Get Your Period Back: 5 Tips For Recovering From Post Birth Control Syndrome

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This is a guest post by Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health, and staff nutritionist and content manager for ChrisKresser.com. You can learn more about Laura by checking out her popular blog or visiting her on Facebook.

One of the downsides of using “the Pill” is that many times it’s hard to get back to a normal menstrual cycle once you stop taking it. Some of my young female clients in their 20s and 30s who were taking birth control for a long time and then stopped haven’t had their periods for months, or sometimes even years!

It can be frustrating, especially for women who have stopped taking birth control because they want to become pregnant. And my clients realize that having amenorrhea isn’t a good sign for their overall health regardless of their childbearing plans, so they’ve come to me to help them make the diet, supplement, exercise, and lifestyle changes they need to in order to get their hormones back on track.

Has birth control use made you lose your period? Get it back naturally with these tips by @AncestralizeMe!

Since this is a common experience for women my age, I wanted to share my best suggestions for recovering from post birth control syndrome using diet and lifestyle, in order to help those who have been frustrated by the symptoms associated with the condition. The following are tips you can follow without needing a doctor’s visit or a prescription. Read on to learn how to get your period back!

1. Optimize Your Nutrition Status

As a dietitian/nutritionist, nutrition is always the number one focus in any of my health improvement plans. My clients who’ve aren’t having regular periods tend to be some of the fastest responders to a tailored nutrition and supplement program, primarily because the loss of menstruation is often be a sign of underlying nutrient deficiencies. Even if you’re eating a whole foods, Paleo diet, there are many nutrients that can be inadequate if you’re not making a concerted effort to include specific foods and/or supplements.

There has been evidence accumulating over the years that certain nutrients may become depleted while a woman is on an oral contraceptive. While there are likely dozens of nutrients that are important in regaining your fertility and monthly cycle, there are a few in particular that I find to be extremely effective in helping to recover the menstrual cycle.

Zinc

Zinc is a critical nutrient to consider, and many nutritionists recommend an increase in zinc intake for female clients struggling with loss of menstruation following the use of the Pill. There is evidence demonstrating that women who take oral contraceptives have lower plasma zinc levels, so they may have higher need for this important mineral for fertility.

Some healthcare practitioners theorize that taking oral contraception might either cause zinc deficiency or even copper overload, which could contribute to the loss of healthy menstrual function. Either way, I always include zinc as part of my recommendations for my clients with amenorrhea.

Zinc can be sometimes difficult to replenish without short term therapeutic supplementation, even in the context of a whole foods diet. If you’re willing to eat lots of shellfish (e.g. oysters and clams), red meat, pumpkin seeds, and poultry, you may be able to avoid supplementing with zinc in this case. I usually recommend 15-30 mg of zinc per day for someone with post birth control syndrome. (If you do supplement, be sure to take it with a meal, otherwise you may get sudden, intense nausea.)

Magnesium

Magnesium is another mineral that I find beneficial for my clients with post birth control syndrome. While many of us in the ancestral health community feel that everyone can benefit from daily magnesium supplementation, it’s especially important for those on birth control (or coming off birth control) to supplement with magnesium.

Magnesium is difficult to get enough of in our modern diets, and some evidence shows that serum magnesium levels are reduced by oral contraceptive use. If you have a history of birth control use, I recommend using a chelated form of magnesium and taking 200-400 mg daily to supplement what you’re getting from food.

Vitamin B6

Finally, vitamin B6 is another nutrient that is not often discussed but can be very helpful in restoring menstrual function in those with post birth control syndrome. A 2011 study found that those who used oral contraceptives had lower plasma vitamin B6 concentrations, and one type of amenorrhea caused by high prolactin levels was able to be treated using B6 supplementation, suggesting that supplementing with B6 may be beneficial in post birth control syndrome.

Vitamin B6 is found in a variety of foods, and is generally safe to take as a supplement at doses below 100 mg per day. I like Designs for Health’s Sublingual Vitamin B6, which has the added benefit of providing a small amount of chelated zinc. At 50 mg per teaspoon, it’s a high enough dose to replenish any depleted stores, but not so much to risk toxicity with long term use.

Other Nutrients

There are other nutrients that I address with my clients, either making diet or supplement recommendations to address potential deficiencies in their diets. One nutrient that I find tends to be quite low in many of my young female clients’ diets is vitamin A. You can get plenty of vitamin A by eating 4-8 ounces of beef or lamb liver every week, and that’s almost always something I recommend to my clients who are struggling to regain their periods. Another important nutrient is vitamin D, which typically comes from adequate sun exposure but can be helpful as a supplement for those with blood levels below 30 ng/mL.

There are many nutrients that may be negatively affected by long term birth control use, and every person’s needs are unique. If you’re struggling with post birth control syndrome and aren’t sure if your nutrition has been optimized for your recovery, I recommend working with a knowledgable nutritionist who can help assess your diet for possible nutrient gaps.

2. Entrain Your Circadian Rhythms

This suggestion might sound a little off the wall, but hear me out: in our modern world of late night TV, attachment to our cell phones, 24 hour artificial light, and inadequate hours of sleep, our circadian rhythms have taken a serious beating.

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. People who fly across several time zones experience circadian rhythm disruption as “jet lag”, but even less dramatic shifts in your circadian rhythms can cause significant health problems, including infertility and amenorrhea.

Your circadian rhythms affect all endocrine hormone secretions, including melatonin, cortisol, thyroid stimulating hormone, growth hormone, prolactin, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), insulin, leptin, and more. (1) While we don’t know how all of these hormones might contribute to healthy menstruation, we do know that prolactin, FSH, and LH are the key hormones regulating the menstrual cycle along with estrogen and progesterone.

So it’s not a stretch to assume that if these hormones aren’t being released at the appropriate times, the reproductive system won’t be getting the proper signals that are needed to regulate the menstrual cycle. And some research does show that circadian rhythm disruption from jet lag and shift work can wreak havoc on women’s reproductive function. (2)

There are dozens of factors that affect circadian rhythms, but I’ll just focus on the two most important: light exposure and sleep. Proper light exposure includes getting adequate daytime sunlight and appropriate elimination of bright light at night. The biggest influence is the light hitting your eyes, so I strongly suggest making an effort to get outside, or at least sit by a window, for most of the daylight hours. On the flip side, you also need to ensure you’re not getting blue light exposure once the sun has gone down.

There are ways you can address this issue even if you can’t go outside during the day or shut off all your lights when the sun goes down. The first is to get a light therapy lamp that can help provide the right spectrum of daytime light during your day, which you can set up at your work desk. The second is to block blue light at night, and the easiest way to do this is by using these super fashionable orange goggles. You can also use orange light bulbs as your evening lighting option.

And of course it should go without saying that you need to prioritize your sleep, going to bed early enough to get a full 8 hours of sleep every night.

3. Eat Enough Carbs and Calories For Your Activity Levels

This is one of the most difficult recommendations for many of my clients, as frequently those dealing with post birth control syndrome are also trying to lose weight. And more often than not, their weight loss attempt includes reducing their food intake and cutting down on carbohydrates.

While this strategy may help with short term weight loss, it’s definitely not conducive to your hormonal health to significantly limit your food intake in this way. It’s a well known phenomenon in the medical world, called the Female Athlete Triad, where women under eat and overtrain so much that they lose their menstrual function, and even put themselves at risk for osteoporosis.

Stefanie Ruper has written a fantastic article on the problems with being overly restrictive with your food intake, and how dozens of her readers have written to her complaining that they lost their menstrual function when switching to a Paleo diet. She acknowledges that it’s not the Paleo diet that is the issue per se, but that those who switch to Paleo often get stuck in an overly restrictive, low carbohydrate approach that does not support healthy endocrine function through various effects on the HPA axis and thyroid hormone conversion.

I think it’s safe to say that those women dealing with post birth control syndrome should also be wary about how restrictive their diet is, and ensure that they’re getting enough calories and carbohydrates to support their activity levels. I generally recommend at least 20-30% of calories from carbohydrate for my patients who aren’t getting their period, and provide them an appropriate calorie range for their body size and activity levels. Trying to quickly lose weight while dealing with amenorrhea is rarely a good combination.

And the other side of this issue is avoiding overtraining, which is another problem I see in many of my young female clients trying to “lean out”. As I mentioned, this overtraining and undereating combination is known as the Female Athlete Triad and is well known as a cause of amenorrhea. Overtraining means different things to different people; what might be a normal training schedule for an elite athlete may cause burnout and hormonal disruption in a non-athlete. If you’re dealing with amenorrhea, you need to take a serious look at your training regimen and make sure you’re not overdoing it.

4. Manage Your Stress

This is another big issue for many of my young female clients experiencing amenorrhea. Stress is generally unavoidable in our modern lives, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it disrupt your life and throw off your hormone regulation.

Chronic stress causes hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation, which is also known as adrenal fatigue. (3) Unfortunately, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland are also key regulators of the menstrual cycle. (4) Thus, chronic stress is easily able to cause irregular menstrual cycle activity, and can even lead to a condition known as hypothalamic amenorrhea. This is very similar to what happens in the case of the Female Athlete Triad, and is typically caused by the chronic physical and/or emotional stress that is unfortunately common among young women.

For those trying to overcome post birth control syndrome (or any type of amenorrhea for that matter), getting stress under control is very important. This includes the recommendation above regarding eating enough and avoiding overtraining, but it also deals with managing daily stress from work, relationships, financial issues, and more.

I always tell my amenorrheic clients to find a stress management protocol that works for them, which can include yoga, meditation, journaling, deep breathing, and more. Anything you enjoy doing that helps relieve stress is a great choice, and can make a big difference in your return to normal menstrual function.

5. Boost Your Detox Capacity

Having a strong ability to detoxify is crucial for recovering from post birth control syndrome, as one of the primary issues with taking oral contraceptives for a long period of time is hormonal build up. Your body stores hormones like estrogen in your fat cells, and these stored hormones can linger for months or years after you stop taking the Pill. Your liver is responsible for clearing these hormones through the bile, and if you’re not detoxifying well enough, your liver is ineffective at eliminating these excess hormones.

There are many ways to boost detox capacity – too many to get into in this article – but one great supplement that can help improve your detox capacity is Chris’s Paleologix AdaptaClear, which contains a variety of B-vitamins, amino acids, and herbal extracts that support the body’s natural detoxification process. In addition, I’ve written another article in which I recommend increasing intake of certain foods that can help boost hormone clearance.

And wouldn’t you know it, your gut flora can even help you detoxify excess hormones. This podcast I’ve linked to is all about the “estrobolome,” the complete set of bacterial genes that code for enzymes capable of metabolizing estrogens within the human intestine. (5) So taking a high quality probiotic and eating fermented foods, especially fermented cruciferous vegetables like sauerkraut, is an important part of recovering from post birth control syndrome.

What To Do If You Still Haven’t Gotten Your Period Back

These are my best general recommendations for how to regain your period after stopping birth control, and I’ve used these strategies successfully with many young female clients. It’s important to address all these factors, as any one of them can be enough to disrupt menstrual function, which is a sign of suboptimal health.

Of course, sometimes this isn’t enough to get you back on track hormonally, especially if you were taking birth control for many years, or if you started birth control as a method to address hormone issues in the first place. In this case, you may need some additional testing done to identify any issues that may be causing your amenorrhea. PCOS is a very common condition that can significantly disrupt your hormonal function, so you’ll want to discuss this possibility with your endocrinologist.

And of course working with a knowledgable nutritionist can help you identify the missing pieces in your recovery plan to ensure that you’re doing everything possible to get back your hormonal health and menstrual function.

Now you tell me – have you ever struggled with post birth control syndrome and/or amenorrhea? What helped you get your period back? Share your story in the comments below!

Laura Schoenfeld MPH RDAbout Laura: Laura uses her knowledge of traditional and biologically appropriate diets to improve her clients’ health. Growing up with a family that practices Weston A. Price principles of nutrition, she understands the foods and cooking practices that make up a nutrient dense diet.

With her strong educational background in biochemistry, clinical nutrition, and research translation, she blends current scientific evidence with traditional food practices to help her clients determine their ideal diet.

You can find her at AncestralizeMe.com, on Facebook, and Twitter!

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Charlotte says

    I’ve had regular periods all my life like clockwork. I was on the pill for 8 years and came off in September to try and conceive. It’s been 88 days since that and nothing. OB gave me prometrium to induce a cycle and it didn’t work.. Is this normal?? I’m so worried this means my husband and I won’t be able to conceive or will at least struggle :(.

    • Kim says

      Hi Charlotte. I had to take two rounds of provera before I got a period (when I started, my Estrogen levels stayed around 15). Don’t worry just yet. Your body may just need some time to reset everything. Best of luck!

  2. Gina says

    Do you know the reason behind no periods after the pill? Is it low estrogen?

    I have my periods but very very short and light. It’s been 3 cycles since I went off the pill and according to the lab results my estrogen is very very low. Is that normal?

    • Cait says

      I don’t know what the cause is…but they keep just saying its ‘normal.’ I’m jealous that your Dr. is willing to run labs. Mine won’t do ANYTHING until after a year.

      • Rowey says

        Ah that’s so annoying. They should do tests to see if everything is normal hormone wise. Saying that mine was normal and I pestered them to get a scan…, had it today and they said one overy is polycystic.

  3. Cait says

    I am getting so frustrated with this process and am always comforted by this blog that I am not alone. Off the pill since May…I had no sign of a period at all until I had one in September. After that nothing. Prior to September I had consulted my Dr. who told me it was normal, to continue waiting and to reduce my exercise and gain a little weight. I was so sure when I got my cycle in September that I was moving in the right direction and now I am back to frustrated. Due to my husband and I’s careers its important for us to not conceive in certain months of the year, the longer this takes the more impossible the process seems. I went back to the Dr. about two weeks ago..they say the same thing its “normal” and they aren’t willing to do any bloodwork or ultrasounds until January.

    • Rowey says

      Hi Cait I comple understand. I’m in a similar boat. Stopped yasmin in april and no bleed since the initial one after pill. It’s been 7 months. Dr told me to put on some weight and exercise less. I’ve been making a real effort to do this along with taking lots of vitamins etc.
      had some blood tests few weeks ago and sll come back clear….. Going out of my mind!

      • Cait says

        So frustrating! I have been having bad acne since my period started to disappear while on the pill and its gotten slightly better but has not gotten back to normal at all. I’m trying to get in with a dermatologist and maybe at least make progress on some issue, but a lot of the time their solution is to take meds that you can’t take while pregnant so that isn’t practical at the moment either. I can tell my hormones are out of whack because I am generally not a crier or super emotional and I am a DISASTER. Poor hubby…lol

    • Rowey says

      Oh poor you, I sympathise, I’ve never had acne but since stopping the pill I’ve had so many breakouts, my chin is constantly covered with pissy spots

      • Cait says

        Went back to the Dr. to discuss the acne issue and Dr. wanted to check my thyroid and calcium. All came back normal. I’ve pretty much given up that we’ll ever had a baby. Dr’s show ZERO concern and just continue to say its normal its normal. Won’t even think about looking into fertility issues until after I 1. have a regular cycle and 2. have been “trying” for over a year….which by their definition is impossible without a regular cycle. I just don’t see it happening.

        • lara-oxy says

          Hi Cait,

          TRY Dong Quai 500dose 2 a day, it worked for me. It’s totally safe, they sell it in all health shops.
          I also took fertility/conception vitamins alongside like the ones with folic acid, minerals and omega3 you take for conception all combined in one tablet, not just folic acid.
          I took both for 3 months (although Dong Quai you only take for a specific time each month-NOT all the time).

          I never got my periods back to normal (5 days) but they became slightly heavier and I got pregnant after 3 month of this ‘therapy’. During that time I also cut down on sweets and alcohol almost completely.

          Regarding the doctor, it’s worth lying you’re tying for over a year now. He cannot dispute the fact of you trying for baby because you don’t have periods. That’s ridiculous.

          Good luck,

          • Cait says

            Thanks so much! my concern with Don Quai is that isn’t that the one you can only take for a certain portion of your cycle? I literally have NO idea on my cycle because I’m not getting one so I worry I would only make things worse. I’m so glad that you were able to get pregnant! I’m hoping we’ll be in the same boat soon. Dr. said she will run more labs come January to check hormone levels and do an ultra sound to rule out PCOS.

  4. rowey says

    Has anyone had any luck in getting their periods back yet? I’m getting more and more anxious… feel like I’m doing everything I can and my body is just working against me. I hope you guys are having some success?

    • Cait says

      I’m right with you rowey! The one thing I feel like I’m never really successful at is reducing stress. I try to be good about it but I’m just really terrible at it….I’m an anxious person by nature. I’m trying to do more things like yoga and deep breaths to try and get my anxiety in line. I know exactly how you feel…the longer it takes the more anxiety and I’m sure that only makes it worse. Sending you good vibes!

  5. Erica says

    Hi Laura,

    I have been off of the Depo Shot for a month now. Was due to get another shot on Oct. 27th but did not go. I suffered from very bad side effects while I was on Depo. So that is why after my 2nd shot I decided not to get my 3rd one. I had headaches everyday, nausea, diarrhea at least 2x a week, dizziness, and weight gain. I gained 15 pounds in the first 3 months of going on Depo. During the 2nd 3 months, I gained another 8 pounds. I felt very uncomfortable. Now since im off the shot, i’ve been trying to lose the weight and get my periods back to normal. But im having no luck. Still having post birth control symptoms. I am currently having bleeding every 2 weeks and the bleeding is light to moderate. Not heavy at all. I just want my cycle to go back to normal. How long until this happens?

  6. rowey says

    Hi there I am so glad I’ve stumbled upon this blog as I’m in the same boat. I stopped taking yasmin pill after 10 years of being on it and havent had a period since (7 months ago) I’m going crazy with worry! Help! xx

  7. rowey says

    Hi there I am so glad I’ve stumbled upon this blog as I’m in the same boat. I stoped taking yasmin pill after 10 years of being on it and havent had a period since (7 months ago) I’m going crazy with worry! Help! xx

  8. Monica says

    Hi,

    I have been diagnosed with PCOS 3 years ago. Just looking at my daughter now sleeping peacefully next to me… I was on a birth control pill before the diagnosis for 11 years. When I gave it up, the symptopms of PCOS started to occur: shorter to non-exisiting periods, hair loss, acne. We have been trying for a baby for nearly a year by the time I went for ovaries scan and discovered I had PCOS. My GP signed me up to a fertility clinic which had a 6 months waiting list. In the meantime she recommended I start taking vitamins for conception for at least 3 months (this is how long one egg matures), reduce the intake of simple sugars and try accupuncture or herbal remedies and she ordered me to have a very regular sex in many different positions. I hate needles so I never gave accupuncture a go but I tried Dong Quai herbal capsules for the period of 4 months plus the pro-conception vitamins which I ate every day. Dong Quai is some chinese fertility herb you only take for the first half of your menstrual cycle. I also stopped eating sweets daily, I stopped using sugar and sweeteners in my tea and coffee but these were all changes I introduced in my diet. After about 2 weeks I was used to the changes and my cravings stopped. I was having sex every second day rather than closer to ovulation (phew!). I think all of it combined, helped my body to regulate itself a bit and I got pregnant 4 months later. I never got to the fertility clinic. I thought I will write it for all those worrying ones about getting pregnant with PCOS. It’s possible. Have hope. Stay positive!

  9. Kay says

    I am so glad to have found this article and know i am not alone! I live in Myanmar and there are not good doctor’s here so i was concerned i needed to go somewhere for a doctor but didn’t really know if it was worth it. I had endoscopic surgery 10 or 11 years ago, then took the lupron shot then birth control to stop my period. The doctor said to not worry about a period and let my ovaries rest until i thought about getting pregnant. That was 10 years ago! Every now and then i would take the sugar pills to make sure i could still get a period. A few months ago I went to get an ultra sound, for bladder issues and the doctor asked why my ovaries were so small. I got worried and decided to stop the birth control. I had one period when i first stopped and then nothing for 3 months now. I have had some cramping and some of the egg yolk stuff so i keep hoping! then i wasn’t sure if i should try to birth control for a month again or not. I think i wont and try the diet (I recently started a vegan diet with mostly raw foods). So i think i will wait a bit longer. I really thought i was alone on this! Thank you everyone for sharing!!

  10. vic says

    I am worried that I might not be able to have kids in the future. I used to be on the pill. I came off it because i was getting breakthrough bleeding when I shouldn’t and then waited to get a natural period so I could switch pills to one that may work better. I never got a period after the bleed coming off it so I didn’t go back on the pill. It has now been over a year and a half and I have only had one real period (about 7 weeks ago) and nothing since. I have had blood tests and a scan of my ovaries. Everything appears normal according to the doctors. I am not sure what to do next. I hope I can have kids in the future so I want my periods to be normal. It worries me that there may be something wrong with me. Does anyone have any advice or has anyone else gone through the same kind of thing? Any advice will be appreciated. It has really played on my mind as I wonder what is wrong with me…

      • rowey says

        hi guys I’m so glad stumbled upon this site as I’m in the same boat having come off yasmin pill 7 months ago. I’ve had no period since. I’ve had blood tests and they are normal going to have a scan too soon. I’m just so worried I wont be able to have kids. Help xx

    • Steph says

      Hi, i’m in the exact same position as you! I’ve been off the pill for 9 months and haven’t had a period at all since the withdrawal bleed. I’m waiting for a scan on my ovaries to see if I have PCOS but all of my other blood tests have come back normal. I’m also scared about being unable to have kids as i’m in my early 20’s too. How is everything now? x

    • Maria says

      I’m in the same situation, came off the pill a year ago to start a family and I’ve only had one period. I’m really frustrated that none of the doctors I’ve seen in the past 13 years while I was on the pill warned me this could happen, I would have stopped years ago. I feel reassured that it appears fairly normal but it’s still worrying.

  11. Veena Nambiar says

    Hi, I don’t know if its a good sign or not… I stopped my pills two months before and haven’t got my periods yet. But last week I had kind of egg yolk like discharge for over 4 days. . Does that mean that I am ovulating? Should I expect that I will be getting my periods back? I have been taking Vit B and Magnesium supplements for over a week now.

  12. Christine says

    Hi..I haven’t had my period in a year due to Mirena and then having it removed and being forced to get the Depo shot. (the doctor wouldn’t remove the IUD unless I agreed to the shot and the IUD was giving me a lot of problems) anyway, I spotted for a month and then finally started a normal flow. My question is, how long should it last? It’s been over a week now and still kind of heavy. Thank you!

  13. Lara says

    I was on Implanon for 9 years and had the last one removed 8 months ago. I did take the mini pill for another 2 months. Since then I’ve had very light irregular periods. Which I didn’t have before. I’ve been charting which indicates I’m definately ovulating. This is the first month I have actually had a decent flow again. Hoping things start to go back to normal from here. I don’t ever want to have to go back on the pill again. Have read all about FAM (Fertility Awareness Method). For me that’s the way to go.

  14. Veena Nambiar says

    Hai Laura,, I have been on BC pill for 4 years and have stopped it last month and yet did not get my periods. Contraception as well as PCOS was the reason to start the pills.. And now me and my husband wanted to have children and I also wanted to know if my PCOS is under control. Hence I stopped taking the pills since end of August. However I did not get my periods and it is not possible that I am pregnant. I used to get periods(slight spotting for 2 days) regularly 24-26th day every month while on pills. Hence I was expecting the same even after stopping the pills. I was really stressed and while I was searching for reasons I came across this article and I must agree that it was a relief learning that I am not alone. This article is well written and I too thought of following your suggestions. However reading all the comments really makes me panic about the condition I am in.
    I already have lots of stress due to my career and do not want to add up to it with health issues too.
    What do you suggest to begin with? I am 5,5ft and weighs 125lb.

  15. Cait says

    Great article! And some suggestions I haven’t heard yet. I had been in BC for a little over ten years. I’ve always been very active, but by no means a marathin runner or anything of that sort. My period started to fade in the 6 months before stopping birth control and it hasn’t come back for about 4 months after stopping. I eat a high vegetable diet but do not eliminate any large food groups. I got a stress fracture in my foot about a month ago and have been off exercise since which my Dr thought would double as a treatment to reduce exercise and increase my BMI to get my cycle back. No luck yet :-(….definitely a frustrating process. Thus far.

    • Lily says

      Have you gotten your prolactin checked yet? This sounds exactly like me. I was on BC for a few years, and towards the end, my period started fading – which is weird because the BC made my periods come like clockwork. I stopped BC, and 2 years later, still no period! Finally I found out that I had a small prolactinoma. I went on medication and got my period back in 2 months! Wish I had checked it sooner!

      • Cait says

        Interesting, no I haven’t! They haven’t done anything yet. Pretty much gave me the “wait it out” so far and told me to come back in a few months. I stopped in May. My Dr. thought that it was common due to my size. I’m not underweight but fall towards the low end of the BMI chart. Here is some interesting info I found on reducing Prolactin naturally as well: http://www.dollyhamshealth.com/content/reduce-high-prolactin-level-naturally-and-get-pregnant

        • Kim says

          Cait, you sound like me (are you me?). I went on BC in 2009 after the doctors found a 7cm cyst on my Fallopian tube. Late 2011-2012 I was getting two periods a month. (TWO!) So I switched BC pills and they went away completely. I was kind of spooked. At this time I was 20, weighed ~120lb (I’m 5’3″), and vegan. Later that year I started CrossFit. Still no period. My gyno said this was “normal.” In 2013, at my lowest weight, I was 108. …. to avoid making this story go on any longer… though I had to wear a estrodiol patch to make it happen, I got my period a month ago! First one since Feb ’12. It can happen! (123lb now & a meat eater, too!)

          • Cait says

            It’s nice to know that other people have a similar experience. I just want it to come back! I have sometimes where I feel like I’m having cramps and then nothing ever comes of it. It’s very frustrating! Just don’t know what other route to take at this point. I would like to avoid going on artificial hormones to remedy a problem from artificial hormones but so far nothing has helped.

            • Rachel Smythe says

              I have the same sensation…cramps, feel like I should be bleeding but nothing there! I have a son who is coming up three years old now but stopped my pill to try to conceive last year. I waited well over 6 months with no period what so ever after my withdrawal bleed. My doctors ran lots of tests and I have had ultrasound scans on my abdomen and nothing. I had also been fighting an eating disorder although my BMI was still in the healthy category (although the lower side). The cramping pain got worse and worse and more frequent so I decided to give up trying to conceive and went back on the pill. I am now of a healthy weight and decided to try the coil but before I got round to going to the doctors about having one I ran out of my pill (mid July) and have been off it since. Still no period and cramps started again and sitting here typing with the achy, heavy abdomen sensation. Fed up already with it. Not sure how long to leave it before going back to the gp this time either as not sure what they’d actually do! Just to add using protection-not trying to conceive and not pregnant.

              • Rachel Smythe says

                Sorry should have re read my post before submitting! Add a few more facts:
                When I came off the pill before conceiving with my son my periods came back within a month.
                I decided not to have the coil fitted until I had a ‘natural’ period.

  16. Jen says

    I completely agree with this article. But I wish I would have known all the nutritional information then that I know now. I was only on the pill for about 2 years, but that was enough to mess up my cycle for 9 months later. It took almost a year off the pill to get pregnant. Subsequent pregnancies were easier. I will never go back on it again. Unless it’s medically necessary for a woman’s health, I would never recommend it for just simply birth control.

  17. Jodi Mormon says

    Great topic, one that I do not see often discussed. I can’t tell you exactly how/why it worked, but ACUPUNCTURE was the ticket for me to start my cycles again. I went about 4 months with no period before seeking acupuncture treatments. It wasn’t more than a day or two after my second treatment that my periods came back, and have been completely normal ever since.

  18. Kristen says

    Such a great article! I too suffered from this after being on birth control for 10 years to help ‘regulate my period’ when I really needed hormone balancing, detox, and major stress reduction. This was the worst mistake because it only made things worse and I finally decided to stop for my health. It took me about 3 years to get back to balance through thousands of dollars in holistic nutritionist visits, supplements, bioidentical hormones, cleansing/gut repair, stress reduction, weight gain (15 lbs finally woo-hoo!) and cutting out most aerobic exercise. I have had my period on my own for about 6 months straight now :) Such a journey but I feel so much better and it is still a work in progress!

  19. Louisa says

    I am having the opposite problem, I am stopping bc because it is no longer controlling my cycle. My cycle is heavier now than it has ever been before and sometimes I have more than one a month. About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s but after recently seeing a homeopathic dr he is not sure this diagnosis is correct. I am turning 30 in a few months, have a normal bmi around 21 and eat limited gluten, mostly paleo. I have vitamin b, d, and omega 3 deficiencies in addition to high homocysteine levels and signs of insulin resistance. After receiving this news I began running again, 2-3 times a week, 2 or more miles each run. It has only been two weeks since I stopped taking BC but my energy level is low and I am back to falling asleep on the couch uncontrollably… I feel like I have lost all gains made when I started seeing my homeopathic dr back in May.

  20. says

    This is going to sound crazy, but communing with the cycle of the moon, helped provide for me a regular flow with minimal PMS symptoms, and almost no cramping. After using the pill for 13 years, I was irregular, only a few times a year, and usually only light and spotty, with horrible cramping, and lethargy. I didn’t have to do witch dances or anything. I bought a rose quartz, and rubbed it while gazing at the full moon. Carried it in my pocket all the time, and really just made it a point to notice the moon more often. When it was pretty or when it was full I would sit relax and gaze. Now my cycle is very regular, and I get my period every full moon. It’s almost crazy that it worked. Oddly that was not even my intention, but only a side effect of becoming more interested in getting in touch with my femininity through the moon goddess.

  21. Janknitz says

    Too many young girls and women go on the pill in the first place to “regulate” irregular periods. This is an indication that they ALREADY have an underlying hormonal and metabolic dysfunction (often PCOS with significant insulin resistance) which is not helped but is only masked by the BCP and continues to worsen during the time on the pill. It’s no surprise that they are ammenorheic when they finally come off the pill.

    I would really like to see women address the underlying hormonal dysfunction through the appropriate metabolic interventions FIRST, and then keep an eye on that condition if they use BCP’s.

  22. says

    Agree! Mine took almost a year for regularity again, even with a focus on highly nutrient dense foods. I also like tracking my cycles & monitoring temperatures (using the app Kindara). By the way – love that dress you have on!

  23. says

    I became a Chiropractor because of my success with restoring my natural cycles with chiropractic care. I found out that the nerves that go to the reproductive organs were being pinched by my spine and inflammation was surrounding the area. I had gone 1.5 years without a period and after working with my chiropractor, I’ve been back to normal! I’m now a chiropractor specializing in women’s health.
    I have more info about it on my website: http://www.denarochiropractic.com

  24. neeta says

    How could she have missed hypothyroidism? I was misdiagnosed with PCOS when it was actually hypothyroidism!

  25. says

    Laura, I’m shocked that nowhere in this article do you suggest that a woman see either (a) her GP, (b) her gynecologist, or (c) an endocrinologist. Indeed, you outline steps to basically avoid proper care.

    Liver detox? Seriously?? IF there is sequestration of estrogen in the fat tissue (unlikely), no amount of liver detoxification would solve that problem anyway.

    Ladies if you’re not getting your period and your nutrition is decent (it need not be “optimal” whatever that is), see your doctor and get it sorted out.

    • says

      From the last section of the article:

      “Of course, sometimes this isn’t enough to get you back on track hormonally, especially if you were taking birth control for many years, or if you started birth control as a method to address hormone issues in the first place. In this case, you may need some additional testing done to identify any issues that may be causing your amenorrhea. PCOS is a very common condition that can significantly disrupt your hormonal function, so you’ll want to discuss this possibility with your endocrinologist.”

      • says

        My apologies for missing that. The point still remains that you’d have readers go off on nutritional goose chases — liver detox, REALLY? — and as a footnote mention that a trip to an endo might ultimately be in order. Proper medical care seems like an after thought when many struggles could be avoided by having tests run to see if the hormones are a problem in the first place.

        • says

          The point is that women should make sure they have all their “lifestyle ducks” in a row first. Too many women jump straight into drug treatment without considering the role their diet and lifestyle plays (or even realizing that lifestyle is a factor.)

          And I stand by my suggestion to provide nutrients and herbs for liver support as the liver is the primary site of hormone metabolism and clearance/elimination: https://www.pharmgkb.org/pathway/PA145011118#

          Supporting liver detoxification pathways is not the same thing as a “liver detox”.

    • says

      And to your point that “IF there is sequestration of estrogen in the fat tissue (unlikely), no amount of liver detoxification would solve that problem anyway.”

      I recommend reading these papers: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12660892

      http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/304/11/E1167.full-text.pdf+html

      Fat tissue can serve as a sink for hormones in circulation and can also release hormones into the circulation, a function known as “intracrinology”. So if the fat tissue is releasing hormones, it’s the liver’s job to metabolize and excrete those excess hormones, and thus improving the liver’s ability to metabolize those hormones by providing nutritional and herbal support to the various phases of detoxification will increase the rate of excess hormone clearance.

      • Toni Taylor says

        Evelyn,
        Wow. I’m not sure why you went on the attack. I see that you now recognize Laura did indeed encourage you to see a doctor if proper nutrition did not help, but you seem so utterly offended by a liver detox. May I ask your profession?

        I’m personally taken aback by your stance that a liver detox would be of no use – especially when it means insuring you get optimal nutrition for your body. In fact, you mentioned it in a later post which I assume means that you are strictly against a detox in general and believe it won’t/doesn’t work. Is this a fair assumption?

        Have you had any of the issues and symptoms that many of us posting here have had? I personally have been to my GP, in fact, all FIVE of the GP’s I’ve had over the last 10 years. I’ve been to THREE endocrinologists, TWO D.O.’s, TWO chiropractors and SEVEN gynecologists too. I’ve had all the tests, and I have nothing against doctors per se, but none of them have had a solution other than birth control or HRT.

        There is a reason why doctors are considered to be “practicing” medicine. Because they are doing just that, practicing. They don’t have it all figured out, have been taught from all the same medical books and have not expanded or updated their knowledge base, or they rely too heavily on medication instead of nutrition.

        Now, because my hormones have been so high for so long, I now have a uterus full of fibroids – so full that my uterus is enlarged. And, my most recent pap smear came back “high-grade”. Clearly, high hormones will take its [negative] toll on ones body eventually, but I’ve been vocalizing my symptoms for 10 solid years now. No doctor has been of use to me thus far and now that I’m faced with a full hysterectomy – which is one of the possible options I’m being offered now as a solution – I’m considering a 30-60 juice fast….for the sole purpose of detoxing my body, especially my liver.

        What can it hurt? It’s better than having a full hysterectomy! What if it works? What if it works and my hormones normalize? At this point, I have nothing to lose. Oh, and I’ve had an upper abdominal ultrasound, along with my blood tests, and my liver is clearly damaged. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, and I eat healthy. What’s caused the damage? I don’t know, but clearly my liver needs some help. What’s wrong with pumping my body full of liquid sunshine that is full of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that my body can surely use?

        I’ve spent a lot of time researching detox programs – and not those B.S. commercial ones trying to make a buck – but specifically juicing your own fresh fruits and vegetables while totally abstaining from food consumption to take the stress of my digestive organs.

        Juice fasting is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to rid the body of accumulated toxins. It is an accelerated cleansing and detoxification and it’s worked for others.

        I found this article to be refreshing because it wasn’t focused on medication and instead focused on nutrition. I like it that Laura offered many solutions, breaking down how each one could benefit you. Laura is suggesting seeing your doctor if the natural approach wasn’t enough, and I simply posted my story to share that not only was regular diet and exercise not enough, neither was seeing my doctor – for me in my case. I thank Laura for giving others options – options her readers can discern for themselves and decide what’s best for them.

        I still believe nutrition is the answer, but I’m going to have to take, what some consider, a more drastic approach. But I’d rather do this than have to have all my female organs removed or to continue being at such high risk for cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers. My life depends on it. And my current GP gave me a 100% a-okay, thumbs up, good to go approval on my juice fast and has scheduled me for follow-up testing in three months after the fast is over.

        So yeah Evelyn, a liver detox.

  26. Jenni says

    I’m still struggling with amenorrhea, although not from going off birth control. Undiagnosed coeliac disease made me drop loads of weight, which led inevitably to the loss of my period… for seven years. Still working to get it back, but nothing seems to be working. I’ll be implementing the zinc and B6 recommendations, as I’ve been practising most of the other (great) suggestions here. I’m still young so hopefully it is early enough to reverse some of the bone damage (already diagnosed with osteoporosis).

    Great article… Will pass it along to other friends who struggle with amenorrhea – hypothalamic or otherwise.

  27. Jenny says

    Hi Laura,

    Do you have any resource recommendations for someone like me? Would I be a good candidate for a one-on-one consult with you, or is there too little data out there to offer any reliable solutions?

    I eat a strict, healthy diet (Weston A Price / LCHF blend with all top-quality ingredients: no sugar, no grains, no starch, no caffeine, all wild/grass-fed meats, FCLO, HV butter oil, cold-pressed coconut oil, wild salmon roe, grass-fed calf’s liver, raw whole milk & cream & butter from grass-fed cows, homemade bone broths, pastured egg yolks & poultry, no artificial trans-fats, full-fat dairy, etc.). This has been my diet for 2.5 years.

    My husband and I started trying to get pregnant in Dec 2013, with no luck thus far. I started seeing a “fertility specialist” about a month ago, and have had a whole slew of tests: blood tests, uterine ultrasound, HSG, semen analysis (for my husband). So far, nothing is wrong, and in fact, all tests of our “mechanics” are indicated as excellent. I was on birth control for only a month or two, now 10 years ago. Of course, my MD thinks my cholesterol is too high ( ::eyeroll:: ), but I live in an area where no MDs agree with this approach to nutrition. So, we’re scheduled for a phone consult with a top-notch fertility MD who does agree nutritionally in Jacksonville, FL, in early July. Hopefully, he’ll have some recommendations.

    I’m really not excited about fertility drugs, but can’t figure out what could be wrong. I’d much rather fix the problem than work around it. Any ideas or thoughts? Thx!

  28. Lily says

    My periods stopped after discontinuing birth control, but my period was getting weaker in the months prior to stopping, even when on the pill. 2 years later, I’ve discovered that I have a prolactinoma (benign tumor of the pituitary gland), and that was what was causing my amenorrhea.

    I’m about to start treatment (cabergoline). Does anyone have any experience with this? Is there anything that I can supplement with to help get everything back into line? And, could my elevated prolactin levels (~60ng/mL), or prolactinoma be contributing with my subclinical thyroid issues?

    • Leah says

      Lily, I have a Prolactinoma as well. The downside is that I don’t tolerate Cabergoline well, so I’m wondering if there is a way to tackle the elevated Prolactin levels with diet alone (possibly with the Paleo Autoimmune protocol?). I have definitely heard that Prolactinoma and Hashimotos are connected.

  29. Steve P. says

    This is a great article. My girlfriend is 26 years old, and hasn’t had her period in a little over a year and a half now. I believe she was on the pill for a while before this, and ever since she started “missing” her period she also has a high prolactin level that makes her be able to fall asleep within seconds…Almost unsafe like.
    Sounds like a pituitary gland issue (possible tumor) but the doctors she’s seen just haven’t seemed of much concern.

    Thanks everyone.

  30. Julia says

    I’ve never been on the pill, but suffered from amenorrhea for 3 years in college after my boyfriend broke up with me. I did cut calories a bit and exercise an hour per day, along with the stress of college. However, my periods came back as soon as I fell in love with my current husband. I think there is definitely a sexual component to all of this.

  31. Elspeth says

    Great article, thanks. Is not having a period directly related to osteoporosis? I quit sugar and grains 9 months ago, I feel great but I’ve only had my period twice since then. I’m not trying to conceive – my family is complete – and I’m pretty happy with no period! But my doc implied it might increase my osteoporosis risk. Any thoughts?

    • Heather says

      Hi Elspeth,

      Yes, there is a link between low estrogen and osteoporosis. So if you are amenorrheic due to low estrogen, then you may be at risk. But there are a lot of factors at play (age, family history, diet, exercise, other personal factors). I’d suggest doing a bone density scan to know where you currently stand.

      Also, if your period stopped after switching to Paleo, make sure you read the Stefanie Ruper article referenced above — you need to make sure you are getting enough carbs!

  32. Cara says

    I was on the pill for 13 years and never got my cycle back. I took clomid and progesterone to try to get a cycle and still nothing. I had one round of injectible hormones to get pregnant and then 2 rounds to get pregnant 18 months later. Still no cycle to this day after supplementing with everything mentioned, eating higher fat, not restricting calories and doing moderate amounts of exercise as well as stress reduction – going to sleep by 10 etc. No doctor can figure things out. Now that I’m 45 I have given up but instead have been making sure my hormones are in the optimal range. I wish I had never gone on the pill in the first place as PcOS was a factor in my 20’s which the pill at the time was the only option. I know better now but can’t go back in time.

  33. Kim says

    The timing on this is pretty neat.

    I started BC around 2010 after discovering I had a 7cm endometrioma (not -osis because it was on my fallopian tube). Even on the pill, I haven’t had a period since 2012. I decided to come off it back in March to see if I could produce a cycle on my own. I came off BC in March, and had blood work done this month. All of my nutrient levels are normal, my thyroid is fine, but my Estradiol was 26. Thinking I might be in a low phase of my cycle, I had it tested again two weeks later. This time it was 17. It’s so frustrating. I just started an estrogen patch/progesterone combo today.

    • Kim says

      Oh, I should add that I’m 5’3″, CrossFit 5x/week, and eat paleo. When I came off BC I was around 110lb, but after increasing carbs, I’m now closer to 120lb.

      My endocrinologist is scheduling an MRI to check my pituitary gland.

  34. Nicole says

    What do you recommend when you have been diagnosed with severe level 4 endometriosis and the recommendation from the OB and fertility specialist is to either be on birth control pregnant or nursing? I went off birth control for years not knowing I had endometriosis. I ended up with level 4 endometriosis, a chocolate cyst on my ovary requiring surgery and IVF to get pregnant. I would prefer a more natural method than birth control, but don’t want to suffer as I did for years.

  35. Deb says

    I was on BC pills from the age of 19-32, during which time I was also EXTREMELY alcoholic (I’m 50 now, just going through menopause). After I went off the pill and began ratcheting down my drinking, I did not menstruate for 6 YEARS. During this time I was extremely ill and began to suffer from what felt and still does feel like inflammation/pressure in my head, and was also found to have off the chart mercury levels. Think my detox system was in very poor shape. Also decided to go back to school to get my MS in Nutrition and license (not practicing currently), which was incredibly stressful in its own right and I’m sure extended my amenorrhea. In any event, I think time just slowly eliminated the residual hormones from my system, but I was so ill at the time that I did not have the burning desire for children as many of you do, so I guess I was lucky in that sense. In retrospect, I would have really looked at the mind-body connection

    • Maria says

      Deb, have you been able to detox from the levels mercury and if so what is a good way? Just had all amalgams removed.

  36. Heather says

    I have been on a 3-year journey to try and figure out my hormonal imbalances, which is what initially brought me to the Paleo/primal lifestyle. After stopping hormonal birth control after 8 years, followed by a brief period at a low BMI (~17), I became amenorrheic. After regaining some weight, it returned, but strangely I am hypermenorrheic now (my menstrual cycles average 21 days). I am still on the low end of normal for BMI (~19), I don’t overtrain, and my largely primal diet includes rice, potatoes, and grass-fed, full-fat dairy.

    I have gone to 3 different endocrinologists over the past 3 years, all of whom treat me as though I am crazy for thinking I have a problem at all. My labs consistently show I have low estradiol levels (menopausal levels, despite the fact I am 33). Vit D is also low. MRI revealed I don’t have a pituitary tumor — their only explanation is that my pituitary isn’t functioning for an unknown reason. One of the endocrinologists diagnosed me with hypogonadism; another wasn’t completely convinced of this diagnosis. With low estradiol, they also did a bone density scan, and diagnosed me with osteopenia.

    I have been Paleo/primal for the past 3 years, including supplementation in many of the areas you outline in this article, all in an attempt to address my hormonal issues. I like this diet/lifestyle for many reasons, but haven’t noticed any changes in hormone function. My doctors are concerned about bone loss due to low estradiol, so I finally acquiesced and started on the Pill. I’d still like to find a non-pharmaceutical solution, so I’m open to additional advice.

    • Toni Taylor says

      Heather,
      I hate to hear you’ve gone back on the pill – this is just a bandaid masking symptoms and not getting at the source. I feel your pain girl as I’m right there with you! I think the most important thing is to find out WHY you have high hormones. Your body is telling you something is wrong, and you seem to be listening, but just don’t know what to do to correct them.

      Have you considered a healthy detox option to try and purge those stored hormones from your body? I, too, have done everything I could, but lowering my high hormone levels have been a real challenge. I posted earlier and laid out my journey, but in that post I explained I was going to do a juice fast and full spectrum infrared sauna therapy.

      I know some people don’t believe in detoxes/cleanses, but if you do your research, you’ll come across a lot of people who do – because they’ve done it themselves with great results. I was turned on to this idea when a friend of my cured himself of stage three throat cancer by juicing. I’m going to begin in the next few days and I’m actually excited to do it. Not to be without food, but to do the healthiest thing I can for my body and allow it to heal. I want to experience this and see if it works for me. And why not? Nothing else has worked.

      I think nutrition and exercise can only help you if you are already somewhat healthy. Since our bodies are all different, I think we react differently to foods and other environmental factors. Just because you eat right and exercise does not guarantee your health! I’ve learned this over the last 10 years – although most doctors would disagree I’m sure. But if you’ve switched to a Paleo lifestyle (which I believe is the healthiest form of eating around), you exercise, and you avoid all the bad stuff (HFC’s, GMO, Pesticides, Dyes, Preservatives, etc. etc.), it sometimes isn’t enough to negate years of damage – in this case, taking the pill. And to add to that all the xenoestrogens in our food, water, and whatnot and it’s a tough battle to win.

      Those hormones are stored in your body if your liver is unable to convert them to waste byproducts. I’ve come to the conclusion that a serious fast/detox program is the only way I can release those built up toxins and heal my body. I understand it isn’t for everyone, but know that it’s taken me 10 years to get to this point. It’s the only thing I have left to try, and if this doesn’t take care of it, then nothing will, because I’ve done it all.

      I wish you luck and feel free to reach out to me anytime. We have a lot in common and I’m happy to chat about this with you if you want!

  37. says

    Hi Laura,
    Great article and very in depth. It’s nice to hear someone from the nutrition community talk openly about some of the side effects of birth control. I wish now that I’m 44 that I’d never taken the stuff and left Mother Nature to her job.

    That said, I was on the pill for 14 years straight, but the first thing I noticed was that I “padded up” – meaning, I got this layer of fat all over my body that I didn’t have before. At the time, I thought it was an okay trade off for lighter periods. But the truth is, 14 years on birth control took its toll and your article is the first I’ve read that hit on a lot of the things I encountered.

    First, let me say I started having hormonal problems which is what made me go off the pill at age 30. The first year was horrible and there isn’t enough space here to cover what I went through while my body attempted to purge what it could. At age 34 I had my daughter, and from that moment on, my body and hormones have gone very haywire.

    Blood tests showed I was deficient in Vitamin D, B12, B6, Magnesium, and Potassium. Simple supplementation wasn’t enough and I had to switch to a sublingual or even shots in some instances. Also, my good flora in my intestines/colon were virtually non-existent. Two of my estrogens were very high, while the third was low, and my progesterone and testosterone was high. I started losing my hair (male pattern baldness), and although I’m not bald per se, my hair is much thinner on top. Note: My hormones are so high that my last blood tests came with an info sheet about how my results meant I was experiencing hormone overload and enhanced proliferation. It also explained that I was at a very high risk for ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer. My most recent pap came back high-grade and an ultrasound showed my uterus is full of fibroids.

    I have steadily gained about 10 lbs. per year since having my daughter and no amount of diet and exercise has helped me. I even saw a nutritionist/dietician for a year with no weight loss. Unfortunately, the more weight I put on, the harder exercise is on my bones and joints – I’ve already had a knee surgery and have been suffering from plantar faciitis for more than 4 years now. And of course, I’m not as energetic as I once was.

    I have been on a journey to figure this all out and get my health back. Most doctors, including the three endocrinologists I’ve seen over the years, have been no help to me. So I’ve done a lot of research myself and have come to the conclusion that the pill messed a lot of stuff up.

    I started taking a probiotic that I like, I’m taking the vitamins/minerals I need, and I’m eating a Paleo diet that fits me. Although I am feeling better than before, I’ve not lost any weight, my hair is still thin, and my hormones are still screwed up. However, my research has landed me at the same conclusion you mentioned which is that what I’m doing isn’t enough since I took the pill for 14 years.

    I’m not sure what you know or how you feel about juicing and/or juice fasts, but that’s where my journey has lead me to. I’ve just received my new juicer and will be headed to the grocery store to purchase some of the items I was unable to grow myself (having my own garden is priceless and makes juicing more affordable!). I’m looking to start easing into a juice fast by replacing one meal a day, upping my veggie and fruit content, and eliminating meat. Eventually, I’ll be on a 100% liquid diet consisting of freshly juiced veggies and fruit (mostly veggies). I’m unsure how long I will go, but I’m hoping to do 30 days.

    I’m also going to be doing 30 days of full spectrum infrared sauna therapy. This has been said to be ten times more effective at detoxing the body than a fast and has been used by the military, as well as various police and fire departments.

    This may be extreme to others, but I’m actually looking forward to this as I feel it’s a way to really get in tune with me and be in the now. I’ve learned to listen to MY body and fasting is a way to really clear out the “junk” literally and figuratively, and focus on just my body. I feel my body will guide me in the direction it wants and needs to go if I listen.

    Thank you for your in-depth article, I truly enjoyed it. And, it confirms all things that I’ve been learning along the way!

  38. Kfl says

    These are great tips! I’d like to add that acupuncture can really help with balancing hormones, regulating the cycle and reducing stress. This is why acupuncture is so respected for helping with fertility issues. Full disclosure-I am a US trained acupuncturist and I’ve helped women get back on track in this area.

  39. Jenn says

    Thanks for the info Laura! I was on a birth control pill from October 2009-February 2011. My periods were never regular before and since going off the pill have been sporadic as well. After 2+ years working on my cycle with my holistic nutritionist, changing my diet, and supplementing I now get my period every 6 weeks. This is not the ideal 28 day cycle however. It’s been about 6 months of this every 6 week cycle. Do you have any recommendations to get my hormones in check for this last little bit? I was recently tested for adrenal fatigue and am awaiting the results.

  40. Amanda Crouch says

    I would just like to emphasize the suggestion for testing up front before you spend time waiting and wondering. I did #1-5 first and struggled for 2 years before finding the answer. The cause for my amenorrhea after 10 years on birth control (7 of them on Nuva Ring) was a pituitary tumor, which may seem like an abnormal cause of hormone dysfunction, but it is far more common than one would think. It is estimated at 1 in 5 people have a benign pituitary tumor. Many are asymptomatic, but since the pituitary is the master gland it is not far fetched as a culprit. Whatever the case (PCOS, endometriosis, etc), getting a thorough health evaluation (blood, sonograms, HSG, MRIs) will remove a lot of the guess work. While I’m glad I made these changes in my diet and lifestyle, and I did a lot of the testing with my gynecologist, I didn’t have an MRI that looked at my pituitary. I wish I had seen an endocrinologist sooner. Thanks for addressing an all too common issue!

      • Amanda Crouch says

        Transphenoidal surgery. It was a growth hormone secreting tumor, but it was so small that it wasn’t secreting large amounts of growth hormone. Just enough disruption so that I just had very low gonadotropin and sex hormone levels across the board (menopausal levels and below). I had no periods for a year after surgery, but when I started acupuncture, I regained a cycle and ovulation.

  41. peggy kelly says

    Very interesting. I am a nurse and Catholic. I have spent years discussing with my friends why I believe that taking hormones to convine your body that it is pregnant ( for years!) cannot possibly be healthful . Hormones serve a vital function and should not be adulterated with no expectation of a physical effect over time.I had four easy pregnancies and was able to get pregnant the first month that I tried each time. I was able to easily breastfeed for over a year with each child. My friends have had years of infertility, miscarriage, breat cancer and ob/gyn problems after their years of BC use. Our medical establishment does not do enough to explain the ramifications of hormonal treatment of any kind. For goodness sake, many people are more worried about the hormones injected into their chicken dinner than the hormones injected into their teenage daughter.

    • Toni Taylor says

      I agree! But I when I was sixteen, it was the medical community touting the benefits of birth control pills! They pitched it like it was the best things since sliced bread and little emphasis on the negative side effects. Now, to that end, I’m not sure that they understood all the negative side effects at that time. And if they did, that’s even worse!

      Being on bc pills were the worst thing I ever could have done to my body and I educate my daughter thoroughly and encourage her to avoid them at all costs!

    • Maria says

      They should equally present both sides. Although I only took them for 2 years and got pregnant 1st cycle afterward, I believe that they messed up my hormones and thyroid which still have yet to return to normal 13 years later. If I had to do it all over again I would never take any hormonal birth control. Just get the IUD, nothing to remember and can easily be taken out if you decide you want to have more babies.

  42. says

    Hello,

    Thanks so much for the helpful article here, I learned a lot, and this is something I am working through. I am an elite marathoner, who runs about 80 miles a week. I maintain a healthy weight, and one thing I know is that my diet is very healthy. I had a complete blood work sample done after my marathon and my numbers were “what every runner should strive for”. I am a healthy weight (5ft5, 115 lbs), and I am very careful not to overtrain. I was on the pill for over 5 years, and lost my periods completely. I have been off the pill for around 6 months, but still nothing has happened. I am hoping they will come back within a year, as I have heard my pill was known for stopping periods. I would love if you could help me get mine back, especially now I am getting to an age where I am considering children in the next few years.

    Thanks so much!

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