I want to begin this article by first examining the relationship between Birth Control Treatments and Female Reproductive System, especially those Birth Control Treatments that contain hormones. While I feel that it is important for you to have the freedom to choose whether or not you want to be pregnant during certain times in your live, the more I hear from women who’s menstrual cycles have been disrupted from the use of birth control pills/therapies containing synthetic hormones makes me wonder if there might be a better way. If we could educate the public, delve deeper into understanding what the excess hormones do in your body, as well as learn alternative methods of preventing pregnancy that may be more beneficial to long-term health, we might be able to prepare for conception in a healthier way.
Birth Control and Female Fertility
Many doctors will easily prescribe oral contraceptive (pill) birth control if you have fertility issues such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Ovarian Cysts or irregular menstrual cycles. While the birth control may work for some time for those conditions, the birth control does not address the key issue of why you have that fertility issue in the first place. It may reduce pain, reduce the incidence of ovarian cyst or regulate your cycle for some time and then when you stop taking it, your symptoms may come back. Many women with these fertility issues still want to have children and taking birth control prevents that from happening. It is important to have clear communication with your doctor if you are still wanting to get pregnant while healing your body of your fertility issues at the same time. I have actually had women write in and say that their doctors did not make it clear to them that the pills they were prescribed for their fertility issues were actually birth control, which prevents pregnancy. Daily, we receive questions through email, phone calls and SMS from women trying to get their menstrual cycles to regulate after coming off of birth control. When I speak of birth control, I am speaking of the kinds that contain hormones or IUD (which may affect the uterus and menstrual cycle). Birth Control Pills, Intrauterine Device also known as IUD (Copper T, Mirena, Progestasert), Implant (Implanon), The Ring (NuvaRing), The Patch (Ortho Evra) and Injectable Progestin (Depo-Provera) all contain synthetic hormones except for the Copper T IUD. Anytime between the time you stop using it and up to a year afterward is considered a normal time frame in which it will take for your body on it’s own to regulate your hormones and start a regular menstrual cycle. If you were taking birth control to help regulate your cycles or for other fertility issues, this average may not apply because your cycles may have not been regular to begin with, and there are no guarantees that the birth control use is going to keep them regulated like when you were using it. For some methods like the Implant or Depo-Provera, some women do not get their menstrual cycle at all and it seems that these women have a harder time getting their menstrual cycles to come back. To understand contraception that affects our natural menstrual cycle, I have made a chart to help you learn what hormones are in each of the above birth control methods.
Types of Birth Control
How it Works
|Birth control Pill||Most birth control pills are combination pills, they contain estrogen and progestin. Some contain only progestin, but the majority of women use combination pills. These work by preventing the ovary from releasing eggs. They also thicken cervical mucous making it hard for sperm to reach the uterus. This method also thins the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.|
|Implanon||A thin flexible, plastic implant that is the size of a cardboard matchstick. It contains Progestin. The Progestin keeps the the ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation). This hormone also thins the lining of the uterus which may prevent implantation.|
|Ortho Evra||This patch contains estrogen and progestin. These work by preventing the ovary from releasing eggs. They also thicken cervical mucous making it hard for sperm to reach the uterus. This method also thins the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.|
|Depo-Provera||This injectable shot contains progestin. Progestin keeps the ovaries from releasing the eggs, thickening cervical mucous to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus and thinning the uterine lining which may prevent implantation. Note: continued use of Depo-Provera may stop the menstrual cycle completely and it may take longer than average (9 months-1 year for the menstrual cycle to regulate after stopping it). Once you have gotten a shot of Depo-provera you cannot stop it’s side effects for 12-14 weeks.|
|Nuva-Ring||This ring contains the same hormones as combination birth control pills. The progestin and estrogen prevent ovulation, thicken the cervical mucous, and thin the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.|
|IUD||The IUD prevent the sperm from moving correctly, preventing the sperm from meeting and connecting with the egg. It may also affect the uterine lining which may cause implantation problems, but there is no proof of this.|
|Mirena IUD||This IUD contains progestin which prevents ovulation as well as thickens cervical mucous. It also prevents the sperm from moving correctly toward the egg preventing conception.|
I had to share this information with you so that you can see how these birth control methods directly affect hormones and the entire natural menstrual cycle. Progestin and estrogen contained in birth control is chemically created in a lab to imitate natural progesterone and estrogen. When you use these birth control methods, they are releasing hormones in your bodies at times they (your bodies) naturally would not, disrupting the menstrual cycle and preventing pregnancy. Some estrogens are made from pregnant mare’s urine, but is more often used for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in older women. Continued use of progestin has been linked to thinning of the bones when it is being used, it is important to talk to your doctor about this serious risk.
Natural Remedies To Bring Back A Healthy Menstrual Cycle And Improve Fertility
The overall goal when coming off of birth control and wanting to try and conceive would be to nourish and support the entire hormonal feedback loop, egg health, cervical mucous and uterine health.
Step 1: Nourishing and Cleansing
Natural Fertility Diet Eating a whole food, nutrient dense fertility diet has been shown to increase the chances of pregnancy. Because hormones in birth control may affect our metabolism, digestion, and nutritional levels; eating properly is going to be very important when on birth control as well as afterward to replenish depleted nutritional levels. Use of birth control containing hormones affects the levels of folic acid, riboflavin (vit.B2), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. It would be wise to take a good whole foodmultivitamin during and after birth control use, to prevent nutritional deficiency and restore already depleted levels. Women using birth control consistently for 6 months or longer have been shown to have significant lower levels of tryptophan, vit. B6 supplements can help normalize tryptophan metabolism. Prolonged use of hormone containing birth control may also lead to anemia so you may also want to consider taking a wholefood iron supplement. Birth control also changes the pH levels in the vagina, this may lead to yeast infection. Taking a good probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus may support the body in maintaining healthy vaginal flora. Prolonged use of progestin has been shown to thin the bones, be sure that you are eating adequate amounts of calcium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, sesame seeds, seaweed, almonds, quinoa, chia, as well as limited amounts of organic dairy, yogurt, cottage cheese. Fertility Cleansing for Liver, Hormonal and Uterine Support The body may greatly benefit from some gentle cleansing of the liver and uterus when coming off birth control. The liver has to metabolize synthetic hormones and becomes overloaded and taxed during birth control use. The liver cleanse portion of the Fertility Cleanse helps to remove those excess hormones. The uterine cleansing phase may help to tone and cleanse the uterus. When a woman has not had a regular menstrual cycle for some time because of birth control use, it may need some herbal support, the herbs in this phase as contained in the Female Infertility Remedy Kit are nourishing, supportive, toning and cleansing for the uterus. Because progestin has been linked to thinning of the uterine lining, the uterus may really benefit from uterine tonic herbs. These herbs also support hormonal balance and healthy cervical mucous. Fertility cleansing may be great way for anyone who is experiencing challenges when coming off hormonal birth control to create a foundation for hormonal balance and a healthy uterus for implantation. Fertility cleansing helps to create a “clean slate” within the body that helps the body to respond and utilize other natural remedies better.
Step 2: Herbal Support for Restoring Hormonal Balance and Promoting Ovulation
If you have tried to change your diet, are taking a whole food multivitamin and you still do not have a menstrual cycle yet, you may want to learn how herbs for fertility can help promote hormonal balance, restore ovulation and bring back a normal menstrual cycle. Restoring a natural menstrual cycle is also important for egg health. Hormonal birth controls prevent ovulation which can decrease egg health. The follicles require a normalized release of natural hormones and adequate nutritional levels, synthetic hormones disrupt these which may impact egg health.
Step 3: Restore Healthy Cervical Mucous
Once the menstrual cycle is restored, healthy cervical mucous production should be restored as well. If you find you are still struggling with lack of cervical mucous, you may want to consider supplements that have been shown to help promote healthy CM production as contained in the Female Infertility Remedy Kit. Cervical mucous production may be altered for some time as well since the hormones in birth controls also thicken cervical mucous for some time. Be sure to drink plenty of water daily. At first you may also want to consider using a sperm friendly lubricant until your natural healthy cervical mucous is restored.
Additional Thoughts on Birth Control
The Love and Hate Relationship with Birth Control We must give a lot of respect to birth control and the variety of options for birth control we have today. We now have more control than ever to choose when and if we want to have children. But regardless, I feel many women and men have lost their true relationship with their bodies, which also means they may have lost respect for birth control. Many continue to use it without thinking of the consequences of long-term use. It is important to remember that we are still creatures of the Earth, our bodies are made-up of the same materials as the Earth and we are filling them with foreign man-made substances that may greatly impact our health. Choosing Birth Control Wisely I am asking each person to be responsible for their choices and actions.Research the facts on long-term side effects of birth control use so that when you choose to use birth control you are have an understanding that it may affect your fertility and health later in life. Weigh the risks; getting pregnant or not getting pregnant? How will getting pregnant impact my life? How will preventing pregnancy impact my health? How can you balance those choices to serve your highest good? Ask yourself, is this something I am willing to use long-term or is this a short-term goal? How will taking this impact my fertility? Are there better or safer options for me? There are actually options out there that may be just as effective as hormonal birth control, but may take more diligence when using them. Condoms, diaphragm, spermicide and charting your cycle (rhythm method, natural family planning, BBT, cycle beads and OPK) are some alternatives to hormonal birth control.
Natural Therapy For Fertility And Conception After Birth Control
If you have chosen to come off birth control to prepare for conception, there are many natural therapies we have covered in this article to help you along the way. Many women are able to get pregnant after taking our Female Infertility Remedy Kit regardless of using birth control for years. Below are some of the natural therapies you can get through our Female Infertility Remedy Kit which works to help you conceive naturally after Birth Control;
- Supports hormonal balance
- Fertility cleansing – helps to support the body’s natural ability to cleanse excess hormones from the system.
- Promote cervical mucous production
- Increase circulation to the reproductive system
- Aid fertilization
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