Dear Aunt Flo, I’d like to ask about coming off all hormonal contraception, a place to read positive stories of this maybe, or a book? And learning to know your cycle..natural birth control. Katrina
Hi Katrina, wow, thats a big question- but a really good one!
I’ll start with recommending 2 books- The Pill Are You Sure Its for You? by Jane Bennet Alexandra Pope (I reviewed it here) and Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control by Holly Grigg-Spall. Both books discuss the side effects of the pill and the recent surge of interest in non – hormonal contraception and have info on what happens when you come off the pill.
The pill works by preventing ovulation, and once the pill hormones are out of your system, your body will begin to start producing hormones to initiate your menstrual cycle. Some women will begin to ovulate in a couple of weeks, whereas it may take several months for other women to begin to ovulate. Generally speaking, your body should be back to “normal” within two to three months after stopping the pill. BUT if you had problems with ovulation/periods prior to starting the pill, you may continue to have irregular ovulation/periods after stopping the pill. Some women who had regular periods prior to starting the pill may have irregular ovulation after stopping the pill. Every woman’s experience with their cycle after stopping the pill is different!
There is a condition called post-pill amenorrhea (or lack of menstruation) that can occur after stopping the pill. The reason for lack of menstruation in these women could just be the body is just taking longer to produce the hormones necessary for ovulation and menstruation. If you still haven’t had a period after three months, you may want to take a pregnancy test! I’d also advise seeing a homeopath or natural health practitioner of some sort. Some women don’t get a period after they stop taking the pill because they ovulate and conceive right away so if you do not want to become pregnant, use another form of contraception such as condoms or a diaphragm!
Some side effects of coming off the pill might be acne, weight loss/weight gain, increased breast tenderness and other premenstrual symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and fluctuating emotions, irregular periods, all these should settle once your hormones come back into balance, but again, I recommend seeking the support of a natural health partitioner such as a homeopath, Chinese herbalist, naturapath etc
Learning to chart your cycle and gain the self knowledge of exactly when you ovulate and when your bleeding phase will be is one of the most empowering things a woman can do! I am constantly encouraging women to take charge of their own fertility and get to know their body by using the really simple steps of taking your temperature every day, noticing your vaginal mucus and your cervical position. These 3 things are the indicators to what point of your cycle you are at!
I have written lots of posts about cycle charting and natural contraception- see Moon Times Blog Posts on Cycle Charting and Natural Contraception
And I have written a Cycle Charting Journal which can be bought here.
Warm wishes, Aunt Flo xxx
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