How to Balance Your Hormones After Birth Control

How to Balance Your Hormones After Birth Control

I want to begin this article by first examining our relationship with Birth Control, especially those containing hormones. While I feel that it is important to have the freedom to choose whether or not we want to be pregnant during certain times in our lives, the more I hear from women who’s cycles have been disrupted from the use of birth control containing synthetic hormones makes me wonder if there might be a better way. If we could educate ourselves, delve deeper into understanding what they do in our bodies, as well as learn alternative methods of preventing pregnancy that may be more beneficial to long-term health, we might be able to prepare for conception in a healthier way.

Birth Control and Fertility

Coming off of birth control? Natural therapies can help you to bring your body back to balance...

Many doctors will prescribe oral contraceptive (pill) birth control if you have fertility issues such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Ovarian Cysts or irregular menstrual cycles. While the birth control may work for some time for those conditions the birth control does not address the key issue of why you have that fertility issue to begin with. It may reduce pain, reduce the incidence of ovarian cyst or regulate your cycle for some time and then when you stop taking it your symptoms may come back. Many of you with these fertility issues still want to have children and taking birth control prevents that from happening. It is important to have clear communication with your doctor if you are still wanting to get pregnant while healing your body of your fertility issues at the same time. I have actually had women write in and say that their doctors did not make it clear to them that the pills they were prescribed for their fertility issues were actually birth control, which prevents pregnancy.

Daily we receive questions from women trying to get their menstrual cycles to regulate after coming off of birth control. When I speak of birth control I am speaking of the kinds that contain hormones or IUD (which may affect the uterus and menstrual cycle). Birth Control Pills, Intrauterine Device also known as IUD (Copper T, Mirena, Progestasert), Implant (Implanon), The Ring (NuvaRing), The Patch (Ortho Evra) and Injectable Progestin (Depo-Provera) all contain synthetic hormones except for the Copper T IUD.

Anytime between the time you stop using it and up to a year afterward is considered a normal time frame in which it will take for your body, on it’s own to regulate your hormones and start a regular menstrual cycle. If you were taking birth control to help regulate your cycles or for other fertility issues this average may not apply because your cycles may have not been regular to begin with and there are no guarantees that the birth control use is going to keep them regulated like when you were using it.

For some methods like the Implant or Depo-Provera some women do not get their menstrual cycle at all and it seems that these women have a harder time getting their menstrual cycles to come back.

To understand contraception that affects our natural menstrual cycle I have made a chart to help you learn what hormones are in each of the above birth control methods.

Types of Birth Control

Method How it Works

Birth control Pill

Most birth control pills are combination pills, they contain estrogen and progestin. Some contain only progestin, but the majority of women use combination pills. These work by preventing the ovary from releasing eggs. They also thicken cervical mucous making it hard for sperm to reach the uterus. This method also thins the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.

Implanon A thin flexible, plastic implant that is the size of a cardboard matchstick. It contains Progestin. The Progestin keeps the the ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation). This hormone also thins the lining of the uterus which may prevent implantation.

Ortho Evra This patch contains estrogen and progestin. These work by preventing the ovary from releasing eggs. They also thicken cervical mucous making it hard for sperm to reach the uterus. This method also thins the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.

Depo-Provera This injectable shot contains progestin. Progestin keeps the ovaries from releasing the eggs, thickening cervical mucous to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus and thinning the uterine lining which may prevent implantation. Note: continued use of Depo-Provera may stop the menstrual cycle completely and it may take longer than average (9 months-1 year for the menstrual cycle to regulate after stopping it). Once you have gotten a shot of Depo-provera you cannot stop it’s side effects for 12-14 weeks.

Nuva-Ring This ring contains the same hormones as combination birth control pills.
The progestin and estrogen prevent ovulation, thicken the cervical mucous, and thin the uterine lining which may prevent implantation.

IUD The IUD prevent the sperm from moving correctly, preventing the sperm from meeting and connecting with the egg. It may also affect the uterine lining which may cause implantation problems, but there is no proof of this.

Mirena IUD This IUD contains progestin which prevents ovulation as well as thickens cervical mucous. It also prevents the sperm from moving correctly toward the egg preventing conception.

I wanted to share this information with you so that you can see how these birth control methods directly affect hormones and the entire natural menstrual cycle. Progestin and estrogen contained in birth control is chemically created in a lab to imitate our natural progesterone and estrogen. When we use these birth control methods they are releasing hormones in our bodies at times they naturally would not, disrupting the menstrual cycle and preventing pregnancy.

Some estrogens are made from pregnant mare’s urine, but is more often used for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in older women. Continued use of progestin has been linked to thinning of the bones when it is being used, it is important to talk to you doctor about this serious risk.

Natural Remedies To Bring Back A Healthy Menstrual Cycle

The overall goal when coming off of birth control and wanting to try and conceive would be to nourish and support the entire hormonal feedback loop, egg health, cervical mucous and uterine health.

Step 1: Nourish and Cleanse

Natural Fertility Diet
Eating a whole food, nutrient dense fertility diet has been shown to increase the chances of pregnancy. Because hormones in birth control may affect our metabolism, digestion, and nutritional levels; eating properly is going to be very important when on birth control as well as afterward to replenish depleted nutritional levels.

Use of birth control containing hormones effects the levels of folic acid, riboflavin (vit.B2), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. It would be wise to take a good whole food multivitamin during and after birth control use to prevent nutritional deficiency and restore already depleted levels.

Women using birth control consistently for 6 months or longer have been shown to have significant lower levels of tryptophan, vit. B6 supplements can help normalize tryptophan metabolism.

Prolonged use of hormone containing birth control may also lead to anemia so you may also want to consider taking a wholefood iron supplement.

Birth control also changes the pH levels in the vagina, this may lead to yeast infection. Taking a good probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus may support the body in maintaining healthy vaginal flora.

Prolonged use of progestin has been shown to thin the bones, be sure that you are eating adequate amounts of calcium rich foods like dark leafy greens, sesame seeds, seaweed, almonds, quinoa, chia, as well as limited amounts of organic dairy, yogurt, cottage cheese.

Fertility Cleansing for Liver, Hormonal and Uterine Support
The body may greatly benefit from some gentle cleansing of the liver and uterus when coming off birth control. The liver has to metabolize synthetic hormones and becomes overloaded and taxed during birth control use. The liver cleanse portion of the Fertility Cleanse helps to remove those excess hormones. The uterine cleansing phase may help to tone and cleanse the uterus. When a woman has not had a regular menstrual cycle for some time because of birth control use it may need some herbal support, the herbs in this phase are nourishing, supportive, toning and cleansing for the uterus. Because progestin has been linked to thinning of the uterine lining, the uterus may really benefit from uterine tonic herbs. These herbs also support hormonal balance and healthy cervical mucous.

Fertility cleansing may be great way for anyone who is experiencing challenges when coming off hormonal birth control to create a foundation for hormonal balance and a healthy uterus for implantation. Fertility cleansing helps to create a “clean slate” within the body that helps the body to respond and utilize other natural remedies better.

Step 2: Herbal Support for Restoring Hormonal Balance and Promoting Ovulation

If you have tried to change your diet, are taking a whole food multivitamin and you still do not have a menstrual cycle yet you may want to learn how herbs for fertility can help promote hormonal balance, restore ovulation and bring back a normal menstrual cycle. Restoring a natural menstrual cycle is also important for egg health. Hormonal birth controls prevent ovulation which can decrease egg health. Our follicles require a normalized release of our natural hormones and adequate nutritional levels, synthetic hormones disrupt these which may impact egg health.

Fem Rebalance
Once you have stopped using hormonal birth control your body may be confused and in shock. One day your body was receiving hormones and then suddenly it was not. On top of that your liver may still be containing some of those synthetic hormones which may confuse the body further.

Fem Rebalance is an herbal blend designed with great consideration to women whose bodies may need support to restore hormonal balance when coming off of birth control containing hormones, HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or great times of stress including rapid weight loss or gain. This blend may help to restore proper hormonal function.

Suggested usage for this blend would be for 2-3 months after coming off of hormonal birth control. This blend is not recommended for use during fertility cleansing.

Tribulus Terrestris
If you know you are not ovulating and you are struggling to get your cycle back you may want to learn more about this South Asian herb. One study showed that 67% of women who were not ovulating began ovulating after using Tribulus. This herb has been found to stimulate ovulation. Tribulus has been used traditionally for hundreds of years to promote healthy fertility in both women and men.

Vitex
Vitex supports the hormonal feedback loop. This herb also promotes and has been shown to regulate ovulation. It has the ability to adapt to the individual hormonal needs of each woman. Because Vitex has proven effective for a variety of menstrual issues it may be a great choice to start off on the right foot to restoring a healthy natural menstrual cycle.

It has been shown to be most effective when used for 6-12 months consistently. Vitex is a remedy that has been shown to be very effective, but requires patience. It can take some time to achieve desired results, especially when coming off of birth control, but this herb is specific for regulating menstruation.

Dong Quai
Dong Quai (angelica sinensis) is one of the most powerful females tonic and fertility herbs. Dong Quai tonifies and strengthens the uterus by regulating hormonal control, improving uterine tone, and improving the timing of the menstrual cycle.

Dong Quai works by promoting blood flow to the pelvis where it will stimulate an absent or scanty period. It also nourishes the blood (it is in nearly all Chinese herbal blood-building formulas). Treats iron deficiency and anemia. One of the best uses is it helps women who are not menstruating to invite their menstruation back. The increased circulation also helps to strengthen and balance the uterus. In rat studies it has been show to help build the uterus lining.

We have learned that birth control that contains progestin may thin the uterine lining. Prolonged birth control use in some women has also been linked to anemia. Because Dong Quai is a wonderful uterine and blood tonic it may help to restore a healthy uterine lining and help prevent anemia.

Maca
Maca is one of the best supportive tonics for our endocrine system; which controls and produces many of our hormones. This root is very nourishing. Maca root supports overall hormonal balance and may greatly support our bodies through times of stress. An important factor when dealing with stopping synthetic hormones is the stress factor. It is extremely stressful on our bodies to take synthetic hormones and then abruptly stop them. Maca may help to restore hormonal harmony once again.

Step 3: Restore Healthy Cervical Mucous

Once the menstrual cycle is restored, healthy cervical mucous production should be restored as well. If you find you are still struggling with lack of cervical mucous you may want to consider supplements that have been shown to help promote healthy CM production.

Cervical mucous production may be altered for some time as well since the hormones in birth controls thicken cervical mucous for some time. Supplements that have proven results for restoring healthy CM are Evening Primrose Oil, Borage Oil, L-Arginine and Fertile CM. Be sure to drink plenty of water daily. At first you may also want to consider using a sperm friendly lubricant until your natural healthy cervical mucous is restored.

Step 4: Abdominal or Fertility Massage

Across the board massage therapy is one of the most supportive ways you can support the body in healing. More specifically fertility or abdominal massage focuses specifically on the reproductive system, helping to promote ovulation, support communication with the endocrine system, improve circulation to the uterus and ovaries (which strengthens the uterus and promotes healthy eggs); it also supports the body in ridding of those excess toxins and hormones. This type of massage is a great way to be directly connected to healing your fertility. You can find a practioner who specializes in fertility or abdominal massage or you can learn how to do this massage for yourself with the Self Fertility Massage method.

Additional Thoughts on Birth Control

The Love and Hate Relationship with Birth Control
We must give a lot of respect to birth control and the variety of options for birth control we have today. We now have more control than ever to choose when and if we want to have children. But regardless, I feel many women and men have lost their true relationship with their body, which also means they may have lost respect for birth control. Many continue to use it without thinking of the consequences of long-term use. It is important to remember that we are still creatures of the Earth, our bodies are made-up of the same materials as the Earth and we are filling them with foreign man-made substances that may greatly impact our health.

Choosing Birth Control Wisely
I am asking each person to be responsible for their choices and actions, research the facts on long-term side effects of birth control use so that when you choose to use birth control you are in understanding that it may affect your fertility and health later in life. Weigh the risks; getting pregnant or not getting pregnant? How will getting pregnant impact my life? How will preventing pregnancy impact my health? How can you balance those choices to serve your highest good? Ask yourself, is this something I am willing to use long-term or is this a short-term goal? How will taking this impact my fertility? Are there better or safer options for me? There are actually options out there that may be just as effective as hormonal birth control, but may take more diligence when using them. Condoms, diaphragm, spermicide and charting your cycle (rhythm method, natural family planning, BBT, cycle beads and OPK) are some alternatives to hormonal birth control.

Be Patient, Be Gentle With Yourself

The body goes through a lot of confusion and stress when coming off of birth control. Be patient with your body, give it time to adjust to the intense hormonal shifts that have to take place. Expect that you may feel sad, angry, depressed and simply “off”. This is a normal when any hormonal adjusting is taking place. Be gentle with yourself and how you are feeling. Know that you can work toward restoring your natural hormonal state and can move on to working toward trying to conceive through proper nutritional, herbal and natural therapy support.

Summary

If you have chosen to come off birth control to prepare for conception there are are many natural therapies we have covered to help you along the way. Many women are able to get pregnant regardless of using birth control for years, but some may have some lingering imbalances. Here are some of the natural options covered in this article:

1. Support hormonal balance with a healthy fertility diet.
2. Fertility cleansing helps to support the body’s natural ability to cleanse excess hormones from the system.
3. Herbs such as vitex, tribulus, maca and dong quai can help to restore hormone balance.
4. Promote cervical mucous production with natural supplements like evening primrose oil or L-Arginine.
5. Increase circulation to the reproductive system with fertility massage.

References:
1. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/index.htm
2. Tori Hudson, ND; Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, McGraw Hill, 2008
3. Christiane Northrup, MD; Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Bantam Books, 2010

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[-] 140 Comments
  1. Hi! Hoping for some assistance with what I believe is a hormone imbalance issue. I am 34 and came off Ortho-tricyclen two years ago after 16 years of use. Since then, I’ve developed acne on my face, back and chest, my skin is excessively oily, am having hair loss issues and unexplained infertility for the past year and a half. I eat well and am active. I feel like I’m doing all the right things but can’t figure out what’s causing these symptoms. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks :)

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hi Kelly!

      How hard to have to go through these changes!

      When it comes to hormones and their proper function, it is a delicate balancing act. Prolonged use of fertility medications, one of which is birth control (bc), can be confusing to the body. Any time between when you stop using it and up to a year afterward is considered a normal time frame in which it will take your body, on it’s own, to regulate your hormones and start a regular menstrual cycle. For some this simply take longer. It is going to take time for your body to remember how to or be supported in having normal hormonal balance.

      Without knowing in more detail your diet and lifestyle, it sounds as though your body may still be detoxifying from this bc use and even more so that your hormones may still be a bit out of balance post discontinuing bc use.

      Definitely continue to eat well and stay active, and consider supporting hormone balance per the information here.

      We are also happy to support you by creating a personalized program based on your specific fertility needs through a Natural Fertility Consultation.

      In health ~ Liz

  2. This summary gave me all the answers to all the questions I been asking! It’s a great passage!

  3. Thanks for this article. It helps me understand my body more. I want to be natural and although I am done with pregnancy, I would like to have a natural healthy body. I have used birth control for a long time on and off and I want to end this cycle.

    • Hi Katrina,

      I am glad you found this article helpful! I urge you to learn about Fertility Awareness Method, which can be used as a form of natural contraception and helps to connect you to your reproductive health in a deep way. We have 3 articles coming out in the next couple of months on this topic.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Hello! I need some help if at all possible! I am 27 and have been on birth control since I was about 15. (I get ovarian cysts and also have Endometriosis.) My husband and I recently had the baby talk, and I quit taking birth control about 3 weeks ago. I have been crazy ever since. I was ready for the cysts to kick back in but not severe depression. I can barely function. I have had depression issues in the past, but I feel like I need to be tranquilized now. It is crippling. I do have other stressful factors in my life as well, like I hate my job and bills, but who doesn’t? Is going off birth control a major contributing factor to this? And when and how can I be a normal person again?

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Rachel,

      I am sorry you are having to go through this! I also don’t think it wise to do so alone!
      It may be so very helpful to seek the guidance of a trusted friend or counselor to help you through these feelings you are having. You deserve to feel like yourself and right again!

      Your body is trying to not only detoxify from the birth control, but also find balance on its own which may be contributing to this depression and the feelings you are having. You might consider starting your journey toward balance by doing a Fertility Cleanse. It is often the place we advise women coming off birth control to start. I can not guarantee this alone will do the trick, but it may help your body detoxify enough to move to the next step.

      I wish I could know for you when and how you can be normal again. I am sorry I can not, but I do hope very soon! Stress has a negative impact on fertility as well, but there are ways (herbs, supplements and natural therapies) to support your body in dealing with stress that you can learn more about here…

      I wish for you strength and peace as you find balance and seek support.

  5. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. I want to apologize to all of you who have left many, many comments that we were unable to reply to. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  6. I am 27 and have had anxiety, severe overthinking, irritability, etc. so severe that I was worried I was crazy! My doctor suggested I track my symptoms with each day in my cycle and we noticed such a pattern. During mid cycle and a week before was when the emotionalness would flare up. Once it starts, my emotional state is calm and regulated. I got Bloodwork done to rule out a thyroid condition and the results showed that everything was normal there. So due to the timing of these flare ups, I’m assuming it is related to a hormonal imbalance. Is that usually the case or could it be something else? My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 6 months and I’m reading that there is a coorelation between balanced hormones and fertility. Once We do conceive (God willing;) Is it safe to continue with natural supplements to stay balanced? I’ve heard that women who experience strong PMS/PMDD symptoms usually experience Postpartum depression as well. Is that true and is there a way to avoid that if it is not recommended to take those supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding?

    I am starting evening primrose oil and maca. What do you think about biodentical hormones?

    Thanks so much for this informative and helpful

  7. Hi
    Thank you so much for your article!! I’m going through
    A very confusing time as is my body. Im 27 years old I have
    A beautiful 2 1/2 year old daughter. Before successfully giving birth
    To my daughter I had 2 miscarriages, one at 13 weeks one at 5 weeks.
    I went on nuvaring after giving birth, my husband and I are now ready to expand our family. I stopped my nuvaring April 20, five days later I got my
    Period or withdrawal bleeding, may 17 I got my period normal flow and all.
    It’s now June 23 and no period in sight. Took home pregnancy tests all negative. I’m thinking my body is just so out of whack. I want to know what would be a good plan for me to get things naturally running again. I wish I had never gone on birth control or did my homework more I didn’t realize how negatively it effects your body. I am taking a prenal vitamin now. I just want to be back to normal and conceive naturally. Thanks in advance!

  8. Hi Dalene,

    I’m 45 years old and was on ortho trycyclene for the past 6 months to regulate my cycles. I have a cyst on an ovary and every few months I was experiencing two periods. She put me on bc to help regulate my cycle.
    Eventually, I started having terrible headaches. I have been off of the pill for 3-1/2 weeks, but have noticed major body changes. I lost the excess weight I gained from the pill(yay), but now my face is breaking out worse than ever, I’m shedding more hair than usual, and my skin looks old and tired (especially under the eyes).
    My doctor checked my thyroid levels and said that I am at the very top end of the acceptable low thyroid level. I believe I have a hormonal imbalance of some sort and would like to try herbs, supplements or whatever might work.
    I found your website and have been reading all of the posts. I am happy to not be alone. Your advice is wonderful. What do you suggest for me to take that would re-balance my hormones…but not necessarily make me extra fertile.
    I am not looking to get pregnant at this age and really would like to just balance my poor body out. I am always so tired, so cold and look haggard. I feel I looked better on the pill, except for the weight gain.

    Any ideas?

    Sincerely,
    Amy

  9. Hi Dalene, i am 20 years ever since i can remember i have had a regular period 5 days every 28 days for years. Recently about mid February i started experiencing acne on both side on m cheeks and some hair loss. I have never had acne or hair loss throughout my teenage years not even an occasional pimple. Also i have been experiencing anxiety and frustration and really bad cramps during my period. Many suggested a hormonal imbalance and doctor suggested taking dianne 35 but i am 100% hesitant on taking any from of birth control. Can u advise me on what i can do to correct this issue? as i am becoming very frustrated thanks

  10. hi, i’ve been on Mercilon bcp for 6months due to irregular menses. Test results showed that my LH n FSH were on the low end within range hence gynae put me on low dose bcp to provide me with hormones. Ultrasound also showed that I have tiny cysts in my ovaries somewhat like PCOS symptoms but she did not mention I have PCOS. So I guess i don’t? I did get my menses every month (though irregular) before my 1st appt with gynae. Went back after my 1st 6months of bcp, and dr recommend me to continue with the bcp for another 6mths and go back for review again. I was skinny to begin with so dr mentioned that to continue bcp can help with my bones, hormones as well as to prevent pregnancy since i’m not TTC yet. so in another words it is good in the long run coming from her point of view.

    i’m 2 weeks off bcp and have not decided to continue or not. i would think that if i were to complete another 6mths of bcp, doc will probably ask me to continue on the pill when i return for review in another 6mths time. i did not do any blood tests on my hormones either during review. i feel its more like going back to get prescription since she recommends bcp.

    I’ve read about Vitex, but have also read of the side effects it gives. Some get good results while others may have their menstrual cycle worse than before. so, I’m kind of stuck in between and hoping hear some advise from you.

    Oh im on red raspberry leaf tea though cause i read its good for uterus since mine was thin during ultrasound test. does this affect bcp ?

  11. Is it okay to take vitex and maca together? I have pcos, insomnia and weight gain. I have a 60-90 day menstrual cycle. I just started taking vitex chastetree berry extract so I am trying to be patient.

  12. My obgyn prescribed me birth control pills for irregular periods. She said I’m physically capable of carrying a child its just my hormones are imbalanced right now. I wanted to know can I take vitex while on birth control or what can i do after birth control to maintain my periods

  13. Hey Darlene i’m 19 years old im relatively healthy i just got on depo prevera about a week ago i havent had any side effects i feel normal except i missed my period. Reading all these stories about how u can bleed for months and years straight or not bleed at all ever again after the shot wears off is making me extremely scared. After the 3 months is over this will be my 1st and only shot. Is there anything i can do now in these 3 months to help me with my period after depo prevera wears off? Anything i can do that would help me have less of a hard time with my periods after the drug wears off?PLEASE =[

  14. i had the implanon for 3 years. i had it removed this year of March. I had my period a week after. but that was it. it is now almost June and i havent had a period since then. My husband and I are trying to have a baby. What should i do to quicken this process.

  15. Regarding menstrual disorders.
    My cycle is very improper.
    One year ago, I had sex, I took 72 hr pill.
    One month later, the same happened again.
    due to these pills, my cycle dint come for 3 months.
    Then a doctor gave me medicine to bring it artificially.
    It happened.
    But it was only for 1 day in each month.
    The doctor gave me bc pills medication for three months.
    It regulated to two days.
    But now again it is improper and even missing sometimes.
    When happens, then for one day or only half a day.

    it is again missing for two months.
    And I’m not in a RELATIONSHIP.
    please help me out.
    Can’t I be pregnant in future due to my story…?

  16. Hi Darlene

    In September 2009 I started on the pill Triphasil for about three months, but then I stopped because I was bleeding very heavy and the cramps was excruciating. Then in June 2010 my doctor suggested I used Nordette, and that was great for me, I had no problems. In December 2010 I stopped it because I moved and have forgotten to take the pills and I still had my period that month. In January 2011 I didn’t have my period at all for six months, then in late June I bled for a month. After that I bled since October 2011 until March 2012. In February 2012 I went to my doctor and he said that it could be due to a polyp and suggested I use the pill again or see a Gynecologist and I preferred to do so because I didn’t want to use the pill again. My husband and I are trying to start a family.

    Please help

  17. Hi Dalene,
    I am 27 years old and stopped taking birth control pills about 6 months ago after being on Orthi Tri Cyclen for 13 years. After stopping mid November 2011 i had what i thought was a period, another period 12/30/11, and 2/13/12. Since then i have had NOTHING for the past 3 1/2 months! My husband and i hope to start a family within the next year but with my periods so out of whack im starting to get a little concerned. i started taking the pill @ age 14 for acne, and now im off it i am experiencing acne all over again, i have gained 10-15lbs, sometimes a little crampy but overall in a good mood. (i take pregnancy tests almost every week just to make sure im not pregnant) Since i started my period at such a young age (11) i cannot remember/ never kept track of if i was regular or not before BC. I dont have medical insurance yet and was wondering what i should try or a regimine to get on to kickstart my cycle again

  18. Hi,

    I am 25 years old and I have a 5 year old son. For the past 5 years I have been on the pill for birth control. I stopped taking bc about 6 months ago. Since then I have had a lot of acne on face and back ( I never had acne) I also have bad dandruff. I am getting married in 5 months and am worried about this acne. I have started using clinique. Before I could use any soaps or face washes. Please give me any suggestions. My cycle is pretty regular. My only problems is the acne and dandruff. The acne is really taking a toll on me. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

  19. I’m 24 years old and I have been on the pill since I was 15 (Alesse 21). In March my fiance and I decided to start trying for a baby. I finished out my last pack of pill on March 4th and got my period from March 7th-12th. My period was about a week late in April which I figured would be normal but since I was having unprotected sex I decided to take a test just to be sure. The test was negative and I ended up getting my period the same day (go figure) My period lasted from April 9th-12th. It was heavy for two days then light. My 13th and 14th of April I had not bleeding but then on the 15th and 16th there was some very light spotting. I assumed this was normal as my body was readjusting itself. On April 18th, I was put on Ciprofloxacin 500mg twice a day for a kidney infection. During this time, I had some light spotting (can’t remember the exact day). My period should’ve come by May 7th (if it was following the same time frame as April), however; I didn’t get it. I decided to wait an entire week before taking a test. On May 13th, the test was negative, however; it’s been four days since and still no period. I’m now two and a half weeks late. I’ve had some cramping on and off since the beginning of May and everytime I assume my period is coming. I’ve had no pregnancy symptoms but I’ve also had no period symptoms either. Is this normal? I’m making an appointment with my doctor just to be safe but I would like some feedback. Thanks

  20. Hi well I’m not trying to get pregnant but I went on ortho low for iregular bleeding between periods. Blood work was normal hormone thyroid also but , the pill made me feel nervouse and nausious. I stoped taking it shy of 6 days left on my pack and following day got my period . How long for these feelings to go back to normal never felt like this before???!!!

  21. Hello my name is Kayla, I have 5 children already but I was on depo on and off for the past 3 years and been off depo for a little over 3 months, my period came back but im starting to think im infertile could that be possible/

  22. Hi Dalene, what a truly wonderful article. It’s probably the first time I’ve read anything so helpful and detailed on the Internet after spending quite a while looking! I wonder if you’re able to help me please? I am 26 years old and been on microgynon for 10 years. I stopped this in January this year and so far have not had a period as yet. Ive had terrible acne, facial hair and emotional outbursts but I accept that this is my body regulating my hormones again. I was thinking of taking Vitex to regulate my hormones and see how I get on, do you think this would suit? Hubby and I would love a baby but I understand I need to get healthy first. I have been taking multivitamins every day also. Also, can I take evening primrose oil with Vitex? Warmest Regards, Lauren x

  23. Wow I have been googling all day. This is so so very helpful. My situation is that before i went on the pill (levlen ed) 4 months ago i always had text book pms signs. Eg. Very sore boobs, bad acne very bad bloating. However this is my first month off it. I stopped taking it on the 10th of april 2012 and the day after i bleed very heavily for 2 whole weeks. So anyway i did have unprotected sex just the once on the 30th April. I have no idea if my body had ovulated or not. However bow it is very nearly time for me to get my next period right? But I have no pms signs at all. No acne, no sore boobs but a little cramping here and there. Please help. I have been reading that pms should be worse than ever.

  24. My daughter is 16 and was put on Depo. Shes done 2 rounds and has been due for her 3rd and is over due bout 4 months. She is 5’6” and always weighed 112pds give or take. now that shes off it her weight has dropped to 98 pds! She looks sick and malnourished and shakes constantly is dizzy and has no appetite. She lost any breast she had and is pale with dark circles. No periods for months! can this be a side affect of not getting the depo ? Thankyou, Skye

  25. Hi Dalene,

    I am 23 years old and about 7 months ago I made the choice to stop taking birth control pills. I was on birth control since I was 13 so 10 years. It was initially prescribed to me for my irregular and painful menstrual cycles, from my family doctor. I was expecting to have irregular cycles and lots of cramps soon after I stopped taking it, and its actually the complete opposite. it took about 6 months to get my first period which I learned is actually pretty normal. When I did get my period it was incredibly light, short and I had absolutely NO cramps! Too good to be true. Since I have stopped taking the pill I have had some other mild side effects that I think I should attribute to the hormonal withdrawal like pimples ( that I never used to get) unusually oily skin, light weight gain. I do take multi vitamins, B vitamins and practice yoga several times a week. My diet is vegetarian with mostly whole and organic foods. I am not currently looking to start a family I just want to get my body back to normal, if it even has a “normal” since I was so young when I started taking the pill. Is there any reason you can think of why I would have bleeding with no cramps at all? Also any recommendations to get my hormones and cycle back to normal? My main concern is that something may be wrong with my body and that in the future when I want to start planning a family I wont be able to conceive, as this is what has happened to someone else in my family.
    Thank you so much for your time,
    N

  26. this article was very helpful.
    So probably around June 2011 i started taking Depo as a form of bc, i just took one shot of it because i started to get really bad side effects so my doctor switch me to Ortho Tri-cyclen. i took i think one half of the circle before quitting it because my husband and i decided for kids. then my menstrual cycle became very not normal. i missed a period a month then the next month it will come. sometimes i would have very light spotting that would cause me to think i was pregnant. so just recently i went to my doctor to get back on bc, because i think i would regulate my period. so my question is will this help, And how long will i have to take it for? I also want to start for kids again

  27. First off, I wanted to say thanks for being so supportive of the women posting questions on your board. Your input is extremely informative!

    I’m 30 yrs old, was on BCP Alesse for 15 years – I’m wanting to start a family. I went off BCP 7 months ago, no period for 3 months and decided to do bioidentical progesterone cream and got a period. I just finished my 2nd round after not getting my period after 3 months again. I don’t have any answers for might be going on with my body, I was extremely irregular before I went on the pill. My MD is useless, didn’t run any tests, only said that I’m “most likely infertile.” For the past few days I’ve been having hot flashes, my joints ache, lots of water retention. Is this normal? Would you happen to have any input on what might be happening or what my options might be for someone experiencing these difficulties? Thank you! I appreciate any help advice you can give!

  28. In step 2 you list several herbs to take. Are you suggesting to take all at the same time? Is there a list of what you can and cannot take together? I am new here so I am still trying to learn. Love this site so far. So much info! Wow, seems that cleanse is first but then????

  29. hi i recently came off the depo shot (feb)i have had a bleed but only for the day me and my partner would like to try for a baby.
    i would like to what i could take to help start my periods and how will i no if i am ovulating or not. thanks

  30. Dear Dalene,
    I am a 25 year old woman who has been on tri-cyclin low for about 4 years now. I did not start taking it for contraceptive reasons; the reason I actually started on it was because irritated skin/acne on face, mild depression/moodiness, and periods that had become painful. Almost right away (maybe after about 3 months) I was seeing a real shift- an evening out of my cycle and lighter periods, plus more steady mood and my acne was soothed although not completely healed. I did gain a little weight, but not too much (maybe 8 pounds), and noticed some swelling in my breasts.

    However, I have become concerned with taking the pill. I don’t like the idea of my body being reliant on artificial hormones, and am into organic and natural living/medicine. But I’m also scared to stop taking the pill. I tried cold-turkey a few months ago and I almost immediately felt the old symptoms come back- some depression, my skin flaired up…and a resulting all-around really scary sense of not being in control (hopeless/helpless feeling)…because it seems to effect both my body and mind.

    What should I do? What if I go off again and all my horrible symptoms come back?

    Sincerely,
    Emily

  31. Hi. I was wondering what was the best possible thing for me to naturally return to my own hormone levels. I am 19 and was on tri sprintec for four months (mid November to mid march). I have since experienced headaches, stomach pains, higher anxiety and slight depression. I have also been extremely tired. As a college freshman I realize that there are many factors that could affect this but I sleep anywhere from 7-10 hours, take a multivitamin and try to eat as healthy as I can. I felt perfectly normal until stopping the pills. It has been a month and a half and I am still not back to normal. Is there anything I can do to speed up the return of my natural hormone balance or how long will this last? Thank you!!

  32. Hello I am new here,but I have similar problems!
    I have a cyst on my L ovary for years it is a endometrioma (chokolate cyst). I got pregnant twice without a problem,but I have these strange symptoms and no Doctor can diagnose anything! My question is does this kind a cyst has anything to do with the hormones???? I have this mucus in a back of my troth for 8 months now and wondering if this is the hormones???? Please help!

  33. I so much appreciate the way and manner you anwser questions, my case is that my baby is 16 mths and im not in any birth contol but has been trying to get pregnant from when my baby was 12mths. Im 37 years. please i want to know the cause.

    thank you

  34. Hi I have found some comfort in reading these articles thank you. I have stopped taking the mycrogynon pill after Four years as i plan to start a family. Since comming off I had one period, and have had nothing for over three months now. Recent blood test come back showing a hormone imbalance which is I have an appointment tomorrow to discuss. I’m 24years old and since comming off have felt emotionally inbalanced and at times really low and frustrated. Also found out that I have a b12 folate defficency and having injections for that. If there is any more information or advice you can give me I would be extremely grateful. Thanks sarah x

  35. Am glad i found this site.Am 23 years old and av been on pill for two months only.when i received my periods on dec 17th i stopped the pill.i later got my periods on 1st Jan 2012 which were very light and short.i have not got any since then and am so worried.i have having pregnancy symptoms ever since and i have tested like ten times but its negative.i was prescribed to take pregnare plus for a month but it dint help.
    Kindly help for i want to start a family soon before my marriage break.

  36. Hi my question is. I was taking bc pills for 8 months with metformin 1000mg 1 a day. I stoped because I was ttc. I missed my period, but wasn’t pregnant. The next month it came on and stayed on for 2 months straight. I was dx with pcos in 2009. I am 30yrs old and I have been having no periods, for months and then very long one’s. I was extremely anemic, but I have had treament for that. My question is because my pd. stayed on so long I got a depo shot to stop it. I just had my 1st shot April 4, 2012. What is your suggestion. I want to get off it so I can regulate my horomones. I really need some help because this has been a problem all my life.

  37. I was prescribed Yaz to treat my PCOS symptoms (weight gain, excessive hair on face etc, and thinning hair on head) about 6 yrs ago, the past year I was having a lot of issues mentally and physically and debated going off. I was on a Clindamycin for 10 days in early March for a sinus/ear infection and the last few days I noticed my face starting to break out and my hair and skin were very oily. 2 days later I decided to stop the Yaz in mid pack and my hair and skin have not been the same since. I did not have pimples or acne before the BC but I did have slightly oily skin. I had “break thru” bleeding within a day of stopping and my period came 30 days later in April. My question is how long will it take to regulate my hormones and how can I treat the PCOS naturally? The last time i tried to stop the Yaz my male hormone levels skyrocketed within a month and I had to go back on the pill.

  38. Hi Dalene,
    Thanks for a great article! I’ve skimmed through the other posts and replies too – very cool that you take the time to write so many people back. I have been on depo-provera for 11 years now (justturned 30).I was never very good at taking the pill so I went with something I couldn’t mess up when I entered into a serious relationship. Other reasons for depo: my grandmother developed a 14″ blood clot while on estrogen HRT and there are family vascular issues (myself included). I’ve loved many aspects of depo…no periods, only have to be sure to get injections every 12 weeks. But there are other things I don’t like, but have tolerated, because it is so effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy. I have picked up about 60 pounds while on it. Doesn’t really sound like a lot over time, but it has added up and I am not happy with my weight and appearance.
    We got married last fall. We go back and forth on the kids thing – somedays we want them, others days we say we are fine without. That idea, along with some others, have made me re-evaluate the birth control thing. I went and saw NP in Feb when I had last depo injection. We discussed coming off depo and switching to something else to prevent pregnancy, but allow my cycle to return. She suggested Mirena. Even though it is also hormonal, she said my cycle will return because the dosage is so much lower and it is delivered locally rather than systemically. Given that the lining of my uterus has already thinned b/c of depo, how will I ever know is I’m ovulating? I assume women on Mirena stop menstrating b/c the lining is thinned, not because no eggs are released as it is with depo. And I feel like a complete dummy that I didn’t relate the total loss of sex drive with the depo shot. I mean, really, I could take it or leave it. My poor husband has tolerated this for too long and I’d really like a change in this. I have a friend who recently switched to Mirena from the pill and had a surge in libido…any idea what I might expect? And the weight … I’ve maintained relatively healthy diet and exercise program. Weightloss from depo to Mirena? I’m scheduled for Mirena insertion on 5/1. I also to do a cleanse to jump start the switch (local apothecary has one they recommend). I hoping I can get my cycle to return in less than the 18-24 month window you’re told online. I’m also using essential oils to give my liver a boost to help clean out all the years of depo out of my system.
    Thanks for your thoughts!
    E

  39. Hello
    What an amazing website! So I have been on BC since my 3rd period ever when i was 15. 13 years on the same pills. The past 5 years i have taken the pills back to back (Dr said it was ok) and only having one or two periods a year. Well this past year (6 months ago) i tried to have my semi-annual period and it didn’t come. So a few weeks ago – time for my second semi-annual period, I tried again and had maybe half a day of slight brownish spotting. So after that i looked online and read that birth control is actually bad for you (never knew this!!!) and that maybe the problem could be my uterine lining is thin?? So I just went off the pills.
    It’s been two-three weeks and I’m an emotional wreck. I have NEVER in my life had the hormonal surges that come with a period. They have been heavy and crampy and uncomfortable but my moods never swang!!! The past two weeks I have been 10 different people and am completely embarassed at my emotions!!! Is this normal? Is this how women are when they are not on birth control? I would understand being this way when my period was occuring, but it was 12 days ago and I’m in so much pain with cramps and aches! I’m nauseated and exhausted and irritable! I have weird food cravings and I cry for no reason!
    Is this withdrawls of coming of the pill? All i wanted to do was give my body a break for a few months to get back to normal – but this can’t be normal!!
    Is there anything I can do that could help?

  40. Hi,

    I have been off of the pill for 11 months, and have not had my period regularily since. I have maybe had it 3 or 4 times since going off of the pill. I was on the pill for 5 years. I have Grave’s disease that is currently in remission. Thyroid levels were just tested and came back perfect. That folicle hormone (can’t remember the name) was high (30) and estrogen was low. I am 43 and always had very regular cycles, even with active Graves. I have pelvic heaviness, some cramping (as if I will get my period and then it doesn’t come) breast tenderness, shortness of breath, and some pubic pain. I have been going through extreme stress over the last year (actually couple of years). I am paranoid that this is something worse than hormonal imbalance, like ovarian cancer…I generally jump to conclusions, but I am also very emotional right now. I see my OB next week for a pelvic exam, but I am going crazy. I am not interested in having more children, (too late and I have two boys) but I wasn’t expecting to be going through perimenopause yet, (endrocronologist and nurse practitioner suggested that those two numbers could indicate that) and I want to be healthy and stay as young as I can. I have pap done every year, and my last one was in August. At that time, my OB suggested “starting” my period again (I am assuming with BC) At that time, ovaries, pap, and everything was normal. How likely is it that something terrible has developed in 7 months? My fear is also, that going off the pill, which stops cysts, was keeping this at bay. I also read that people with Graves disease have an 80% chance of developing ovarian cancer. No one ever told me about this risk, and I was wondering if you had heard of this connection. Oh, and I am overweight, and have always struggled with my weight. Right now, I am losing the battle…I am sure you can’t say what this could be, but I would love to put my mind at ease, so that I am not going crazy for the next 5 days. I am very happy to have found this site. It has been very infomative, and I would like to try some of the things mentioned, but I am not sure if I should wait until after the exam. Thanks!

  41. Hi Dalene,
    I got off the pill about a week ago after using it for only a month. I have always been a happy bubbly fun person and in love with my boyfriend. I started feeling wierd on the pill so I stopped taking it. Now I feel depressed, anxiety, I am questioning my lovely relationship with my boyfriend and I have lost interest in doing alot of my favorite things. I have never been like this before and it is a scary feeling. I was wondering if this is an effect of going of the pill and how long it would take to go back to normal. Thanks for your help!
    Francheska

  42. Hi,
    I’m getting my mirena iud removed Monday after 2 1/2 yrs due to many issues with it… no energy, no libido, and severe weight gain ect. Guess you can say its the best birth control ever, since you feel too fat and gross to have sex lol. Anyways, do you have a suggestion on a natural supplement to get me back to normal after removal? Not sure if its relevant but I’m 26 and have two small kids and we aren’t trying to have more, my hubby is getting fixed. Thank you so much:)

  43. Hi Dalene,

    I love your article. I am 33years and a mother of two from Nigeria. I used copper T bc for 16 months after which I removed it in readiness to get pregnant. It is 11months now and am actively trying to conceive. My menstrual cycle has been regular i.e 32 days cycle last for 3-4days.But for the month of march ,my cycle extended to 40days…Infact, I was already getting excited that I was pregnant only to see my menses again after the delay. Please advise me on what to do. I am sooooo worried.

  44. I’m 24yrs old and have problems with birth control in the past, I was using nordette a pill but it totally messed my body up. If I would forget and skip a pill I would start bleeding as soon as I took the next pill, I went to see a nurse and was told I have a hormone in-balance due to me using the pill for so long…I wasn’t even that long on it (+- 2years) I was then advised to use the injection and now I regret it, I didn’t have any problems while being on it at the time its only now that I’ve decided to go off and plan to expand my family that I see how hard it is to fall pregnant! And what’s even worse I get my periods up to 3 times a month! My husband even asked after a while why are u bleeding so much? If only there was a more herbal way to prevent unwanted pregnancy than the chemical way.

  45. Hi I read through the article and while the information was very helpful what I’m really trying to figure out is when my hormones will rebalance themselves. I am 22 and had been on the Mirena IUD for about a year. I just recently got it taken out because my hormones were incredibly imbalanced. I am still experiencing some mood swings. It has been out for about a week and a half. Do you know how long I can expect my body to take to naturally rebalance my hormones? I never experienced issues like this before the birth control. Please help. I really want to be back to normal and I really need some hope that I will be. Thank you!

  46. Hi i was on nuvaring a year and a half and stopped using it mid january. I got my period like i should of that week since the hormones were still in me. I skipped the entire month of feb but got my period on march 5th and it ended on the 9th, my flow was normal 5 days as it was on nuvaring. I used nuvaring because my periods were irregular almost every other month it is now 7th and my menstual is not on yet. I have had the cramping as if i ovulated but i think i had non fertile mucus. Since i only missed one period how long should it take for my body to regulate i guess its good i only missed one but i am noticing changes with my body i never felt i am ttc and nervous i am going to start prenatal vitamins as suggested by my friend who is a pa please help with advice or knowledge i have pain around my ovaries and lower abdomen but im not sure if thats my menstual coming soon or my body trying to regulate it self please help

  47. Hi Dalene,
    I first want to say this article provided a lot of information that is helpful. I found your site because I am researching the following. I am turning 40 this year and within the past 2 years my cycle has changed and become much heaver during the first 3 days with cramping and pain as well. Also my cycle went from 5 days to 7 days before it finishes. I experience breakthrough bleeding 1 or 2 times per month. The thing that stays constant is that my cycle is regular every month. My doctor wants me to think of taking birth control to help my hormones balance. I have never taken any form of birth control and I am seeking a natural way to do this rather that start. I am considering Slow Flow and Fem Rebalance. Would you suggest any additional supplements?

    Thank you in advance.