I quit hormonal birth control more than 2 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I had made in a long time. I was taking the pill for several years already and at one point I just decided I had enough of it. I wanted to reclaim the power over what I was putting into my body, make sure I was having a natural and healthy period and feel f*cking empowered embracing my feminine cycle instead of the constant battle against it.

I first want to start with saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I am just sharing mine.

When & why I started taking hormonal birth control

The beginning of my journey with the pill hasn’t been that easy, I started taking it when I was 16 because that was around the time I became sexually active with my first boyfriend. I struggled when I first started taking the pill. Every month when I took the first pill of the strip, I would wake up in the middle of the night so nauseous I had to ran to the bathroom to throw up. I also experienced spot bleeding for weeks on end. It took me 6 months to go to see my doctor because I thought my body was just “adjusting” to the pill. My doctor prescribed me a lighter dose, that should keep me from throwing up so much. And it did. I never thought twice about what I was actually putting into my body… Looking back I wish somebody educated me on natural ways of birth control, but unfortunately the pill is the first thing doctors recommend.

Why I quit taking hormonal birth control

I took the pill from age 16 and stopped just a few months before I turned 23. Like I already said, I quit because I wanted to reclaim the power over what I was putting into my body. I started seeing more and more articles about the pill, about how it really worked and how it doesn’t “regulate” your periods like you think. I knew that the pill tricks your body into thinking it is pregnant and this prevents ovulation (and the ability to get pregnant for real), but I never gave much thought about how this affects your body overall. I also did not know the difference between the synthetic hormones I was taking and our natural hormones (more about this later).

Another reason I wanted to get off the pill is because I was unsure of my ability to have a natural and healthy period, since I had been taking the pill for such a long time. I learned that getting your period when you are on the pill is not a real period, but a withdrawal bleeding due to the withdrawal of hormones during your stop week. I read some women didn’t get their periods for months after they quit the pill and it scared me. I wanted to know if my body could regulate itself again and I wanted to do everything I could to make that happen.

Synthetic hormones v.s. Natural hormones

Quick disclaimer here: This information is gathered through my own personal research. I would advise you to  further educate yourself and/or go see a doctor or natural health practitioner if you have any questions.

The synthetic hormones you ingest when you take the pill are NOT the same as your natural hormones. Yes, they have things in common but unfortunately synthetic hormones miss a lot of the benefits natural hormones have. They can’t even be called the same.

For example:

Natural hormone —>  Progesterone
Synthetic hormone —> Progestin

Progesterone has many other benefits for your sleep, mood & skin that progestin does not have. Some resources even say they operate the same when it comes to preventing pregnancy but the opposite when it comes to everything else in the body. And I am not even mentioning any of the other hormones. Isn’t it a shame that we are stopping all of the benefits our natural hormones give us, when we go on birth control? It is time to realise that hormones are doing a lot more for us than just enabling/preventing pregnancy.

Also, if you look at the picture above, you see that with taking birth control we completely flatline our natural rhythm. It is called the infradian rhythm (only experienced by females). The infradian rhythm affects six systems of the body: 
1. Brain
2. Metabolism
3. Immune system
4. Microbiome
5. Stress response system
6. Reproductive system

And in one menstrual cycle, we experience 4 different phases or “seasons”:
1. Follicular (the 7 to 10 days after your period)
2. Ovulatory (the 2 to 4 days in the middle of your cycle)

3. Luteal (the 10 to 14 days between ovulation and your period)
4. Menstrual (the 3 to 7 days of your period)

During each of these phases, we experience normal hormonal fluctuations that influence the body temperature, sleep cycle, energy, emotions, metabolism and cognitive function. Learning about this has finally made me feel so much more in tune with my body. 

And believe me, I have not always thought about these fluctuations as something “good”. I battled against it and asked myself WHY I was so emotional and tired one day and hyped and horny the next. But the truth is, once I started learning how to go with the flow of my own cycle and stopped fighting against it, I realised how fortunate I was to experience all of this. With everything in life there are highs and lows, and I would rather feel and experience them all instead of shutting off my hormones and numbing it all together… Which brings us to the next subject.

Symptoms / Side effects

I don’t want to dive super deep into the side effects of hormonal birth control. But because I just explained that your hormones remain static when you are on the pill I think it is important to share that this may cause issues around the six systems that the infradian rhythm usually affects.

Possible side effects are:
– Reduced libido
– Chronic stress
– Fatigue
– Brain fog
– Persistent sadness, numbness or depression

– Increased or decreased appetite
– Digestive problems

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and you are on hormonal birth control it might be good to look into this further.

Besides this, I know a lot of women started birth control at a very young age, not necessarily to prevent pregnancy, but to “resolve” their issues like acne/pimples, irregular periods or to reduce menstrual pains. But what I believe most women don’t understand is that taking birth control is not a cure for their problems. Their acne might clear up, their period will become regular but the underlying issues remain. Hormonal birth control does not regulate your hormones – it switches them off. And well, you can’t have hormonal problems if your hormones aren’t active. So is the problem actually solved? Nope.

The moment you get off birth control, your hormones will get active again and your symptoms might come back worse. This can happen because you weren’t addressing any underlying issues and they have been festering below the surface. But don’t worry, at least now you can finally address the actual hormonal issues you (might) have. How to do this? I would recommend to go see a professional and start reading books/information.

Personal recommendations

Books:
  Taking charge of your fertility – Toni Weschler
  In the FLO: Unlock Your Hormonal Advantage and Revolutionize Your Life – Alisa Vitti

Insta accounts:
– @drsarubala
– @holisticrendezvous
– @thesoulfulsprout

What do I use now (to prevent pregnancy)?

For the first year I used condoms only. However, they can break…and sometimes my partner and I couldn’t even be bothered to “go and get the condoms”, because they weren’t exactly within reach of wherever we decided we wanted to have sex. So that resulted in some unprotected sex, which I would never recommend, but hey, it happens to the best of us. It was the stress that usually followed afterwards that got me thinking about other (natural) ways to prevent pregnancy.

I don’t want to dive into all the possibilities out there. Some say a copper IUD is “natural” because it doesn’t contain any hormones, but I have heard my fair share of stories and inserting a heavy metal in my body that kills sperm didn’t sound like an option I was comfortable with either.

So I decided to use a basal body thermometer called Daysy. Daysy is a little piece of technology with a built in thermometer and is basically the digital version of the Fertility Awareness Method to track your cycle. Daysy uses an intelligent algorithm supported by scientific evidence and long-term experience.

Daysy is a hormone-free solution for managing your fertility. You simply have to measure your temperature under your tongue every morning & push a button when you are on your period and in return Daysy calculates when you are fertile and when you are not. It shows your green days (when you are not fertile and can have sex) and your red days (when you are fertile and need protection to have sex). Your fertile window (the days you can conceive) is only 6 days! This made it a lot easier for me and my partner to actually know when we needed to use a condom and when we didn’t! This method can also be used for people that DO want to conceive. With knowing your fertile window you will know exactly when you have an actual chance of getting pregnant!

The Daysy connects to an app where you can see your temperature chart and where you can add other information like your menstruation (if you forgot to push the button), if you had sex, the state of your cervical mucus or any other comments you have.

For me, the Daysy is a game changer. It offered me a way to have a natural cycle with MORE insight about my hormonal fluctuations than I ever had before (the app with the temperature chart is an amazing tool to track where you are in your cycle), it obviously helps me prevent pregnancy, and maybe one day.. helps me conceive!

If this sounds like something you would like for yourself, then I have good news because I have some discount codes to share:

For my European ladies: Use code DaysyEU+582 for a €10,- discount (www.daysy.me)

For my American ladies: Use code DaysyUSA+582 for a $15 discount (www.usa.daysy.me)

For my Dutch ladies: Use code MYINNERBLEND for a €10,- discount (www.daysy.nl)

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost! I will talk more about the Daysy on my Instagram on Monday (the 1st of February). If you have any questions you can comment here or DM me on Instagram: @myinnerblend

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