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Birth Control Pill

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  • Birth Control Pill

    I'm wondering if anyone has any information on how birth control can affect one's success on the Primal eating plan?

    Also, I'm thinking it's time to get off the pill and I'm looking for suggestions on supplements I can take to ease the transition.

  • #2
    From what I understand the pill can cause certain individuals to retain excess water and have difficulty shedding fat. I was on the pill for 17 years. I was off it for about 2 or so to have children. Deciding to stop the pill was a big decision and I am happy that I did. All the weird PMS, heavy cramping etc. that I "had" to be on the pill for is gone. I feel so much better. Mind you I have been Paleo for going on two years. The transition was not as bad as I thought it would be. My skin got a little gross and I was far from pleasant to be around but honestly it didn't last that long. I had also some major tenderness in my abdomen and breasts but again it didn't last. I didn't need to take any special suppliments other than the Vitamin D, magnesium, and fish oil I normally take. I just got plenty of rest and ate very well. I feel great! My periods are not painful and PMS is practically non existent. I was scared to death to go off the pill fearing the pain, heavy bleeding etc. that my OB/GYN assured me would happen. I can't wait to see him next year to share my experiences eating paleo and going off the pill.


    • #3
      I don't use the Pill, but have terrible PMS. I take Simplex F by Stanrd Process. You have to get it through a chiropractor, massage therapist or other practitioner. It's an amazing hormone balancer. Going Primal has also helped ease PMS symptoms! As your whole body comes into balance, this aspect will too!
      Woman, Artist, Wife, Visionary, Mother, Gardener, Daughter, Tea-drinker, Friend, Believer.


      • #4
        I've been working on transitioning off Depo Provera for a while. I switched from the shot to NuvaRing to at least get regular cycles back before going BC-free. Cycles were very easy and light, minimal PMS symptoms. No cramping- a HUGE difference from my pre-Primal attempt at going off Depo to the pill. I'm now beginning my first month completely BC-free and am curious to see what completely natural cycles will be. So far my experience while being Primal has been good. I'm pleasantly surprised.


        • #5
          I only started primal about a week ago, so I don't have any experience with them together (though for myself, I know that even though I craved empty carbs and grains while PMS'ing, eating them always only makes me feel worse, so I am expecting a primal diet to, if anything, be better for that).

          But I did really struggle with all forms of hormonal birth control, and coming off it wasn't any fun either because I had been on it in one form or another for years. So I really sympathize. But I am *so* glad to be finally off of birth control and even though I'm only 27, I know it is FOR GOOD, never going back to that. Initially after quitting the last round of pills I was on, I went right back to heavy cramps, heavy bleeding, and PMS suckiness (moodiness, bloating, and cravings for junky salty carbs, mostly). It took me almost a year to feel "normal" with my cycle, and by that I mean more the side effects of hormone changes than having a regularly timed cycle, which happened a lot faster. These are some things that I found to help:

          -making sure to get enough protein and iron in my diet (lines up great with eating primal, right?!). If I am in doubt or feeling enh, I eat a little bit more red meat, or something else with protein and some spinach or kale, especially in the few days leading up to and following the first day of my period. Everyone's body is different but I really do find that I need more of both around that time to feel less fatigued and achy.

          -B-complex vitamin. I used to take these every day of the month, and it just "evened out" the bumps of PMS stress and helped a bit with hormonal acne. Now I am doing fertility awareness for birth control, (possible because I am lucky to have a very regular cycle again, but I don't recommend this anyone who isn't willing to invest the effort to learn, it's easy to screw up) so being much more aware of my cycle, I find I only need to take the B-complex supplements anytime I am stressed out (like finals week, or when my husband's grandmother died), or in the week leading up to the first day of my period.

          -Spearmint tea. This may not help you get back to a regularly timed cycle and in my experience can actually cause you to fluctuate a little more, but used consistently, it's a very powerful helper with heavy cramps and hormonal acne if those things are part of your considerations. Whatever box of tea you buy, "spearmint" should be one of the first two ingredients so that you can be sure you'll get enough of the right stuff, because while peppermint tastes similar, it does not have the same anti-androgen properties. You can also use spearmint oil, but it's more expensive and I think the tea tastes great anyway.

          Those anti-androgen properties means that spearmint tea, over time, effectively reduces the amount of "male" hormones (in quotes because all women have the hormones too, just in lesser quantities than men do) in your body. If you drink spearmint tea consistently, the "free-roaming" androgens in your body will slowly decrease in number. It is believed that excess androgen is what causes acne problems, makes cramps worse, etc. It's almost like birth control in that it changes your hormonal balance, but more naturally and less drastically, and by lowering the amount of "male" hormones instead of driving up the amount of "female" hormones like BC does. Many sufferers of PCOS and/or hirsutism swear by spearmint tea, so if you want more information or other opinions it's easy to find alt-health stuff about it online.

          When I was using spearmint tea regularly (I use it only once in awhile now, if I have a bad cycle and feel like I need a slight hormone readjustment), I drank 2 cups a day every day. Some people say that they see the same effects by drinking 2 cups a day only in the first two weeks of their cycle, but at the time, I wasn't having regular cycles and so I couldn't tell precisely where that first "half" was, and also I loved the taste and mint tea also helped with the digestive issues I commonly had back then, so I just drank it every day. Pay attention though, and listen to your body, because it does have very real, if gradual, hormonal effects and it's possible to overdo it.

          Sorry so long! I just don't feel right mentioning spearmint tea without disclaimers about how it works and that it can be overused, but I also didn't want to not mention it because it's helped me and other so much and CW never mentions it of course.
          “The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” -- Joseph Campbell


          • #6
            I'm transitioning off being on the pill since i was 15.
            I'm a paleo foodie, come check out my recipes:


            • #7
              I'm in a week-long gap between packs of Yaz (I stupidly forgot to get the prescription renewed in time) after having been on it for three months and trying to eat 'primally' for one month. (I put 'primal' in air quotes because I'm not as conscientious about grass-fed/organic/raw foods as hardcore PBers seem to be. ) I've also tried Lo-Estrin and Lutera, both of which caused me (I felt) to have trouble maintaining a stable weight and (I know) to have AWFUL mood swings; when I decided to try Yaz, I wasn't optimistic, but it's been great--my moods are back to normal, the breast tenderness and cramping I used to get during PMS have vanished, and the progestin in it, drospirenone, helps to control acne and unwanted facial hair, similar to spironolactone. It also has a mild diuretic effect, the lack of which I've *definitely* been noticing this week. YMMV, of course, but the stability of my moods/lack of PMS symptoms has helped me considerably in sticking to the low-carb regimen prescribed by the PB, and since it amplifies (slightly) the reduced-water-retention effect, the lower number on the scale helps encourage me to keep going!

              I would also like to find a way to transition off of hormonal birth control, but until I can I'm finding Yaz to be a good solution. Some people, remembering the FDA recall in 2008/9 (can't remember) due to false advertising/inadequate warning labels, are not comfortable using it, but at least three gynecologists have assured me that they've no qualms whatsoever about prescribing it to healthy women. Anyhow, good luck!
              Last edited by barrkat; 07-25-2011, 02:29 PM.