I stopped taking the pill three months ago after nearly twelve years of being on that shit. I know this because I’ve pretty much been counting down the days in excitement and anticipation as I get everything balanced and sorted out when it comes to the symptoms I was experiencing. It seems like lots of people on the internet are venturing into new and interesting realms of exploration when it comes to birth control methods and naturally balancing hormones (at least lots of the people that I creep), and I’ve found reading their accounts immensely encouraging and educational. So here’s my two cents on how or if my symptoms have been since quitting the pill, and some things that have helped control and alleviate them along the way.
I’ll go through the symptoms I’ve been dealing with in order of my last post…
1. Gallstones. This wasn’t something that I’d been dealing with on a regular basis because I’m pretty good at avoid fried foods, which seems to be the thing that sets off my gall bladder. Buuuuut, right before I went off the pill I was having some inexpeicable pain again. Maybe it was the poor little lady just being like are you serious girl, you still swallowing those things that almost had me CUT outta your body!? In any case, I manage these symptoms in a couple ways that still seem to be effective.
-With Apple Cider Vinegar. I found this tip online years ago when I was first diagnosed with gallstones right after being on Yasmin. I drink a couple tablespoons of this, usually straight, although if you have some organic apple juice to mix it with, that’s good too as the apple juice softens the entrance to your gall bladder, while the ACV does good shit for your liver which is your gall bladder’s big sister. If I’m experiencing pain, this will stop it within fifteen minutes.
–Cranberry Juice: This one was recommended by a Naturopath I saw a couple years ago. It has to be the straight up, no sugar or anything added kind of Cran. It’s tart as hell, which I love. She recommended taking 2 ounces of it a day. It’s great for cleansing the kidneys, so I do this as a daily maintenance sort of thing which also ends up being good for my liver, thus my skin and every other thing in my body pretty much. ALSO, I was getting UTIs very often while on the pill, and this really helped with that. My naturopath claimed that drinking 2 ounces of the juice everyday will end up being less expensive than buying the cranberry supplements. I can’t really confirm or deny this. I go through the juice pretty fast because I love it. Oh yeah, it’s nice in smoothies to!
2.Mood Swings/Anxiety/Depression: I started to feel more like myself within a couple weeks of being off the pill, and each day I feel a little better. The extreme anxiety I was feeling has pretty much subsided. Here’s some things that have been helping with this:
–Supplements: B Complex w/ Ashwaganda! Because of my gall bladder issues and some past blood work, I’m supplementing my B vitamin levels. I take the B complex one with Ashwaganda and a B12 when I remember to. Ashwaganda is an adaptogen herb that’s used quite a bit in ayurveda, and it seems to calm me down a bit.
GABA! Lots of people on the internet say this say this doesn’t cross the blood/brain barrier so it can’t possibly work, so maybe it’s a placebo but hey, I don’t mind a placebo that makes me feel calm and helps me sleep through the night. I’ll take it.
D, Fish oil, Multi! I’ve been taking these ones for a while, probably about a month or so before I went off the pill because I’d read a number of places that it’s important to start getting those vitamins and minerals back up in your body when you ditch da pill. Plus so many of my nurse friends have recommended taking vitamin D everyday. I think the fish oil makes my skin look for moist, the other ones I don’t know. My pee is usually neon yellow so hey, maybe that’s where they’re all ending up.
–Yoga/Exercise: Yeah so, doing an hour of exercise a day has been the number one contributing factor to getting this bout of anxiety and mood swings under control. It’s annoying because when you’re all anxious and moody the last thing you want to do is work out (or at least that’s how I feel), but that shit helps. I had a yoga pass for a long time, but it just got SO expensive that I had to ditch it. Now I do yoga videos at home off youtube–I made a playlist of hour long videos and I run through those. Sometimes I put my space heater on to mimic a little tiny hot class. Yeah, it helps.
3. Acne: Yeah this one sucks. If you have adult hormonal acne, you know what I’m talking about. It’s almost worse than the mood swings and the no libido because everyone can fucking see it!!!! Anywho, my skin didn’t super freak out after going off the pill, which was a nice surprise. But it definitely didn’t stay clear. I have some hormonal shit happening but at least now I feel like I’m dealing with it at the root, rather than masking that shit with synthetic hormones. Here’s what I’ve done to help it:
–Exercise: The only time my skin’s ever been completely clear was when I was doing hot yoga three times a week. That wasn’t a sustainable habit for me because of money and time, but I’m trying to mimic it at home now to a lesser extent. Sweat them toxins out etc.
–Supplements: Lysine! After less than a week of taking it, my skin is looking pretty awesome. This is an amino acid that people take to combat Herpes outbreaks, but I’d never heard of it being used for acne until I came across a Youtube video by Organic Olivia. It’s inexpensive and seems to be helping. And hey, if you have herpes–two birds, one stone.
–Cutting down on products: One of my goals for this year is to stop using products that are toxic/tested on animals. I’m purging my products slowly. When it comes to skincare stuff I just got so frustrated one day and threw all of it out and started over. I’m using organic, gentle stuff now and I’m washing my face once a day, plus I’ve taken an extended break from wearing makeup. I’ll post more in depth on what I’m doing later on.
Bottom line–if you’re really worried about acne when coming off the pill, you gotta have faith faith faith. It might get a little worse, or you might be starting back at the beginning, but I feel so much more confident that once I’m balanced and clear this time it will be a lot more sustainable than when I was taking synthetic hormones. Here’s a bit of a before and after:
I’m wearing makeup here, but you can still see the hormonal acne on my chin and the uneven/dry texture i was rocking. I wish I took more pics without makeup!
This is now! Bit by bit, things are evening out. There is hope, y’all.
4. Libido: This went along with moodswings I think. Now that I’m focusing on balancing my hormones again, this has gone back to normal almost entirely. Stupid damn pill.
5. Weight gain/bloating: Also gone. I get a little bloated around my period, but barely. I hadn’t even noticed how much water weight I was holding while on the pill until it was allllll gone within a few weeks. In general, I feel that it’s always been easier to maintain my weight while off the pill. I eat a pretty balanced diet and am fairly active, but I don’t stress over it at all, and when I’m not on the pill everything just seems to even out and weight goes where it’s supposed to and backs off from the places it’s not meant to be.
6. Brittle hair and nails: I’ve been taking Biotin, and my nails are way stronger than they were. They’re also not peeling anymore. My hair is doing well too.
7. Cellulite: This is still around. As my body evens out again and I shed the weird water weight bloatiness I had from the pill, it’ll probably lessen a bit. I don’t mind. I kind of like it, to be honest.
8. Dry eyes: I can wear my contacts all damn day without noticing them. Praise the lord.
All-in-all–everything is pretty much going as I’d hoped it would. I had this fear when I was on the pill that I was not in control of my body, and that I was losing my ability to intuitively read the signs when things were going wrong because I just couldn’t tell whether it was something to do with the pill I was on, or whether it was just in my head etc. The greatest part about not being on it has just been not having to worry about that–if something feels off, I trust my instincts and I start taking the necessary steps to correct it or at least understand it.
Next up: What am I using for birth control now!?