I apologize to everyone who will start reading this post and realize it’s TMI and then feel the urge to close their browser tab.
It most certainly falls into the terrain of TMI, so avert your eyes if you wish.
But I do urge you to keep reading, because this is important.
For those of you who are currently on birth control (or who have recently gone off birth control), this post is for you.
Even if you’re not looking to have kids yet, you need to hear this.
I hesitated to write this post for a long time. Because I didn’t want to weird any of you out.
But I’ve changed my mind. Because more people need to know about this issue I am having. Because I’m not the only one having it. If you aren’t dealing with it, odds are your sister/friend/cousin is (or will soon be).
That’s because you (and/or many of the women in your life) are taking oral contraceptives with intent to stop taking them someday and have a baby shortly after.
Well, we need to talk.
Well, the truth is this:
We probably won’t have any luck anytime soon.
Because I haven’t gotten my period since I stopped taking birth control.
When did I stop taking birth control?
FIVE MONTHS AGO!
It wasn’t a big deal during the first few months, since Husband was hundreds of miles away at basic training and Officer Candidate School (OCS).
And we didn’t want to have babies during those time periods (procreation was physically impossible, anyway).
But months kept passing, and as his coming-home date drew near, I became increasingly concerned with my clear lack of ovulation.
So, I jumped on my computer and did lots of searches to determine why my period was nonexistent.
And now, I am going to tell you everything I’ve learned about not getting a period after going off birth control.
Because it’s a real thing! And people aren’t talking about it. Because it’s too personal.
Well, not anymore. People NEED to talk about this.
And I’m breaking those boundaries here today. Nothing’s off-limits anymore for the blog. Yeehaw!
I started this blog to HELP people, anyway. And since this post’s lesson is one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned (because it totally impacts my future), I’m sharing it with you.
Let’s start from the beginning.
I first started taking birth control (oral contraceptives) when I was sixteen. Since I celebrated my 26th birthday this past April, basic math tells me that I’ve been taking birth control pills for ten years.
During those ten years, my hormonal oral contraceptives were telling my body to hang on to all its eggs.
Because that’s how oral contraceptives work.
They tell your body to NOT drop eggs.
They also thicken your cervical mucus, which makes it extra hard for any sperm to reach any egg to create any kind of zygote.
Oral contraceptives also alter the lining of the womb to make it inhospitable for any egg-sperm pairing.
All these things are GREAT if you’re looking to have fun without having a baby.
But what if you decide you want to have a baby? Just go off the pill and insta-infant, right?
We’ve been hearing all our lives that taking birth control pills will NOT HINDER our fertility down the road.
Well, I (along with many other women) am standing here telling you that I disagree!
Because I went off the pill five months ago, and I still haven’t seen my period.
And that tells me that things are not golden where my reproductive system is concerned.
And I want to WARN you that you might have the same experience!
And maybe encourage you to take action now, in case you have dreams of going off the pill and instantly getting pregnant. Because those dreams might not be a reality for you. They certainly aren’t for me.
As much as condoms suck, if you think you want to have babies, like, a YEAR from now, you should go off hormonal birth control immediately to allow your system to regulate.
Because, if you’re anything like me, it’s going to take a LONG time for your body to start producing sufficient levels of estrogen on its own again.
The reason your post-pill body sucks at producing its own hormones is because the pill gives you oodles of them – estrogen and progestin, to be specific. And when you’re receiving these synthetic hormones for years and years, your body says, “Sweet, guess my reproductive-hormone-producing job is over!” and you stop producing them on your own. You don’t need to – the pill’s producing them for you. So, when you go off the pill, your body has to SLOWLY and GRADUALLY build its own hormone-producing capabilities back up.
In this way, birth control halted and hindered my natural reproductive processes. I have to wait for those systems to restore themselves before I can procreate.
And who knows when that will happen!
I certainly did NOT expect to have this problem post-pill. I’m sure you (and/or your girlfriend/wife) don’t expect to have it, either!
Of course, it’s 100% possible to start dropping eggs the moment you go off birth control. In fact, it’s possible for you to get pregnant while you’re ON the pill. That’s how a lot of adorable “oopsie” babies happen.
But, apparently, for many women, immediate conception post-pill ISN’T possible.
In birth control’s defense, part of the reason you might have trouble conceiving after you go off the pill could be because birth control might mask some underlying fertility issues you may have.
You know how some people go on the pill to help lessen the intensity of/regulate their periods? Or clear up their acne?
That’s because the pill helps control your hormones. And, in many cases, consequentially lighten your periods and clear up your skin.
But bad skin and irregular periods are evidence of hormonal imbalance, an imbalance which will return once you stop taking the pill.
And hormonal imbalance = greater difficulty conceiving.
You have to have a REALLY happy reproductive system in order to conceive. There are just so many things that can go wrong. There are so many PARTS to the system. All of them have to be working just right for conception and a full-term pregnancy. It’s actually pretty incredible that babies happen at all.
Hormonal imbalances and irregular periods make conception more difficult. Partly because predictability goes out the window. The easier your “egg-dropping days” are to predict, the easier it is to try for a baby and succeed.
I remember having irregular periods before I went on the pill.
So, it very well could be my own body’s fault I’m period-less.
Well, at least that’s what I believed THREE MONTHS AGO. Now, I’m blaming the pill.
Because my “irregular periods” came at least every 1.5 months.
FIVE months and no period? That’s not normal.
But, wait! There’s hope!
I’ve found lots of articles that suggest tips for reestablishing that homeostasis (AKA balance) in your body so your ovaries feel like it’s safe to drop eggs again.
I have found all these tips because I’ve spent the past two months typing “how to get your period back after going off birth control” into Google. You can type this into Google too and read all the suggestions. There are plenty!
Many of the articles stress that a good diet and exercise will help. Well, duh, those two things help everything!
I eat a LOT of kale, and that hasn’t helped me so far.
I also get sufficient sleep and exercise, blah blah.
And though I’d prefer to have a more slender physique, I’m in the healthy range according to that arbitrary BMI scale.
There are actually a lot of potential reasons for WHY you aren’t getting your period post-pill.
Click on that link. It takes you to a pretty great article. And I actually made a few flax seed pancakes after reading it.
But those flax seed pancakes did not procure a period.
In fact, I tried a lot of things. A little more exercise, and little less exercise, more sleep,
more chocolate, zero carbs, EVERYTHING.
Yet, no period.
Why is my uterus broken? – I ask myself this over a bowl of Cheerios, often.
Then, one day, I found this amazing article.
In that article, Chris Kresser suggests that oral contraceptives may deplete many of our natural levels of vitamins and minerals.
To help our bodies reach homeostasis again and start ovulation, Kresser argues that we need to take extra vitamins we may be deficient in (because of the pill).
Which kinds of vitamins and minerals?
Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6.
I wasn’t so sure a few vitamins could bring my period back.
But then I read the comments on Kresser’s article.
And there were dozens of women who claimed that THEY went out and bought these supplements and started taking them and BAM – 2 weeks later, they got their periods!
And these women had been WITHOUT periods for MONTHS, just like me.
Some had been ovulation-less for over a year.
I shuddered at the thought.
And then I immediately went to the store and bought these supplements.
I was so excited that I took them right then and there, in my car.
And I’ve been taking them ever since.
It’s been a few weeks.
STILL NO PERIOD.
And no, I’m not pregnant.
That’s definitely the first thing you should check for if you’re not getting your period.
And obviously you can visit your physician to see what he/she thinks about your amenorrhea (AKA lack of period). I’m not visiting my physician because I’m fairly certain he’s going to tell me that I just have to be patient and wait for my body to do its restorative magic.
Of course, I could still GET pregnant before I ever see a period. Remember, first comes egg, then comes period.
Some women suggest infertility acupuncture to help your body return to hormone-producing normalcy. I have no idea what that entails, other than subjecting your skin to dozens of tiny needles, but I’m not opposed to trying it if CHRISTMAS PASSES AND I STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN MY PERIOD.
I URGE you (and anyone else you know who hopes to procreate someday) to STOP taking oral contraceptives ASAP (and use another method of baby prevention).
Even if it means you have to use condoms for a year or two.
Condoms these days aren’t even that bad! They are way thinner than the ones we used when we were sixteen.
So use them instead of oral contraceptives and let your body return to baby-making normalcy. Because, trust me, waiting to have a baby when you WANT to have a baby is no fun.
Please share this post with all of your friends! It’s important that everyone KNOWS what they might face some day post-pill.
My mother has always been a fertile myrtle, so I thought I’d have NO PROBLEM getting pregnant the moment I went off the pill.
Obviously, that’s not the case.
It’s not the case for one of my friends, either, who is having the EXACT SAME ISSUES I’m having.
Are YOU having these issues?
Do you have any tips, tricks, or suggestions for me and other women having the same problem? PLEASE share your thoughts in the comments!