Where's My Period? The Return Of Your Cycle After Getting Off The Pill.
Well intended doctors put you on the pill to regulate your cycle when you were, what, ..15? Or you had your first serious boyfriend in college at 22, started taking the pill, and and just kept taking that little sucker on the daily ever since...because, why not?
And now you're in your 30's and you realize you have too few fingers to count the years you've been on the pill. We're talking 12, 15, 20 years of popping synthesized hormones that trick your body into thinking its pregnant so as to stop the release of an egg from the ovaries. And so, you're understandably a little nervous. Will all those years of preventing pregnancy with the pill hinder your fertility success?
The news is mostly good. Studies have reported some delay in Time-To-Conception (TTC) for couples after discontinuing the use of oral contraceptives. The GOOD NEWS is the delay is reported as temporary and mostly limited to the first few months after discontinuation. In fact, 12 month conception rates for former oral contraceptive users range in the healthy 72% to 94% (with similar rates for IUD 72%-94%, Progestin-only contraceptives (70%-95%), condoms (91%), and natural family planning (92%)).
But what if you're one of those gals who's given it a few months and still nothing? You wait...and wait...and wait for your next regular period, knowing your menses is a sign that ovulation has occurred, your hormones are regulated, and your reproductive organs are primed and ready for conception?
In Chinese Medicine, you my friend, most likely fall into a common diagnostic pattern we acupuncturists like to call Blood Deficiency. Check out your tongue in the mirror. Pull back your lower eyelids and take a gander. Are they pale? Do you often feel fatigued? Do you have a tendency towards dry hair, nails or eyes? How about bruises- are you a peach and bruise easily? Does your memory seem a wee bit sluggish? All or some of these signs can point to a diagnosis of Blood Deficiency after taking the pill for so many years.
If this is the case, I recommend seeing an acupuncturist who will help build up your Blood and regulate your cycle. They will use herbs to boost your blood and get your reproductive system back to being flush with Qi and the right hormones. It may take up to 6 months to get your ovulation back on track- but stay strong- it will happen with help.
Besides seeing an acupuncturist, I recommend adding the below foods to your diet:
-Beets on the daily if you can manage
-Organic red meat 2-3 times a week
-Bone Broths (see "What The Heck Is Bone Broth? And Why Are You Making Me Eat This Gelatinous Soup?)
-Goji Berries (found at Whole Foods, Sprouts and other health food stores)
-Leafy greens like Kale or Spinach
-Beans (combined with a grain like Quinoa)
-Spirulina /blue green algae
-Iron with Vitamin C, B12
You can also try rebooting your mind body connection with the Natural Cycle For Fertility Program from Circle & Bloom (see: Meditation for Fertility: A Review of Circle and Bloom)
Remember, if you've been on the pill since you were a teenager, your body has been on autopilot for over a decade. It is a pretty spectacular machine but every once in a while don't forget to cut it a little slack.