I was on the pill for an overbearing 10 years. When I was sixteen, I was prescribed roaccutane for my acne, and I was told I HAD to go on the contraceptive pill whilst I was on roaccutane. Reason behind that: Roaccutane can basically deform your growing baby if you fall pregnant whilst on it. I had no intentions of getting pregnant at sixteen years old and I did try and stress this to the doctors, but none the less, I had to go on the pill if I wanted to start my roaccutane treatment.
The Jaime now would have never dreamt of touching either of those drugs, but the sixteen year old Jaime was a different story. My skin crippled me. If anyone has ever had severe facial acne, you’ll know about that dreaded feeling of even leaving the house on a zit city day.
I honestly think that my onset of depression and anxiety which began two years ago, was due to both of these drugs; roaccutane and the contraceptive pill!
I was on Yasmin for ten years (that figure really does scare me). That’s ten years of my life that I didn’t ovulate. Ten years of my life in which I didn’t have any connection with my natural hormones. Ten years of depleting my gut health. That bleed you have on the pill, that’s just a withdrawal bleed. You can’t physically have a period if you don’t ovulate, and the pill stops you from ovulating.
Unfortunately, periods are often shamed, not just by men but woman too. We see our periods as overbearing acquaintances, where as in fact, our periods are a KEY indicator of our health! I for one now feel empowered that I ovulate and menstruate. I feel like my body will let me know if something is out of balance or if there is an area of my health that I need to focus my holistic intentions on. Ovulation is an indicator of health, so really us woman are lucky to have that free health check up on a monthly basis! Our bodies need our natural hormones to feel good, and when we have those times of the month when we don’t feel good, that’s because of the natural decrease of estrogen after ovulation. Our sex hormones influence our minds and our nervous system, so it’s clear to see why there is ongoing evidence that people on the pill suffer the horrific side effects of anxiety and depression (and a low libido at that)!
About 2 years ago I adopted a very holistic lifestyle, so it didn’t feel right that I was still putting this synthetic drug into my body. I was scared about coming off of the pill because I hastily worried about the return of my sixteen year old acne. So what did I do? I prepared myself like never before! Yes I spent hours on the internet trying to find legit research, but the real game changer for me was coming across the book, “The Period Repair Manual By Lara Briden”. Lara is a naturopath, and the book touches on post pill preparation and experiences, conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis, the menopause, and much more.
If you can do one thing after reading this blog, purchase this book! I can’t rave about it enough! I’m going to share with y’all some hacks, habits and routines that I implemented into my daily life when I decided to break free from the pill. Ideally, implementing some daily habits into your lifestyle 3 months before coming off of the pill, is your best bet. It gives your body an even better chance to heal with less side effects. Bear in mind that I am NOT a naturopath (yet), and that what works for me may be useless for someone else. So always do your own research and see a naturopath if you feel like that might help you along your post pill journey.
One last thing, don’t loose hope. When that climax comes (and it often always does and at different times for different woman), just remember why you made the decision you did in the first place. Some women wait a year to get their period after they come off of the pill. Please don’t believe the doctors when they tell you to stay on the pill until you’re ready to get pregnant. It’s not that easy and your body needs time to heal. Take your power back now ladies, and persevere even through the earlier darker days. You’re body needs a chance to get better.
- I haven’t had dairy for two and a half years now and it’s advised you majorly cut down on dairy if you want to see massive improvement in your skin. This especially goes for acne sufferers. The insulin like growth factors in milk mimic the hormones that trigger oil production in the sebaceous glands.
- Cutting down in refined sugar and even unrefined sugar where possible. Sugar causes a spike in insulin levels which can send the hormones crazy. Even dried fruits such as dates and raisins can do this. I really rarely eat refined sugar and I occasionally eat unrefined sugar such as maple or coconut if I’m making a hot chocolate or raw dessert. And that’s okay because I don’t want to starve myself of my cravings. I’ve always enjoyed finding healthy alternatives to satisfy my cravings. However I do notice a difference in my skin if I really cut out all sugar and just consume whole fruits such as apples, pears and so on. This is especially beneficial in your second half of your cycle (the luteal phase).
- Gluten is another acne trigger and there has even been strong evidence that removal of gluten can tremendously improve chronic migraines! I wouldn’t say I’m intolerant to gluten, but I feel better when I don’t eat too much of it and my hormonal acne dampens down too. There are so much delicious alternatives, and some of my favourite gluten free staples include quinoa, chickpea pasta, and black rice noodles.
- Load up on those seeds! Especially flaxseed (in meal form), pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and sesame seed (the black type is very beneficial for hormones).
- A daily dosage of blueberries will do you wonders because of it’s antioxidant composition!
- There is a supplement called DIM, which is helpful for hormonal acne. Hormonal acne makes an appearance when there is an imbalance of good estrogen, bad estrogen and testosterone. DIM prevents the bad estrogen from gaining strength by working to improve the good estrogen and testosterone. DIM can also be found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.
- Reishi mushroom powder is a medicinal mushrooms which helps to balance out hormones and also relieves anxiety and stress. I add some to my chocolate porridge combo in the morning, and pop it in my smoothies too!
- Lots of healthy fats like hemp oil and seeds, tahini, pumpkin seeds, primrose oil, flax oil and seeds will give your skin a healthy glow and make it look more plump and perky!
- Morning tonic: 1/2 juiced lemon + 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. AMAZING for gut health and for waking up the digestive system first thing in the morning.
- DIM – (as mentioned above)
- Magnesium glycinate chelate – (I use the Nested brand which you can purchase on Amazon). If you’re going to continue taking any supplement, let that be magnesium! Magnesium aids generous sleep, relieves stress, anxiety and muscle pain, and helps with those time of the month cramps. I’m lucky in that I don’t really experience those cramps, but I have read that magnesium can pleasingly help with this!
- Zinc Picolinate – This type of zinc or zinc citrate are your best bet! Being on the pill depletes zinc levels in the body, and so you’ll want to get this vitamin in check pretty urgently! Zinc is crucial for healthy skin and hair. Zinc kills bacteria, reduces inflammation, and reduces keratin (a protein) which plays a big part in the blocking of your pores.
- B Complex – This vitamin is fabulous at reducing anxiety, stress, depression, and overall fatigue of the brain and the body. A real mood enhancer!
- Betaine – A digestive enzyme which helps support your stomach acid which in aid supports your gut. As you’ll read below, a healthy gut means a healthy body and a healthy functioning mind.
- Probiotics – (I use the BioKult advanced formula brand which you can find on amazon). I like to take my probiotics first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Like antibiotics, the contraceptive pill massively defects gut health. It can take time, patience and persistence to fix your gut, but it is something we should be working on everyday of our lives. Our gut sends messages to the brain and vice versa! Our gut health is a huge deal and getting that in check will help you on your post pill journey!
- Vitamin A – I take this in tincture form and only started about 2 weeks ago when I felt I needed to change up my routine a little and try something new. Without drying my skin out, I felt the vitamin A has helped control my sebum oil levels. I take it internally and have noticed a difference!
- A Vogel Boldocynara – (for the liver). This potion smells divine, tastes almost floral, lasts a long time, and helps with the functioning of the liver. The liver is up there with gut health when it comes to talking about hormones and post pill alternative medicine. The liver helps to remove excess hormones from the body which is a very good thing! Therefore, you want this organ to be in good shape. This concoction is made up of globe artichoke, boldo, milk thistle, and dandelion. Boldocynara improves digestion by expanding the secretion of bile.
I hope that this article has made you feel a little bit more confident in saying ciao to the pill (if you’re thinking about coming off), or has given you some fresh slate (if you’re already on your post pill journey and feeling a bit jaded and lost).
It’s not always easy. My first five months were pretty breezy, and then the past two months have seen my monthly cycles out of whack with my luteal phase (post ovulation phase) lasting anywhere between 3 – 4 weeks! These periods really test my mood, skin and anxiety most of all. But the knowing that I’m becomming more and more in tune with my body every extra day since I broke up with the pill, makes it all worthwhile.
We’ve got this ladies! Honour your bodies, your periods, and know that it’s a beautiful thing to get to ovulate every month! We hold a space in our bodies to nurture life, which is an incredible sentence in itself!
To all the woman out there, you are powerful, you are magical, and you are allowed to be in charge of your own body!