The Effects Of Getting Off Birth Control

After 19 years on birth control I decided to give my body a break and leave pregnancy with my beloved and dedicated partner up to chance.The pill has served me well I must say. I neither gained weight nor did I have other side effects. It was all pretty wonderful actually: beautiful, clear skin, lots of hair (even-though fine strands of it), super light – almost non existent periods – and a pretty level mood. I did develop cellulite on my legs despite healthy eating and exercise, even though I am naturally thin. However, in my late 20s, my body decided to store more fat cells in form of cellulite, which later turned out to be a side effect of the constant hormone input. Soon after being depleted of the extra estrogen, my cellulite vanished and I was in high spirits. I decided that all the reading about hair falling out and pimple attacks on the internet were just a few individual experiences until my testosterone went into overdrive about 1 month after – and my hair came out in bushels any time I ran my fingers through it. One of my biggest nightmares started to unfold – the other one was about my teeth falling out – and I was under the impression that this would have to stop SOON! Wrong. The shedding took about 3-4 months until it finally subsided and I now I can see brand new baby hairs popping out of my skull, framing my head like soft feathers. To make things worse, 4 months in, my skin started to produce a lot more oil in areas were more oil was uncalled for: my once flawless back and forehead turned into a red pimple landscape while my scalp was producing so much oil I would have to wash my hair twice in a day sometimes in order to be able to face the world without a baseball cap. I was devastated. My once full head of hair was only a half-full head of hair and in addition I also had to deal with unexpected skin issues as a result of the hormonal change. One does under estimate the power of hormones. It’s been a little over 5 months since I stopped taking artificial hormones and a lot more hair is growing back. Summertime will allow me to look like a Hippy again at that rate it’s growing back!

One other thing I have noticed was that I have been much more prone to infections. Colds, flues, skin infections. It’s like I just get over one thing, the next problem arises. Let’s see, since that August I had cellulites as in bacterial skin infection, which developed after playing tennis on a very hot summer day. A blister turned into a very painful red, swollen foot, with a red line quickly traveling upward to my heart, indicating a blood infection..After that I often felt extremely tired and exhausted. Only with utter willpower I mustered to pull myself up and out of bed, zombie-walking to the subway station. The timeframe from then until now was interspersed with cold symptoms, eczema outbreaks, extremely itchy eyes, blepharitis, contact dermatitis etc. In short, my immune system was squashed. Despite frantic “googleing” I could make a rhyme on why exactly that was. Was my body really so inept to adapt to it’s own hormones? I still have to find the answer. And feel free to submit your thoughts. I am curious! Really!

Here a few things I have found helped in the transition from synthetic to natural hormones:

For the skin (I have naturally very dry skin)
INTAKE
• Vitamin B complex
• Omega 3 / Due to my eczema I up the dose, so I am taking – 1,000 mg 3 times a day, but if you’re just taking it for skin maintenance, 1000mg a day should be good, however ask your nutritionist for advise, and don’t take my word for it
• Lots of veggies, quinoa, brown rice, flax seeds, hemps seeds, chia seeds, nuts – basically anything that humankind has been eating all the thousand of years BEFORE the industrial revolution – a no brainer
• Drink tons of water/tea (green, white, oolong)
• Olive Leaf Extract came quite recommended to me because of its benefits, it’s a great antifungal and antibacterial and supposed to combat athlete’s foot, mycotic nails, yeast infections, etc.

APPLY
• An absolute dirt-cheap and highly effective skin peeling for face & body:
- Mix a half a spoon of light-brown sugar with a dollop of Cetaphil cleanser and you got yourself a luxurious, creamy peeling, that is coarse enough to get rid of old skin cells, yet mild enough to not irritate your skin. Only a few ingredients and it really works great! Try not to massage to hard, the sugar will do the job even if you just lightly massage your skin (face).

Eucerin Daily Replenishing Lotion works wonders for me, as it’s very moisturizing without leaving a sticky film

• Use a non-comedogenic skincare lotion without fragrances and alcohol (which tends to be drying and force the skin to produce more oil), I like Caudalie’s skincare line and Physiogel Hyperallergenic (which you have to order from Amazon unfortunately) as I cant find it being sold in stores in the states

I hope I could be of help and will definitely post an update in a few months, or when things appear to balance themselves out. Until then – be good to your mind & body!

3 Comments

  1. Emmy Hennings

    Hi,

    I stumbled across your blog as I myself came off birth control (Microgynon 30) three months ago, having been using it since I was 19 (I am now 24) and have been experiencing similar symptoms that you have described!

    First of all I got eyelid Eczema/Blepharitis/Contact Dermatitis. My eyelids became red, itchy, puffy and swollen, this happen about a month after I stopped the pill and has only started to improve recently, and I still can’t wear my normal make-up and they are still slightly red :(

    Then a week ago, I got dry patches of red itchy eczema on my jawline and cheeks. The only change I have made to my routine is coming off the pill and I know it can cause acne flare ups but wasn’t sure about eczema (which I have never suffered from before).

    I am presuming all of this is happening to me due to hormonal imbalance as I am no longer on the pill, it’s been three months now and my eczema is still really bad. I wondered how long it took you after coming off the pill for things to go back to normal?

    I also have just read your blog in regards to Shampoos – very interesting!

    Reply
  2. BionicGirl

    Hi Emmy,
    thanks for your comment! It took about 6-8 month, until it subsided. But I also got pregnant which again shifted my hormones around and effected my eczema/rashes I had been suffering since going off the pill in a positive way. During my entire pregnancy I had not one skin outbreak of any kind, which was really interesting. Thankfully to this day (4 month post partum) my skin is still great (like it was while I was on birth control). I am convinced it’s a hormonal thing, at least for me. I am also taking a “New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily Multi Vitamin” as well as two capsules of Omega 3s. Not sure if they do anything to help, but I am feeling better than ever.

    Maybe you could check in with an endocrinologist and see what he says. I never went, but it can’t hurt to get his opinion. When I was suffering from that imbalance nothing seemed to help. I made sure to not aggravate the condition by not using any fragrances and just mild soap (Dr Brommers fragrance free soap for example). I am using Juice Beauty Nutrient Moisturizer and tried the Calendula shampoo (http://www.babobotanicals.com/) as well as Babyganics-Eczema-Protectant-Cream, and BabyTime by Episencial Cheeky Salve. The latter is great for putting on the eyelid to keep it moisturized for the night. The next morning my eyelid always looked better. I personally dislike products containing mineral oil, as they make my skin dry out worse than it was before and it’s a petroleum by product. There is tons of info on the web about it, so it’s what makes you feel comfortable. The Cheeky Salve is great and doesn’t contain mineral oil to my knowledge.

    I also noticed that once I started drinking more goat milk kefir and eating more Sauerkraut – both probiotic foods good for your gastrointestinal tract, my skin responded positively as well. I encourage you in cutting down sugars and start eating more yoghurts with live cultures or other probiotic foods (like Miso soup). I am obviously not a doctor, but these were the findings I discovered while suffering and hope that they help anyone suffering after getting off birth control.

    Reply
  3. Emmy Hennings

    Hi again,

    I am glad your skin cleared up in the end and congratulations on the baby!

    I have been taking Omega 3, Vitamin E, Zinc and B6 supplements so hope that it time that will make some kind of improvement.

    I have also heard that maca powder is good for balancing hormones, however, I have a doctors appointment in two weeks about my skin so will ask him his opinion on maca before taking it as it can have some negative side effects.

    I really hope I don’t get given steroid cream again, as I won’t be using it!

    Reply

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