chance of getting pregnant each month.
As a Physician Assistant who loves the functional side of medicine (how nutrition and lifestyle play an enormous role in our hormone health) I am passionate about helping my clients regain healthy ovulatory cycles after stopping hormonal birth control. If you would like detailed information about how to nourish your PCOS hormones the PCOS Detox is a great place to start.
Ashlene Korcek PA-C
Hi there! I’m Ashlene Korcek, the PCOS Mama and founder of Nourished to Healthy
I help women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome balance their hormones naturally so that they can take back control of their bodies, boost their fertility, and ultimately live free from the symptoms of PCOS. Like you, I have PCOS, I was diagnosed while struggling with infertility and was told I likely would never have children. Even as a board-certified Physician Assistant I felt lost about what to do and very alone! Fast forward 5 years and I have 3 healthy children, but I never want another woman to feel lost and alone the way I did!
You can break free from the downward spiral of PCOS and feel amazing in your own skin again!
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