Figuring Out How to Thrive After Birth Control

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I’m about to get REAL up in here. And I’m definitely a little uncomfortable talking about it, but I feel like more people should be talking about this…so here we go – I recently got off of birth control completely. You know why? No, it’s not because I’m trying to get pregnant. Definitely, definitely not. But because this past year I completely lost my sex drive (if any of my family members are reading this right now, please leave. thank you.). This is all pretty personal so it feels a little weird to share it all on the internet for anyone to read, but I digress.

For quite a while I just thought it had to do with my husband and I going through some tough times in our marriage while his job was eating him alive. But once he quit and we became the happiest we’ve ever been in our relationship, I had to face the fact that there was something else at play. Or not at play, if you will. But it didn’t make sense to me since I’m super healthy, I work out regularly, get enough sleep, and eat dense, nutritious foods. Then one day while I was out for coffee, I mentioned it to a friend and she brought up birth control and how it may have to do with it. This surprised me. Like, really surprised me. I had never heard of that, my doctor had never mentioned it, and none of my friends have ever talked about experiencing it. So then and there, I decided to get off birth control for good.

Then I went on my merry way hoping things would get back to normal in no time. Well, turns out the body often needs more help than just hope. A couple weeks back, my girlfriend Christina Rice (if you don’t already follow her, do it, she’s the best!) was in town and I told her about getting off of birth control and she quickly asked what I was doing to help my body with the transition. I said, “Uhhhhh…nothing.” She rolled her eyes and started spouting all her knowledge bombs at me, explaining how birth control depletes vitamins and minerals in the body, especially B vitamins, selenium, zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. But there are also a ton of other things that can happen once you come off of birth control – loss of periods, depression, anxiety, hair loss, headaches, bowel issues, and WAY more. It’s bananas. Not only did I never know that being on birth control can cause these issues, but I definitely didn’t know coming off it could be just as crappy.

PaleOMG - Figuring Out How to Thrive After Birth Control

Christina was nice enough to send me a list of all the different vitamins I needed to get into my daily routine. And right away I went straight to Thrive Market to grab my vitamins. I’ve talked about Thrive Market about a million times because it’s truly one of my favorite places to shop, for almost anything! Dog treats, paleo snacks, non-toxic cleaning products and makeup, and a ton of other must-haves. Plus they have a HUGE selection of vitamins and supplements, all marked down below MSRP! I was able to pick up a Magnesium & Zinc, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, and Selenium, all between 20-36% below MSRP, and have it shipped to my doorstep in just a couple days.

PaleOMG - Figuring Out How to Thrive After Birth Control

In case you were like me and completely in the dark about birth control can deplete so many important vitamins and minerals in the body, here’s why some of these supplements can be beneficial when coming out of birth control –

  • Magnesium & Zinc 
    • Magnesium – We all know magnesium is good for us. I feel like it’s talked about more than any other mineral. It’s involved in energy creation, protein formation, gene maintenance, muscle movements, nervous system regulation, and more. And it plays a role in brain function and mood which can help with depression while coming off birth control
    • Zinc – This can be helpful with loss of menstruation since many birth controls can cause zinc deficiency or copper overload.
  • B Complex – When your body is detoxing from the excess hormones, it needs adequate B vitamins such as B6 and B12, both of which can be depleted while on birth control. B Vitamins help with energy levels, cell health, and a crap ton of other things.
  • Vitamin C – Surprise surprise, birth control also depletes Vitamin C in our bodies which is sucks since it helps protect our cells and fight against free radicals.
  • Selenium – When you’re detoxing from the excess amount of hormones coming off of birth control, your liver is responsible for processing them. Selenium supports the liver, as well as the thyroid, to help process and eliminate heavy metals.

Sure, I complained for quite a long time about the size of the vitamins. I mean COME ON. Pills suck, especially ones the size of small boats. But I quickly learned that taking the vitamins with some carbonated water washes them down real quick like. It’s a game changer. Try it!

PaleOMG - Figuring Out How to Thrive After Birth Control

I’ve been off of birth control for over a month now and I’m happy to say things have been going very well. I’ve had some definite mood swings and cramps were a little worse than before, but I was quite happy to get my period on the same day as I thought I would. Sadly my sex drive isn’t fully back to normal (again, so awkward to talk about on here), but it’s improving. I’m a person who definitely understands that everything takes time and I don’t expect my body to be back to normal after 16 or 17 years of birth control.

I don’t know personally know many people who have had the same experience as me when it comes to birth control, but I’m hoping that sharing this story helps at least a few people out there. And I have Christina to thank for talking me into supplementation post birth control. And I can thank Thrive Market for having everything I would need to make the transition a little easier. Thrive Market makes healthy living easier and more affordable. And the more we can support Thrive Market, the more they will be able to change even more households in the US, for the better. And don’t forget, you can get 25% off your first order + free 30 day trial + free shipping when you click here! Thrive Market will help you save on groceries, beauty products, and yes vitamins and supplements!

Remember, I’m not a doctor. This is my own personal experience. Don’t forget to talk to a medical professional you TRUST. And if you have your own birth control or post-birth control experience you’d like to share, I’d love to hear it. I know it can be a little strange sharing it over the internet, but those stories can impact people in such positive ways! I’d especially love to hear any vitamins and minerals that you’ve added into your own daily life to help you thrive. I’m really excited to feel like I have my body back. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress!

PaleOMG - Figuring Out How to Thrive After Birth Control

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This post is brought to you by Thrive Market. It contains some affiliate links and I may be compensated for this post, but all opinions are my own. This compensation helps with expenses to keep this blog up and running! Thank you for all your support!

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.

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120 thoughts on “Figuring Out How to Thrive After Birth Control”

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for talking about this!!!! I was on hormonal birth control for over 10 years, and these last 6 months have been a roller coaster coming off. Thanks for always keeping it real and being so relatable.

  2. When I went from hormonal birth control to a copper IUD, my sex drive changed and it’s cyclical. The 5 days around ovulation gives me the sex drive of a 19 year old boy. The 3 days before my period have me wanting to kill all men and be a crazy cat lady. The rest of the time is just more regular- I have more sex drive than when I was on BC pills.
    Basically, you are now freeing up your hormones to do what they need to do to help you reproduce, so I feel different throughout my cycle in a lot of ways- mood, energy, strength. The best way to handle it is to know that in a couple days, you’ll feel better- so you’ll have more “low” days. but the “high days” more than make up for it.

    1. Haha, this is me exactly when I went totally off BC. It definitely helped my drive overall but it’s still cyclical depending on my hormones. It took about 6 months for me to see a regular pattern.

      1. I’ve experienced zero sex drive as well since I removed my copper IUD. I had so many painful cramping issues that I couldnt do it anymore. It’s been 4 years and my sex drive hasn’t returned. I’ve had all my hormone levels checked and tried EVERYTHING but nothing works! I’m 35 and still newly married at 2 years. Before the IUD our sex life was amazing. Anyone else that has any suggestions, I’ll try it! Thanks for talking about this. It’s hard to find people who relate.

  3. I’m 31 and, like you, have spent more than a decade on birth control. I started in high school to control acne. Once I became *active*, the pill was magnificently, gloriously multipurpose. I love not having to worry about creating a human on accident, but I often wonder how it’s affecting the rest of my body. Unfortunately, I don’t trust myself enough to rely on condoms or other forms of contraception. Non-hormonal IUDs scare the crap out of me. I almost feel like my only choices are to use hormonal birth control or take the risk of getting pregnant. This may be waaayyy too of a question, but I know you’re on the fence about having children (as am I)-are you at all worried about an oopsy baby?

  4. Wow thanks for opening up about this, despite how awkward it might feel. But remember, your community LOVES you and when you get raw/honest, we connect even more. Makes me think that my birth control implant may have something to do with my low sex drive… eek. Definitely seems like there is a correlation from when I put it in…ye gods. Something to think about. Need to start working on those vitamins though regardless of having bc or not, right?

    Thanks again Juli – I love this blog for posts like this. And instant pot recipes … and bachelorette recaps (miss those!)

    Have a great day!
    Hillary

  5. I went off in July 2018. My mood improved, I was happier and got my sex drive back! Sex didn’t hurt anymore either. It took 6 months to get my period back, so if you don’t see improvements in a month, maybe wait a little more time. And I haven’t gotten pregnant yet (I am currently avoiding it). We use the “pull out and pray” method (and condoms sometimes). Maybe it’s because I’m going to have a hard time getting pregnant. Not sure. But all those years on birth control were a waste because I didn’t even need it.

  6. I remember when I transitioned….it was so strange to actually go through the real hormonal changes on a monthly basis and not experience the fabricated ones from the pill. It was about 4 – 5 months of being all over the place for me. Since coming off the pill I am much more stable emotionally, but I go through a bit of a lovey phase for a couple days and do experience one day of real PMS a month. BUT totally worth it now that I actually know when to expect my period each month and feel normal. It’s nice being in tune with your body!

  7. THANK YOU!!

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been on Birth Control for about eight years and have been thinking about going off it recently. This is like another sign from the universe that it is time to go off the pill. Thank you for sharing this with us and for giving us tips to help us once we go off the pill.

    Did you meet with your doctor before you went off the pill or did you just stop cold turkey?

    Thank you again so much for sharing this with us. <3

  8. I was on birth control for over 12 years and it screwed me over. I went to a traditional Chinese medicine doctor and took herbals for a few months to feel better. Big believer in them. Make sure your vitamin D levels are up there as well as low vitamin D can contribute to hormone issues as well. There’s some liposomal forms out there that are easily absorbed. Also there are some awesome magnesium sprays and lotions that absorb really well by Ancient Minerals.

  9. I’ve been off birth control for quite some time but had a hysterectomy. They left my ovaries but now at 38, I’m going through perimenopause. Fan-fucking- tastic. Hello sleeplessness, mood swings that make a 13 year old look normal, and weight gain….bleh. For me, magnesium and ketones have helped!

  10. Katie Dunlop at lovesweatfitness.com recently got off of birth control. She did a ton of research beforehand and she’s been off of it for 3 months now. You may want to check her you tube channel and blog to get some more info about supplements and her experience.

    1. thank you for this recommendation! Looking to come off the pill too but the horror stories have me scared to, but the horror stories about being ON the pill scare me too!

  11. Thanks for sharing, it is so valuable that you open up about this! I have low sex drive too, and I am still on the pill but i have been taking maca powder daily for about 2 months and I have noticed a difference!

    1. Loved this post, definitely something women should be discussing.

      I’m super curious what your birth control method will be going forward. I know that’s really personal but am curious.. hope you don’t mind me asking.

  12. Exciting! I came off birth control in October of 2018 and it was definitely the best decision. I had taken birth control for 11 years and I started to feel like it was making me crazy. My sex drive has definitely increased since. I am happily married but no plans for children at the moment. I track my cycle using the Flo app and it has been very successful.

  13. I would be curious to know what you are doing for “birth control” (sorry if that is even more personal). I have seriously considered coming off birth control but as a mother of two very young children.. I don’t need any more babies right now!

  14. It’s so effin ridiculous how much birth control messes with your body while you’re taking it and then again when you’re going off of it. I was also on it for about 17 years and in that time frame I went off of it a couple times for various reasons and every time was a goddamn shit show, my body definitely rebelled. Finally got the IUD (um, this isn’t me recommending that because holy shit getting that put in does not feel good let me tell you) and that was the only birth control that seemed to work for my body and then when I went off of it recently to get pregnant, my body didn’t flip the eff out like it had in the past. Sooooo I guess when I’m done being pregnant and have to go back on birth control…..cause FUCK being pregnant again, hard nope on that one, I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to do……ugh. Men have it so easy!!!!!!

  15. Getting off of birth control was one of the best things I ever did for myself. The pill made me feel crazy, no sex drive and I couldn’t seem to lose weight and it was that way for over a decade, I am sad to say. My hubby and I decided that a vasectomy was our best route and honestly it was a huge blessing. It took a while for me to feel “normal” again and when I discovered what normal really was, I felt like I needed to tell my girlfriends about my experience because it really sucked to feel like there was something wrong with me only to find out it was the pill behind it. Thank you for getting this message out because it’s not something we talk about enough.

  16. Thanks for sharing. I’ve never been on the pill! I did a lot of research and the crap the put in birth control is astounding. Have you heard of the FAM Method? Fertility Awareness Method. I have been doing this for 6 years and I am very in tune to my cycle and ovulation. Good luck on your journey!

    1. I feel VERY lucky that I had the worst side effects when I tried 3 different type of HBC pills back in college and decided, NOPE, not for me, after doing a lot of research into it! I cannot imagine putting hormones in my body for that many years, especially that I am in my 30s now. I’ve seen friends go through all sorts of stuff on the pill as well as coming off of it. I’ve been tracking my cycle for over a decade now, and I’ve never had an issue with using other BC methods. And! I’ve never, ever had an issue with my libido – it has always been VERY high and I love it, and I’m glad I didn’t mess with it using hormones. Juli, congratulations for getting off of HBC and good luck getting your juju back! Thank you for being open about this!

  17. Thank you for sharing this! This is exactly what I needed because I was literally toying with the idea of coming off the pill on Sunday when my pack ended (taken the pill everyday for 16 years). I’ve never heard that coming off the pill could be just as bad, but it does make sense, and I have never heard about taking the extra vitamins either!

  18. Mackenzie Nickels

    Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience with this. I’ve been reading info from Dr. Jolene Brighten and looking into what birth control does to our bodies and am looking to get off the pill as well. It’s stressful thinking about the side effects of going off but knowledge is power and it’s so great to hear a personal story from someone!

    1. Dr Brighten’s book ” Beyond the Pill” is really helpful and opened my eyes to some of my personal issues post pill. I was on 10+ years.

  19. I had a very similar experience – low sex drive, acne came back, cramping, etc. I went to an Acupuncture Physician who put me on a supplement protocol to support my body post birth-control. That, with the acupuncture, was life changing! He had me on magnesium, plus some adaptogenic herbs to help support my adrenals. So glad to hear you found some great supplements! They truly made a difference for me, and after about 6 months I felt like myself again!

  20. Girl, first off congratulations! Talk about courage all around. I stopped taking birth control after 14 years (22 years ago) simply because I thought how could that be good for my body? Putting something in to my body to make it think it’s pregnant when it’s not, cannot be good for long term use. I’m so happy I did. Now that I am pre menopausal, the dr suggested low dose, but I’m trying to figure out what’s best naturally. Another great topic I wish women would discuss more! Thank you!!

  21. Hi Juli. I too experienced the low sex drive. My friend introduced me to Isagenix and it has been a game changer for me. The isagenisis and shakes along with magnesium have helped me tremendously. I use it and provide it for all my friends and family. . If you want some samples or have any questions please feel free to ask me. Please don’t take this as a marketing spam. I am just letting you know what helped me. Just here to serve?

  22. I experienced very low sex drive on the pill like you did, as well as a host of other unpleasant symptoms like digestive issues, dizziness, anxiety, mood swings, and just generally not feeling like myself. It was terrible. I almost instantly felt better within days of going off it. However, despite my sex drive and mood being a million times better, my body still struggled with the transition, for almost a year and a half. I had no idea it was actually not uncommon for it to take that long! My cycle was irregular – two months long at one point – and I experienced hormonal acne for the first time in my life. Luckily this has mostly cleared up now after 8 months or so. Zinc and B vitamins helped me, as well as a good probiotic and fermented foods! Birth control pills can also throw off the microbiome in your gut, which can cause all kinds of issues. Good luck and I hope your transition goes smoothly!

  23. It took me about 1.5 years to get my period back after being on BC for almost 15 years. It’s been an emotional roller coaster full of acne, depression, weight gain, adrenal problems, etc. I highly recommend women educate themselves on both what BC does to your body when you go on it AND when you come off it.

    I learned there is such a thing as Post Birth Control Syndrome , and I’ve done a ton of research the past 2 years on this and recommend following and reading Drs Jolene Brighten, Lara Biden, and Sara Gottfried. Their books are science-based but written for us common folk to understand 🙂 and they also give you quizzes to take based on symptoms, protocols to follow, supplements, etc.

    The Period Repair Manual (Biden) and Beyond the Pill (Brighten) have been extremely helpful to me as I thought I was a crazy person for a while and not understanding what was happening to my body, emotions, etc. I hope this post and resources help at least one other woman out there!

  24. I’ve been off for a year and a half – have always recommended that my married friends ditch it because if/when you ever do decide to have kids it can be ridiculous how long it takes. If your body even decides to ovulate again on its own, it can be very frustrating! It’s like they told us all these years how easy it is to get pregnant when in fact the pull and pray method is actually very effective! If you’re a type A person like me you think you can will yourself to get pregnant. Trying for a baby is no fun after the first few months of disappointment. I’ve vowed to never get on it again, especially due to the side effects. Several years back I was on the Depo shot which can cause lower bone density. Women already have enough issues with this, since your bone density only declines after 30. And osteoporosis meds are no joke! No thank you there!

  25. Kayla Dennison

    Heyyy!!! I love that you posted about this. In February, I went off the birth control pill after 16 years. After a little math, i also realized i had been ON birth control for more years of my life than off. I took myself off of it for numerous reasons, some in which we share. My sex drive was low, I’ve had acne since I can remember, and I felt that my body deserved a break from artificial hormones. I also wanted to get to know and understand my body when I just let it do it’s own thing. No, I’m not trying to get pregnant.

    And another thing. After speaking with an OBGYN that i work with, studies show benefits of being on birth control for 10 years to help prevent certain cancers. But there’s no studies beyond. Soooo why be on it if you’re practice sexy time responsibly?!

    Anywho, I leaned a few things:

    1) my cramps and period aren’t as bad as i remember. It lasts about 3 days and then done.
    2) my face went BERSERK! It is finally healing thanks to my Glow Weekly Pads. ?
    3) my overall anxiety is better, but the PMS moodiness definitely comes around a little.

    After reading this, I will be ordering myself some supplements. I didn’t realize that vitamin depletion was a thing when in birth control. Thanks again!

    Kayla

  26. Currently going though this! I just stopped birth control after 15 years, I am only right at 2 months. The first month, I had a VERY light period. I am right at the 2nd month “time” (should be occurring soon? TMI on the deets, I know!). I have noticed my sex drive increase, but no major mood fluctuations. I am not sure how long it will take my body/hormones to “normalize.” Just wait and see! Even though the transition isn’t seamless, I have to think being off hormones (for birth control only) has to be a good for my body. I have been skimming the book Beyond the Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighton, You should check it out—some points are pretty interesting. Good luck!

  27. Hi Juli! Props to you for sharing this with your readers, because there aren’t enough people talking about it!

    I started following a few people on social media who go in great detail about transitioning off the pill and they’ve said that for each year you were on it, you can expect a month per year before returning to normal (so for you 16-17 months). I’ve found that seed cycling helped tremendously and I now have a 100% symptom free cycle (no mood swings, no cramps, and small improvements in hormone related acne- though I’ve heard that can take the longest to clear up). Dr Jolene Brighten, and Lara Briden, ND are the top go-to experts on the matter as far as I know.

    I’ve been off the pill for 9 months now and was on it for 12 years and I don’t regret coming off! The pill was starting to give me insomnia and anxiety- no bueno! Glad to say those are gone. Hope you get some fabulous results as well!

    1. A month per year? I was on hormonal birth control (all of them – pill, ring, IUD) for almost 24 years, been off for a year now… looks like I better batten down the hatches for another year. Yikes! Wish I had been as smart as you to seek out the advice of others, would’ve made this last year way easier! Thanks to Juli, and you, and all the other commenters recommending resources for us “meh, what’s the worst that could happen” peeps 🙂

  28. After taking the birth control pill for 20+ years at the age of 38, I started experiencing constant dizziness, which led to depression because it was challenging to function and I felt horrible. I was irritable with my husband and children. So much so that my husband started talking to his friends about it. Two of them told him their wives went through something similar and it was due to the birth control pill. One of them changed their pill to a lower hormonal dose and the other went off completely. I was surprised when he told me. I asked my doctor about it and she dismissed me. But she did change my pill. It did nothing, so I decided to stop taking it. It took 6 months for the dizziness to subside, but I was so relieved when it did! I suffered with the dizziness for a year and a half. I have been off the pill for two years and feel so much better! I was not aware of the vitamin depletion caused by the pill. Thank you for raising this issue and discussing the hard stuff!

  29. I feel like I MUST remind people that if your not interested in having babies or done having babies, have your dude get a vasectomy! I am off birth control after having twins and for the survival of our marriage, we did not want more babies. During my unplanned c-section, I asked about tying my tubes – not an option at the time, so it became an easy decision for my husband to go in. He has had no complaints, it was a quick and easy procedure – minimal healing time, not invasive. Compared to the option for me to go back on birth control or get my tubes tied, ect, it was the quickest, easiest, safest option.
    As far as being off birth control, I think it took my body to adjust post birth control and babies, my boys are 3 years old and I am feeling pretty stable these days!

  30. Check out Dr. Jolene Brighton, she has so many helpful resources related to getting off the pill. I read her book, Beyond the Pill, when I got off birth control and it was super helpful. Getting off birth control has been really good for me and I’m not trying to get pregnant either.

  31. I so appreciate you sharing this! I agree- it’s awkward to talk about, but still important.

    I suffered (and still do) from low sex drive for many years, which I attributed to my hormonal birth control. I finally switch to the Paraguard IUD and am slowly seeing improvements. Additionally, I am supplementing with B vitamins and magnesium!

    I would love to hear any updates with your process and journey. Thanks again for sharing!

  32. THIS! SO MUCH!

    I was on BC for 10 years before we decided to do the baby thing. Then went back on after Breast Feeding (2 years ago). This past April, I told my husband that if he doesn’t want another kid BC is on him and took myself off the pill. I too, found out about all of the terrible things that BC does to your body and dropped that shit like a hot potato. I was taking prenatal vitamins to help replenish all of the minerals and vitamins that I found to be depleted by BC. Unfortunately, the last brand of prenatal vitamins I bought upset my stomach so I carried on with taking my son’s B-Complex chewable. I am going to definitely look into the others that you mentioned here.

    Sort of side note… I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 19. My symptoms came on right after I switched my BC to that YAZ brand that was so awesome back then. 5 years later I started seeing a NRT specialist to help me manage my RA. She encouraged me to go off of BC, which I did but also because we wanted a baby. I saw SO much improvement during my time with NRT, and I attributed it all to the NRT therapy. Fast Forward 2.5 years, I am no longer living in the same city seeing the NRT specialist, I go back on BC, and my RA symptoms come back… I am super interested to see if they start to go away now that I am off the pill again. I say this because you mention selenium and that was one of the minerals I was low in and through NRT therapy, I found that I had a ton of heavy metals in my system!

    Anyway, thank you for sharing. I hope you are encouraged by these responses and support. Know that you are not alone. Solidarity Sister!

  33. Girl! Thank you for opening up and starting a conversation! Personally, I had the Implanon implant that did dangerous things to me, then went to the IUD, and finally ending up getting a bilateral salpingdectomy (tubes tied in the new way). My hormones were surging, mood swings, sex drive gone, had 9 month period (you will definitely get anemic if this happens!), everything was haywire. Once surgery was over, I haven’t gone back on BC pills. I’ve been off for a year and a half and it is SOSOSO much better for me. My hormones leveled out in about 3 months, I ended up with regular periods (cramps are back, fibroids still a thing) and a sex drive again. I get PMSy, but still not as mood swings before.

  34. I’ve been on the pill for almost 4 years (since the start of my long term relationship). I definitely have experienced a sizable decrease in my sex drive, but it actually took me until 6 months ago or so to google the pill I’m on, after which I saw a ton of other people who also had decreased sex drives! I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t really considered that could be the reason behind what I felt.. or didn’t feel, I guess. None of my doctors or friends had ever mentioned it before either. 🙁
    I’m hoping after I change health insurances I can get an IUD instead (trying to avoid the horror stories with that). Anyway, thanks for sharing! I know it’s super personal, but it’s nice to know we’re all in this hellhole together!

  35. Yuuuup! Same. I went off BC in September of 2017. It took me over a year to get my period because I also had hypothalamic amenorrhea and loads of gut and hormone imbalances. What a blessing to get your period when you expected it to come back!! I unfortunately still haven’t gotten my sex drive back after almost 2 years off, but hoping with time things will improve.

    I’m sure you’ve maybe heard of it but Jolene Brighten’s book “Beyond the Pill” is a great resource for transitioning off

  36. Thank you for being brave enough to post about this tough topic. I listened to a brief podcast a few months ago about the problems with the pill and stopped taking it that day. I’m reading a book by Dr. Jolene Brighten, Beyond the Pill, that goes pretty deeply into detail about just how much the pill can wreak havoc on our system. Highly recommend! We

  37. I went on birth control when I got married because we knew we wanted to wait to have kids. I turned into a different person. I was really emotional, snapped at my husband all the time about ridiculous stuff, and my sex drive was pretty bad. I figured out after about a year what was causing the issues and thank goodness I did! I think my husband was wondering “who is this crazy person I married and where is the girlfriend that I thought I wanted to spend the rest of my life with??”

    Luckily I didn’t deal with many issues since I hadn’t been on it that long, but I vowed never to take hormones again! And we managed to wait until we were ready before having kids, so other methods for avoiding pregnancy certainly can work!

    Good luck to you, sounds like you’ve got a good plan in place!

  38. I am SO glad you are sharing this! I went off BC in 2016 as my “ok let’s get pregnant” moment. My result was a missing period for 13 months with no solutions from my lady doc. I ate very well, balanced exercise, was a great sleeper, managed some stress (who doesn’t) and the only thing they could tell me was to gain 10 lbs (which was completely unnecessary, 140Lbs at 5’4; 28% BF). After 6 months of a missing period, I did my own research and started supplementing and meditating. I definitely noticed a change in my sex drive and wasn’t even expecting it! Sex felt goood, like I didn’t know it was supposed to feel that way; I had much more natural lubrication, and I realized what feeling horny actually meant. After 9 months, I saw a fertility specialist who said my hormones were “dimmed” but everything was functioning relatively appropriately. The “dimmed” hormones were likely a cause from the 12+ years of BC. Flash forward to today, I have a 13 month old baby girl. I never did get that period, but miracles are lovely. So if anyone is reading this and going through something similar, invest into your sex drive and love on your hubby as often as possible 😉

    Thanks again for sharing! While 2016 wasn’t that long ago, the amount of resources found online were pretty limited. Since then, I’ve learned how common scenarios such as mine and yours may be – while normalcy may make someone feel better mentally, this should not be the expectation of women’s health.

  39. Chelsea Goldkamp

    Juli, your wonderful for owning your vulnerability and quashing it through sharing your experiences! Always love your blunt and off the wall comments that seem to come out of left field. If your looking for a new form of BC so you can truly enjoy the drive when it comes back check out VCF, vaginal contraceptive film or gel, one option even comes w an applicator. It’s extremely effective, non hormonal, and easy to use. Haven’t popped out another kid since I started using it religiously. HAHA! Hopefully having an option to help prevent pregnancy will help you to feel better about hoppin on the good foot and doin the bad thang! I recommend VCF gel w applicator it dissolves quicker, if using the film make sure to allow enough time to let it dissolve all the way. Once when we didn’t let it dissolve all the way a piece of undissolved VCF got into my husbands urethra, instead of dissolving where it should, and burned like hell when he urinated afterward. By the way your Paleo recipes are muther flippin golden!

    1. Hey Juli!
      Wow-clearly from the # of comments on this post this is a topic we can ALL relate to! Thanks for sharing – I hope you revisit this topic too and keep us updated as time goes on.

      Here’s my BC and post-BC story:

      Went on BC in college when I started a long term relationship with my then bc-now husband. Nuva ring, stayed on for probably 6ish years, mostly without issues, but it was weird sometimes and husband didn’t love it bc he could feel it so sometimes we’d remove it but that’s obviously not a great idea long term if you forget to put it back in right away

      Heard IUDs were better so tried … I think the mirena- has some hormone but lower dose. Hurt like hell to have it inserted (like-if men had to do it it would be a procedure with anesthesia it hurt so badly) and then I would get these jolts of terrible abdomen pain when I moved certain ways – and my husband could feel it during intercourse (which my doc said was impossible but if you search online tons of people say happens) so we tried to trim the strings but then it was even worse and so I finally removed it within 6 weeks of inserting (I felt IMMEDIATELY better before walking out of the doctors office. I’ve since done some research inn IUDs and learned that it’s nit super well understood how they work; they think it’s just kind of a low grade inflammation in your uterus and that the presence of a foreign object makes your uterus hostile to a fetus?! Kind of crazy)

      From there I went back on NUVA ring for a while but then I was traveling a lot and needed something I didn’t need to refrigerate or replace every 3 weeks so I did the arm implant (nexplanon). It lasts 3 years. I bled for like a month straight when I first went on it but then back to normal and pretty much good (well as good as BC ever can be) for the 3 years – regular cycle, etc.

      My husband and I have never planned on kids so as my 3 years were coming to an end he took it upon himself to get a vasectomy. It was incredibly easy, not very painful and he was good to go 3 days later. I had my arm implant removed early April, so it’s been about 4 months now. My cycle is back to normal. I remember reading something that said that a lot of women say going off BC is worse (and the person everyone is recommending you read – Dr Jolene Brighten, has coined the term post BC syndrome I think) but that really, after the yucky months, it’s actually just that you’re back to YOUR normal which…yeah…might not be great. After all, you may have gone on BC bc of painful periods, PMS symptoms, or acne. So when you get back to that normal, it’s not that anything is wrong with you per se…it’s that you kinda forgot that your “normal” is not the same thing as feeling fantastic all the time, if that makes sense.

      I agree with the commenters who said that a return to normal has also meant more ups and downs emotionally and with strength, etc. I’ve done some research on training for your cycle and there are better times of month to lift heavy, try for PRs, Progressively Overload, etc (if I remember right it’s week 1-2 of your cycle; then as hormone levels fall closer to your cycle you feel weaker the second half of cycle in week 3-4). Despite these ups and downs, and a return to my regular, sorta long cycle with pretty painful cramps, I still prefer this to being on BC and having “better” periods – I just feel more in tune with my body.

      Another kinda crazy thing – I was listening to Mind Pump’s podcast interview with Dr Jolene Brighten and she mentioned some crazy stuff that (can) happen to our bodies while on BC and one of them I actually have!! (If you’re curious, it’s a benign liver tumor ?…benign so “fine” but WTF?! I definitely probably would have considered other BC methods instead of hormonal BC if I’d known that this and other issues could happen! Ridiculous!) Here’s that podcast link if you’re interested! Sometimes I like to listen more than read!

      https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mind-pump-raw-fitness-truth/id954100822?i=1000440404362

  40. What do you plan on using for birth control? I have never used anything except for condoms but was thinking of getting an IUD but am worried about side effects.

    1. I’m curious about this too. I’d love to go off the pill because it scares me how long I’ve been on it but not interested in getting pregnant and not a fan of condoms. So is there a non-hormonal birth control out there?

      1. There is only one non hormonal birth control out there. It’s an IUD called Paraguard and lasts up to 10 years. I just love that I don’t have to stress about getting pregnant and also don’t have to put hormones in my body. But IUD’s aren’t for everyone. But, you can always track your menstrual cycle to avoid getting pregnant.

      2. I have heard about Paraguard from my sister (she works in an obgyn office) and she told me the doctors in her office wont put it in for someone who hasn’t given birth. I think it has to do with the size (it is pretty large). She did say she doesn’t see women having complications with it. Mirena is the one that women are ALWAYS having problems with. Just going by what my sister sees at her office. I would love to find a doctor who would put a Paraguard in me though for peace of mind since condoms aren’t 100% affective either.

  41. If you find a way to get your sex drive back to 100% normal please let me know. I’ve been struggling with this for years. I went off birth control and saw little to no change. I was off of it for about a year. So now I am trying a different birth control. I talked to my Dr. about it and they didn’t see to be a lot of help so I am kind of at a loss.

  42. I got off birth control about 2 years ago and it was the best decision! I feel so much better! As for ‘birth control,’ my husband I use the Fertility Awareness Method. It’s tracking your basal body temperature daily so you know when ovulation is occurring each month….And knowing when he needs to keep his hands off of me each month…or use protection…haha!

    I like the app called Kindara to keep track of all of it! It’s fabulous!

  43. When I first got off BC 10 years ago, I lost my period for 5 straight years…that was a wild time, lots of Dr. appointments. In the end, it was contributed to inadequate vitamins and minerals, particularly iron. My body had zero ability to absorb nutrients – and I was following the paleo diet, so eating lots of iron rich foods. I began taking Gaia Liquid Iron from Thrive Market and it literally changed my life and eventually I got my period back. *I was also told to eat more to gain weight. I think drastic weight and fat loss happens at first to a lot of people when they start eating paleo, probably because they don’t eat/make alternative recipes like the ones you create!

    I don’t want to get pregnant, maybe never, so until my husband gets a vasectomy, I choose to be 100% safe and use the Copper IUD. I’m with Maggie on this one, I have the sex drive of a 19 year old boy as well…great analogy. lol. While the Copper IUD is hormone free, my natural hormones (like Maggie) can be wild sometimes. During certain times of my cycle I get depressed, unmotivated, extremely hungry, etc. I acknowledge, however, that it’s my hormones and that it will pass, so it doesn’t upset me. The bad – I get cramps throughout the month, I literally can feel myself ovulating…at least I think that’s what is it. I also have dramatic cramps during my period, my boobs nearly double in size, and it lasts like 7 days. I have heard that these symptoms can be attributed to the Copper IUD, but it’s been 5 years and I still have it in me 😉

  44. Hi Juli, thanks for sharing. I would love to get of BC so I find this very helpful. Since you don’t plan on having kids (same as me) what are you thinking you will do so that a pregnancy doesn’t happen? Thanks in advance.

  45. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I was on birth control for a very long time and finally got off a few years ago. I still don’t have my period back and my libido is much lower than normal (sometimes non-existent). I’ve been working with a naturopath and she helped me understand that a low libido is your body’s way of not letting you get pregnant if you adrenals can’t handle a pregnancy. That made total sense to me since I have had some adrenal problems in the last few years and synthetic hormones are definitely hard on your adrenals, along with the stressors of every day life. I’m so glad to hear that I’m not the only one going through these issues because like you said, it often feels like I’m the odd one out.

  46. When I was much younger (now 51) I had the same issues and went off BC and things dramatically improved! Check out NFP (Natural Family Planning). A woman’s body can only get pregnant about 3-5 days out of any month. Your body gives you plenty of signs from temperature and fluids and today there are many apps that can help you track. Keeping your husband involved in the process also increases the emotional intimacy between both of you and increases the level of respect for the power that you both have in getting pregnant or avoiding it. There have been studies to show that couples who practice NFP (religious and non-religious) have something crazy like a 1% divorce rate as opposed to those that use contraception options. I wish I had learned more about it when I was much younger! Today women mistakenly believe that they can get pregnant nearly all month long! Why flood your system with artificial hormones for a month for only 3-5 days of potential?!

  47. Thank you so much for this. My last Depo injection was in January. I was so ready. I was dry as the Sahara and completely uninterested in love making most of the time. About a month later, I went off on my husband like a crazy person. But I also kinda wanted to make it up to him if you get my drift. My period just came back last month and my interest also really came back too. I had no idea all the vitamins depleted over the 25 years I was on birth control but I know I’ve been diagnosed at different times with a magnesium and b vitamin deficiency. You will never know how many women this post will touch. But from one of them, thank you!

  48. Ugh, I went off BC to the copper IUD and I have .1% sex drive, but I also have other issues at play. No sex drive stinks! However this is great info and I’m totally storing it for any girl friends who bring it up in the future!

  49. Thank you for sharing!! I’ve been wanting to get off birth control myself but I’ve been hesitant because of the transition. Please continue to share how things are going. All of this information has been very helpful so I can be better prepared when I do.

  50. Went completely off birth control over a year ago. It was actually my then boyfriend now legal stud muffin that recommended it. Bold move cotton on his part. But, I was having a hard time recovering from workouts, my mood swings were everywhere no thanks to the BC and my thyroid being out of whack. It took like 4 month to level off after being on BC for 14yrs. I think the only thing I supplemented with was iron, and fuck those pills. I had to take it in liquid form, and the difference was night and day. It was awesome! Now I’m knocked up tho (by choice) and my hormones are all fucked up. So there’s that. But I used the “flow” app to track my period to make sure if we were going to get busy and not trying to get knocked up we would work around those ovulation days.. and awkward as it may be RUN to the bathroom immediately. Super romantic, I know.

  51. I just went though the SAME thing got off BC in October been on it 20 years and my body decided to go cray cray!
    I actually work for an acupuncturist/chiropractor/naturopathic doc and she’s helped me TONS with similar vitamins and sups. Ascent health center Dr Julie Marchiol if your needing any extra help! ?

  52. Juli- thank you thank you thank you for making me not feel alone!!! I just went off for the same reasons you mentioned, unfortunately for me its been 4 months and no period here 🙁 but hopefully that changes. I found the prenatal vitamins from Pink Stork (on amazon) have the same vitamins and minerals that you mentioned above but are all in one pill.

    Please do an IG Live on this topic- i think so many of us would find it helpful!

  53. Thanks for sharing Juli – you are the best. Its been over 20 years since I have been on birth control so don’t really remember the effects but am currently struggling through menopause at this point in my life. The lack of sex drive made me seek out a naturopath and started some DHEA and a few other things that definitely helped with my energy and sex drive. I still have times where it is not as strong as I want it to be but it still comes back around. Good luck and keep doing you cause we love you!!

  54. Me too! On birth control for over 15 years then finally quit 3 months ago because of non-existent (NULL! Squat! Zero!) libido. It was definitely doing a number on my relationship. Thankfully I’ve had very few negative symptoms from coming off (though maybe it’s too early to tell), and my period is normal. Libido has improved….marginally? But not by much! Keeping hope that it’ll continue to improve over the next few months. I’m using the app CLUE to track symptoms and my cycle, which has been a fun exercise! I’m also strategically using the “pull out and pray” method 😀 along with tracking my cycle (and fluid) on CLUE.

  55. This is all good to know for whenever I go off of it. But for right now, the past 5 years I’ve been on it have been the happiest, most pain and discomfort-free I have ever been during my 30 reproductive years! Can’t imagine going back to my million symptoms that debilitated me.

  56. Oh, do I feel this post! I had little sex drive, fatigue, and straight up depression from the Skyla IUD I had in last year. My GYN insisted it had nothing to do with the hormones, but guess what? Once I got it out, I felt so much better.

    I will say, post hormonal birth control was rough. Apparently it takes 3 months to fully purge those fake hormones from your system? Something like that. And then was when I really struggled. My face broke out horribly, my periods were nonexistent, and I got really painful bacne. All that said, I have been off birth control for 7 months, and I’m now finally feeling like myself again. Periods are regular, libido is back in full swing (woohoo), and my acne totally cleared up.

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel! I will never go back on hormonal birth control. My moods and overall health are so much better without it.

    I love Dr. Jolene Brighten’s work and also reocmmend Dr. Laura Briden’s work too!

  57. Hi Julie! Love your stuff. Something else to consider that might be leading to some of the things you are experiencing including loss of sex drive (and I’m sorry if this seems weird or inappropriate but I am speaking from experience) is breast implant illness (BII). I’ve been struggling with many symptoms since getting my implants a few years ago including loss of sex drive, racing heart beat, nerve pains, joint aches, dizziness, brain fog, etc.. The list goes on. There is a FB group of over 87K women with implants experiencing similar symptoms which I randomly found and has helped me figure out what’s been going on with my body. I’m 32 which is way to young to feel how I have been! Just wanted to throw it out there as I think I remember you mentioning you have implants. Sorry if not! IMO It only makes sense that the body could have a reaction when we put something foreign (and chemical-laden) in it. You can search “Breast Implant Illness and Healing by Nicole” group on FB to find the group. (Note: Some of the women in the group are very dramatic and extreme but not the case for all). If nothing else might be something you can research and give your two cents on. Would love to hear! Thanks, Juli.

  58. Hey lady, this post really resonated with me. Went off my bc after 10 years and I cannot how good I feel. My sex drive is back in full drive, I almost forgot what this feels like. It feels great to be able to feel that part of myself again.

  59. Wow, I am in a very similar situation you are/were in and always questioned if my birth control had anything to do with how I was feeling. My one question is do you notice any changes to your acne as you went off the pill? I had acne prior to going on birth control and am afraid it will come back if I stop taking it.

  60. I have been off BC for almost a year. I’m 36 and I got on the pill when I was 19 to help with acne and regulate my period. I decided to try to shot when I was 27 and I gained so much weight but because I wasn’t getting my period I was totally fine with that. Eventually I was tired of being so plumpy and I talked to my doctor about going back on the pill. My husband and I were both in the army so we didn’t see each other much for a few years so my sex drive was never in question. Now that I’m out of the army and I have nothing better to do, I have a sex drive but the fear of getting pregnant is enough of a deterrent to tell my husband to stay away from me.

    I use a generic tracker that tells me when my period is coming and when I’m in my fertile window and ovulating and such so I definitely abstain during that time. When I first got off, my period made me so ill and I would have awful migraines, horrible cramps and my flow was so heavy. I use a cup and my cup was running over. I was miserable.

    I changed my diet significantly during that time and mostly use Redmond’s Real salt and Trace Minerals in my water for electrolytes and I take Paleo Valley’s organ meat complex. My period has finally started to chill, it’s only about 4 days or less, very little pain or discomfort and a regular flow. Totally worth it!!

  61. Hey Julie! Great post at usual!!! I went on birth control 10 years ago for a total of 8 months. It gave me two periods a month and then I ended up bleeding out for almost two weeks. It resulted in my hemoglobin levels dropping to the number equivalent to someone losing SIX PINTS of blood. The doctors didn’t even know how I was conscious (although I did pass out three times in the ER when I took myself in for erratic heartbeats). Totally terrifying. They wanted to try another pill, but I refused. I really believe it’s so unhealthy for our bodies and doctors should be more forthcoming with all the side effects with their patients (short and long term). So glad you’re doing better day by day! Loved the info about the minerals and vitamins-I’ll be picking up some selenium soon!

  62. I changed my BC pills every year because of low labido! Felt terrible for my husband. I didn’t have the choice to just get off of it because of endometriosis. So I had a partial hysterectomy, left the ovaries. That conversation went over real well with my OB because we didn’t have children, nor did I want to have kids, and I was 34. Best decision of my life!!!

    I wish you luck!!

  63. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. I was on Hormonal Birth Control for 10 years. It was instrumental in helping my acne and endometriosis, however I too lost any and all sexual desire. I thought I was going insane. I have now been off for 4 months and I finally am feeling what I believe to be normal. It’s absolutely crazy to see everything that BC can affect. Thank you for being so open and helping us to not feel so alone. you’re the best!!

  64. Thank you for this post. Seriously. I went thru the exact same issues on birth control to the point where that was the root cause of several failed relationships. It’s hard to ya know develop and maintain a healthy relationship when you have zero sex drive and want nothing to do with the person. I decided to get off of my birth control in January 2018 just to see what I was actually like after being on it for 15+ years. Getting off of it was ROUGH. I have the worst hormonal acne now that I’ve ever had in my life and I did two rounds of Accutane when I was a teenager. Other than the acne though everything else finally balanced out and returned to normal. I switched to an IUD in July 2018 and although that was so painful to get put in (gross sorry) I no longer have a period so hello bonus! I’m so glad you opened up about this because honestly those 6 months I went thru this last year I felt crazy. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  65. I was in birth control for 15 years as well and I have unfortunately not had a period in 1 whole year… which alone comes with a host of issues. I am trying to get pregnant so I am hoping to regain regular hormone functions.
    Sucks but I’m glad your getting off it as well…
    Thank you for sharing!

  66. Thank you so much for sharing this post and your experiences with birth control! Everybody’s body is so unique, and this type of stuff needs to be discussed more.

    I personally was on the pill ten years ago for a short time (about 6 months) and actually had some crazy things happen to my body. I’m talking crazy mood swings, muscle cramping, tingling and nerve issues in arms and feet, and peeing constantly types of things. I saw multiple doctors for all these issues and none of them could find a “cause. I finally was told by a urologist after things checked out with my bladder (I had ruled out diabetes with the constant peeing since it runs in my family), that it could be my birth control. He suggested that I stop taking it and seeing if my issues cleared up within a year….and they did! I still am not sure if these issues were a trigger in my later discovery of a couple autoimmune conditions, but I do know I will NEVER go on the pill again.

    For anyone wondering, there is a non-hormonal method of tracking your basal temperature every morning with a devise called Daysy. After a few cycles, the thermometer gets to know your cycle and will alert you to your “fertile” days so it can be used for contraceptive purposes and also for baby planning when/if someone is ready later. I believe most insurances should cover it.

  67. Check out the Daysy (sp? Not spelled Daisy) fertility tracker to help with not becoming pregnant. I have never been on BC and never been pregnant or really even had to worry about it. It tells you when you’re fertile (extra precautions needed!) and when you’re not (have at it!)
    *Note: Not a doctor.

  68. Stephanie Smith

    Because of health issues I had in my youth, birth control was never an option for me. It’s going to be a process finding birth control options that work. Spontaneity is going to go out the window, but it’s a small price to pay. I think your sex drive will start to come back with practice, so jump on your man and get to it!

  69. Hello. I was on the pill for ten years and it took 5 years for my body to sort itself out. One thing I firmly believe helped was a probiotic – the pill also has an antibiotic effect on the body and destroys gut bacteria which is key in hormone regulation. I would look into one of these as well

  70. I was on BC pill for over 20 years until I became to old to take it.. I didn’t realize how it changed by body until I went off it, the only way I can describe it is that it held my body in a stasis it shouldn’t have been in. I didn’t have many of the symptoms others described, but after a year I noticed I felt more natural and balanced. My sex drive is more naturally cyclical and not repressed. My husband got a vasectomy which was not a big deal. Because I’m in my late 40s I use a period app to track my cycle and symptoms so I can report to my OBGYN and monitor possible issues.

  71. I had the same experience and this weird pain in my side for 6years? No Dr could figure it out. I tried different pills, but if there was a side effect I’d get it. Went off when I was 28 (husband had the snip-we do not want “failed birth control” walking around?) Took my body 2years to get back to normal. Vit D supplement helped me with the tender breasts & cramps. A good probiotic for all the GI issues. I was/still am so angry that Dr’s do not tell you everything

  72. Hi Juli,

    I got off the pill a year and a half ago and it was the best decision I’ve made. The pill gave me anxiety, crazy mood swings (I would randomly cry over a song on the radio), lack of libido, zero energy and relied on caffeine to get through the day, the WORST digestion and was having problems losing weight and gaining muscle. When I quit I wish I knew about supplements because my first 3 cycles were so terrible! I gained about 10 lbs as well. Also with quitting I uncovered some hormonal issues and was finally diagnosed with a suspected hypothyroid problem I’ve been having for years. Currently, I’m finally getting treated for my thyroid, feeling so much better in the gym, my periods are getting better and i have so much more energy (except during ovulation and PMS week but this is normal!).

    If you are thinking about practicing FAM for your birth control I can tell you I’ve successfully used it and haven’t gotten pregnant. Taking charge of your fertility is a great book. I use Tempdrop which is an arm band that you wear at night to take my temperature and track my other signs in an app. You can only get pregnant one day a month and need to be careful 5ish days leading up to it (pullout method works for us during this time). I wish our doctors would have explained this to us before we started ruining our hormones. Good luck and take care!!

  73. Another issue with birth control that is nearly never spoken of is blood clots. I was on birth control for 25 years which resulted in multiple blood clots and nearly losing my life. I’m great now, been off of all hormones for 3 years and feel better than ever. Let’s keep talking about women’s health and discussing the uncomfortable topics. We’re worth it, ladies.

  74. I was on it for 16 years; I wish doctors shared more info on the side effects. When I learned of them and how they were impacting me, I went off five years ago and am still trying to get my period back consistently 🙁

    Dr Brighten’s course was super helpful. Also taking a lot of thyroid support, vitamin D and probiotics. Working with a functional Med and Chinese Med Doctors too.

    Good luck!!

  75. Hey Juli! So happy you are talking about this today. I’d been thinking of transitioning off my birth control this year. I’ve been struggling with a low sex drive (which sucks because my husband is a hottie haha) and was just ready to get off. I actually ended up quitting it last week. My pharmacy had changed the brand of birth control it was giving me and this new kind (previfim) totally messed me up. I’d had the brand changed on me in the past a handful of times, but they always worked the same. I started the new pill towards the end of June and became super irritable, got canker sores, and have had breakthrough bleeding since (so almost 5 weeks). About a week ago I decided to just quit it because my doctor was telling me to give it 3 months and I can’t be seen there until mid-Sept. Like I mentioned I was already thinking of getting off and my nutrition coach recommended the following books to me: The Period Repair Manual, Beyond The Pill, and Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I’ve been reading them and they all have been really enlightening and educational for sure! I started supplementing zinc, magnesium, and Bvitamins too, but will look into adding vitamin c and selenium too! Please keep updating us on your journey! I think this is a topic that more of us are getting interested in and starting our journeys of transitioning off bc.

  76. This is amazing – thanks so much for sharing. I had the EXACT same experience after going off of birth control for the exact same reasons, plus the increased risk of breast cancer associated with hormonal birth control. Dr. Jolene Brighten is a goddess & I love every word that comes out of her mouth – especially the info she shares about food as medicine. Her books is excellent – I listened to the Audible version. Her supplements are amazing & have improved my health & life in amazing ways! Before I made this choice, I had no idea that birth control pills were so hard on my body & health. I didn’t know a single person who was willing to discuss this so thank you! I’m honored to be on this journey with you!!

  77. I went off the pill almost two years ago. No issues coming off of it until about a year after when my cystic acne flared up again with a vengeance. I feel more depressed off of it than I was on it. I hate how everyone hates on the BC pill. It has only done good things for me! Please keep us updated on how your acne progresses off the pill!

  78. I was on BC for about as long as you were. I’m so glad I got off it about 5yrs ago!
    Supplement that helped a little with libido and made orgasms WAY better: Longjack (or Tongkat Ali), but the REAL MVP for getting my libido back has been fatty red meat!! Carnivore is an absolute game-changer, but if that’s too intense, just increasing your consumption of fatty red meat should help your libido.

  79. I stopped birth control in April 2018 after taking it for TWENTY YEARS! It was definitely a rough transition. This post is so interesting because I literally JUST read in a book about how BC messes with your body! I had no idea! I’ve been recently dealing with hypothyroidism and now wondering if stopping BC sort of unmasked all the crap my body was dealing with. I’m thankful for it though because now I can address the real issues and heal my body!

  80. This post couldn’t be more perfectly timed for me. I just stopped taking my pills last week, after about 13 years, so I haven’t really noticed any changes yet. But I am going to look into the vitamins you mentioned right now to get on top of the changes! Thank you for being so real and honest, even with the more personal topics. I have truly enjoyed following you.

  81. I think everyone has different reactions to different birth controls- I experienced similar symptoms using the nuvaring and decided to switch to the Kyla IUD. I’ve had no issues with sex drive on the IUD and it’s been nice to not even think about birth control for the past couple of years!! I definitely recommend trying something else if you aren’t trying to get pregnant. The hormones released by the IUD are localized and shouldn’t affect your body as much as the pill.

  82. Thank you for sharing this! What method are you going to start using? I have been off for over a year now and my sex drive increased so mcuh! But I am so scared of getting pregnant, I hold back with my spouse. I’m using a p. tracker app, but still so unsure. Let’s be honest, using condoms with your spouse is not ideal. I would really love to hear what you will be doing instead.

  83. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I’m on the fence about getting off of BC, but TERRIFIED of getting pregnant. My husband and I are stable and happy, but get out of here with that kid talk. Are you worried about that at all?

  84. What do you for birth control now? Or any suggestions besides condoms/vasectomy, something I can do? Not surgery, my insurance doesn’t cover any type of birth control.
    I was on BC for 11 years straight then off/on a few more years. I have not been on hormonal BC for the past 9 years. My body works like a charm now and I will never take that stuff again.

  85. Hi Juli! I went thru the same as you. I went off the pill June 2017. I recommend you to read Women Code by Alisa Viti. It is great! Hormones are everything and we do not pay all the attention we should. Thank you for sharing your history. I was kind of lost when I did it was the best decision I could ever made. Even though my friends thinks I am crazy lol.

  86. I’ve never been on birth control. Now that I’m in a committed relationship, i decided to get on the non-hormonal IUD cause I was scared to put hormones into my body. However, I have realized I suffer from PMDD (a really severe for of PMS) and the most effective medication for that is the YAZ pill. I’ve been taking it for about a year now and it definitely helps my PMDD. (It also took me a while to figure out which generic brand was best for me—happens to be the Nikki pill. Which not all pharmacies carry and your doctor can put that you need this specific brand) I’m wondering if I should be taking supplements/vitamins to make up for whatever the pill is taking from me. Something I guess I’ll start researching!

  87. What a great transition you are making! If you haven’t already there’s a fantastic book you may want to check out, Beyond The Pill, by Dr. Jolene Brighton. She gives you all the info you need after getting off the pill and it’s a super easy and interesting read.

  88. So glad this topic is getting attention! Thank you for your post and letting us know about your journey! I’ve been off the depo shot for 11 months, after being on it for 10 yrs. I noticed an immediate response in body body to the vitamins, which I had to find out from personal research (my gyno will still not acknowledge I was depleted!). As far as sex drive and birth control goes, I read Taking Charge of your Fertility to learn the fertility awareness method. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you do! Your body goes through all these subtle changes over the month, and you can feel them in the methods described. But on birth control, my body was basically locked in the same position for eternity, which was detrimental to my sex life. So glad to get this part of myself back! I wish you luck on your journey. Next topic, food for fertility and hormone balance! Thanks again!

  89. i just recently started birth control pills (i had the nexplanon implant in my arm but it put me into a cycle of NONSTOP spotting/bleeding, so i had it removed). IUD’s are not an option for me because i apparently have the smallest cervical opening known to man (my gyno couldn’t even get the tool inserted after giving me pills to soften my cervix). the patch makes me nervous, the ring makes me nervous, i don’t know anyone that has good things to say about the shot… leaving me with hardly any options for BC. i am not convinced that i NEVER want to have a baby, but i definitely don’t want one now. did you happen to switch to a different form of BC?

  90. Stephanie Katz

    Get the book the Period Repair Manual by Dr. Lara Briden and Beyond the Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighten. Both women are amazing functional medicine docs who focus on women’s hormones. Both books are loaded with great information. Hope you continue to feel good and get your groove back!!!

  91. Thank you for sharing this. I recently took myself off of birth control, and it’s made a difference in many ways. I can actually feel more emotion. I feel sexier, more female. A strong one at that. And my sex has never been better. Granted, I’m experiencing the loss of periods and that is frustrating and a little scary, but I’m working on supplementation just like you’ve mentioned. Your vulnerability is so needed in a world where women are encouraged to actually suppress their bodies.

  92. I was on birth control from 18-23 and the reason I went off of it was because it was making my blood sugar drop. It started off happening once a month around the time I would get my period, I would wake up shaky/low sugar and then gradually it increased to happening multiple times a month, I felt like a diabetic and felt like crap. Since it was the only prescription I was taking I decided to look at the side effects and… Ta da! Drop in blood sugar was a side effect! So I immediately went off of it, suffered through almost 2 weeks of withdrawals but it was the best decision ever. Luckily I’ve been with my husband since we were 22, 34 now, so we just use contraceptive films and condoms without any problems. Good luck to you!

  93. Juli, please contact me, I may be able to help! This is not a spam message lol. I’ve used fertility awareness methods with great success for over ten years. The beauty is you learn to work with your body to get it in optimum health instead of halting a healthy bodily function. Imagine if we did the same to our respiratory system that we do to our reproductive system?? No one would go for it!

    As you’ve experienced, hormones aren’t limited to sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone), but also include insulin-and progesterone does affect digestion as well as skin issues. This idea that women only have a high sex drive around ovulation is a symptom of unbalanced hormones, not something any woman should have to put up with. Realistically, healthy women are built very similar to men and are ready to go any time!

    Contact me through my site: My.doterra.com/JoyKubik1

    I’ve been researching how essential oils can correct these problems without having to use even bio-identical hormones.

  94. The same thing happened to me. I had been on birth control for about 10 years and all of a sudden my sex drive vanished. I went off and have been birth control free for about a year and it’s so much better! My sex drive is back, I feel better, I don’t have crazy cravings every month. I wish I had gone off of it sooner.

    Not sure if you drink raspberry leaf tea but once I started drinking that once a day my cramps have become so much better. I definitely recommend!! Thanks for sharing your journey!

  95. Oh also meant to share one more resource – I’m currently reading a great book called “Come as you are: the surprising new science that will change your sex life” by Emily Nagoski and there’s a lot of great research on sex drive across different phases of female development in it! Also touches on other things that impact our sex drive and a lot of them are simple contextual things that seem so obvious when you read (or listen, the audio book is great!) but wouldn’t have thought of on your own – sort of the psychology / mindset of figuring out your sex drive , so if that sounds appealing to you I’d definitely recommend checking that book out!!

    https://www.amazon.com/Come-You-Are-Surprising-Transform-ebook/dp/B00LD1ORBI

  96. Thanks for sharing this! I feel very strongly about this topic; it doesn’t make sense for women to subject themselves to HBC and all the terrible effects when they are only fertile a couple days of the month! I went off HBC two years ago, and it took me 1.5 years to get my period back. My sex drive is much better now, it just took time coming back! I’m trying the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), but I’m still struggling to figure out when ovulation happens so we end up using condoms most of the time. Would be awesome if the hubby got a vasectomy, but he’s not 100% decided on not having children.

  97. Thank you sooo much for sharing! I was on birth control for several years and didn’t know about any physiological effects until maybe a year ago. Birth control didn’t start affecting me until several years after I started taking it and it completely changed my personality. I suffered from depression, anxiety, just didn’t feel like myself at all. The podcast “Fertility Friday” & Lisa Hendrickson-Jackson’s work was a GAME CHANGER for me. I learned so much about how BC affects us internally (even if it doesn’t manifest externally) and how to better understand my cycle. Thank you again for sharing – more people need to be having conversations about this!!

  98. I learned especially with monster level cramps evening prim rose helps to tame them back down. It doesn’t make them stop but it does help to keep the “fall to your knees, doubled over in agony” at bay. Another trick I learned to just eliminate the cramps, is to take naproxen sodium (aka Aleve) right at the start of your period. You’re suppose to take it throughout your period to prevent them but since my cramps are only at the beginning I only take naproxen sodium through the rough part of my cycle and lay off. I know over the counter pain killers can do a number on the stomach but everyone feel like dog shit when their in pain. Naproxen Sodium is also the only pain killer that I found that doesn’t increase your flow which is a big positive for me.

  99. I just can’t with the misinformation. Are you a doctor? No- but you have a massive following. The research that suggests birth control is linked to libido is behind and there is no correlation. I hate that you’re spreading this in an age where birth control is attached and many women lack basic health care and need access to birth control so badly. You are abusing your power with this blog and it sucks. Please, everyone, talk to your health care provider if you need adjustments to your bc. Do the research and trust your Gynecologists. We fought long and hard for birth control and the STRUGGLE continues as lawmakers try to take our basic rights away.

    1. Ally, I’m not attacking birth control. I’m sharing my personal experience because others have done the same for me and it’s been incredibly helpful. no doctor has ever shared information about supplementation to help with what birth control depletes in the body. i personally chose to get off birth control and look to other preventative steps to prevent pregnancy. no where in this post did i tell others to get off birth control. i know i’m not a doctor and i state that in this post and tell others to talk with a medical professional. if you are looking for doctor advice, dr. jolene brighten has been incredibly helpful for me and other people out there – https://drbrighten.com/

  100. I just wanted to say thank you for being willing to share your personal experience around a sensitive issue. I decided 2 decades ago to use a copper iud because the hormones in BC caused depression. It has been a good choice for me. It gives my husband and I freedom in knowing we won’t have an unexpected pregnancy.

    You may want to see a functional medicine doctor and have your vitamins and minerals tested along with your DHEA. You can find these doctors on the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Website.

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