5 tips to regain your period after contraceptive use
Has using birth control made you miss your period? Recover it naturally with these tips that you can start to do without having to visit the doctor or buy medicines.
1. Optimizing your nutritional status
Nutrition should always be the number one focus in any of your health improvement plans. Menstruation is often a sign of underlying nutrient deficiencies. Even if you are eating whole foods, Paleo diet, there are many nutrients that can be inadequate if you are not making a concerted effort to include specific foods and / or supplements.
There has been evidence accumulating over the years that certain nutrients can be depleted while a woman is taking an oral contraceptive. While there are likely dozens of nutrients that are important to regain fertility and your monthly cycle, there are a few in particular that are extremely effective in helping you regain your menstrual cycle.
Zinc is a critical nutrient to consider, and many nutritionists recommend increasing zinc intake for women struggling with loss of menstruation after using the pill . There is evidence showing that women taking oral contraceptives have lower levels of zinc in plasma, so they may have an increased need for this important mineral for fertility.
Zinc can sometimes be difficult to replenish without short-term therapeutic supplementation, even in the context of a whole food diet. If you are willing to eat a lot of shellfish (eg, oysters and clams), red meat, pumpkin seeds, and poultry, you may be able to avoid zinc supplementation in this case.
Generally, 15 to 30 mg of zinc per day is recommended for someone with post-contraceptive pill syndrome. (If you take a supplement, be sure to take it with a meal, otherwise you may have sudden, severe nausea.)
Magnesium to recover the period
Magnesium is another beneficial mineral for women with post-birth control syndrome . It is especially important for those women who take contraceptives (or who stop contraception) to supplement with magnesium.
It is difficult to get enough magnesium in our modern diets, and some evidence shows that serum magnesium levels decrease with the use of oral contraceptives.
If you have a history of contraceptive use, it is recommended to use a chelated form of magnesium and take 200-400 mg daily to supplement what you get from food.
Lastly, vitamin B6 is another nutrient that is not talked about often, but which can be very helpful in restoring menstrual function in women with post-contraceptive syndrome.
A 2011 study ( 1 ) found that those using oral contraceptives had lower plasma concentrations of vitamin B6, and a type of amenorrhea caused by high prolactin levels could be treated with B6 supplements, suggesting that B6 supplements may be beneficial in post-contraceptive pill syndrome.
Vitamin B6 is found in a variety of foods and is generally safe to take as a supplement in doses less than 100 mg per day.
One nutrient that tends to be quite low in many of the diets of young women is vitamin A. You can get a lot of vitamin A by eating 4 to 8 ounces of beef or lamb liver a week. Another important nutrient is vitamin D, which generally comes from adequate sun exposure, but can be helpful as a supplement for those with blood levels below 30 ng / ml.
There are many nutrients that can be adversely affected by long-term use of birth control , and each person’s needs are unique.
If you are struggling with post-birth control syndrome and are unsure whether your nutrition has been optimized for your recovery, work with an experienced nutritionist who can help you evaluate your diet for potential nutrient gaps.
2. Optimize your circadian rhythms
In our modern world of late-night television, attachment to our cell phones, 24-hour artificial light, and inadequate sleep hours, our circadian rhythms have taken a heavy hit.
Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a cycle of approximately 24 hours, responding primarily to light and dark in an organism’s environment.
Women who fly across various time zones experience circadian rhythm disruption as “jet lag,” but even less dramatic changes in their circadian rhythms can cause significant health problems, such as infertility and amenorrhea.
Your circadian rhythms affect all endocrine hormone secretions, including melatonin, cortisol, thyroid-stimulating hormone, growth hormone, prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), insulin, leptin, and more ( 2 ).
While we don’t know how all of these hormones can contribute to healthy menstruation, we do know that prolactin, FSH, and LH are the key hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle along with estrogen and progesterone.
Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to assume that if these hormones are not released at the right time, the reproductive system will not receive the proper signals that are needed to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Circadian Rhythm Disruption Could Influence Women’s Hormonal Health
And some research shows that disruption of the circadian rhythm by jet lag and shift work can wreak havoc on women’s reproductive function. ( 3 )
There are dozens of factors that affect circadian rhythms. The two most important: exposure to light and sleep. Proper exposure to light includes getting adequate sunlight during the day and adequate removal of bright light at night.
The biggest influence is the light that hits your eyes, so it is strongly suggested that you make an effort to go outside, or at least sit by a window, during most hours of the day. On the other hand, you should also make sure not to expose yourself to blue light once the sun has set.
There are ways to tackle this problem even if you can’t go outside during the day or turn off all the lights when the sun goes down. The first is to get a light therapy lamp that can help provide the correct spectrum of daylight during the day, which you can install on your work desk.
The second is to block blue light at night. You can also use orange light bulbs as a night lighting option.
And of course, it goes without saying that you should prioritize your sleep, going to bed early enough to get a full 8 hours of sleep each night.
3. Get enough carbohydrates and calories for your activity levels
This is one of the most difficult recommendations, as those with post-conception syndrome are often trying to lose weight as well. And most of the time, your weight loss attempt includes reducing your food intake and carbohydrates.
While this strategy can help with short-term weight loss, it is definitely not conducive to your hormonal health to significantly limit your food intake in this way.
Eating few carbohydrates and training a lot causes loss of menstruation
It is a well-known phenomenon in the medical world, called the Female Athlete Triad, in which women who eat little and train too much lose their menstrual function and are even at risk of osteoporosis.
Those women who switch to a low carb diet get caught up in an overly restrictive, low carb approach that does not support healthy endocrine function through various effects on the HPA axis and thyroid hormone conversion.
Women suffering from post-contraceptive pill syndrome should also be cautious about how restrictive their diet is and ensure that they are getting enough calories and carbohydrates to maintain their activity levels.
Get your period back with enough carbohydrates and appropriate calories
At least 30-40% of calories from carbohydrates are recommended for women who do not have their periods and an appropriate calorie range for their body size and activity levels. Trying to lose weight quickly while dealing with amenorrhea is rarely a good combination.
And the other side of this problem is avoiding overtraining. This combination of overtraining and undernourishment is known as the female athlete triad and is well known as a cause of amenorrhea.
Overtraining means different things to different people; what might be a normal training program for an elite athlete can cause exhaustion and hormonal disruption in a non-athlete. If you are dealing with amenorrhea, you need to take your training regimen seriously and make sure you don’t overdo it.
4. Manage your stress to get your period back
Stress is generally unavoidable in our modern life, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it disrupt your life and undo your hormonal regulation.
Chronic stress causes a dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is also known as adrenal fatigue. Unfortunately, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are also key regulators of the menstrual cycle.
Therefore, chronic stress can easily cause irregular menstrual cycle activity and can even lead to a condition known as hypothalamic amenorrhea. This is very similar to what happens in the case of the Female Athlete Triad, and is generally caused by chronic physical and / or emotional stress that is unfortunately common among young women.
For those women trying to overcome post-contraceptive pill syndrome (or any type of amenorrhea), managing stress is very important. This includes the recommendation above regarding eating enough and avoiding overtraining, but it also addresses managing daily stresses from work, relationships, financial problems, and more.
5. Increase your detoxification capacity
Having a strong ability to detoxify is crucial to recovering from post birth control syndrome, as one of the main problems with taking oral contraceptives for a long period is hormonal build-up.
Your body stores hormones like estrogen in fat cells, and these stored hormones can linger for months or years after you stop taking the pill.
Your liver is responsible for eliminating these hormones through the bile, and if you are not detoxifying well enough, your liver is ineffective at eliminating this excess hormones.
There are many ways to increase detoxification ability. We invite you to read our article Smoothie to detoxify excess estrogen in the liver .
And, you may not know it but, your intestinal flora can even help you detoxify excess hormones. Therefore, taking a high-quality probiotic and eating fermented foods, especially fermented cruciferous vegetables like sauerkraut, is an important part of getting your period back after using birth control pills.
What to do if you have not yet recovered your period
Sometimes this is not enough of all of the above to return to hormonal normality, especially if you have been taking birth control for many years, or if you started using birth control as a method to address hormonal problems in the first place.
In this case, you may need to run some additional tests to identify any problems that may be causing your amenorrhea. PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a very common condition that can significantly alter your hormonal function, so you will want to discuss this possibility with your endocrinologist.
And, of course, working with a knowledgeable nutritionist can help you identify the missing pieces in your recovery plan to ensure that you are doing everything you can to regain your hormonal health and menstrual function.