Best Way to Stop Birth Control Pills

by Lynn
(West Virginia)

Hi Wray- my friend was just told by her acupucturist that she is severely estrogen dominant and she needs to stop taking her birth control pill, but she wants her to wean off of them. Ironically, she went on the BCP when she was 40 to stop peri-menopause symptoms (headaches,rage,acne)- for about 5 years, the pill worked WONDERS for her- she lost 20 lbs, headaches went away, face looked perfect, but now it seems to have stopped working and now she is bloated and has probably gained back the 20 lbs plus another 10 lbs. I told her about my journey with BCP- I took them for most of my adult life and never had a problem- in fact, I think they kept me thin!! And then when I turned 45 years old, it was like I couldn't tolerate them anymore, started using NatPro to help with the estrogen dominance, but eventually just quit them cold turkey. The thing is that I don't work and I have a very understanding husband so I was able to basically be crazy and miserable for about six weeks- I ALMOST went for the bio-identicals but decided after 20 years of extra hormones, I would let my body rest, try to heal itself, and I just continue with your cream.

ANYWAY, my questions is this: should my friend wean herself off of the pill or just do it cold turkey? The acupucturist recommended skipping a pill every other day for two weeks and then assess the situation. I know you have a page about how to wean off of ONE HORMONE HRT's but what about pills that have both estrogen and progestrin. I'm sure its a very low dose pill but I would think that taking a pill every other day could really throw you off and cause headaches (that was my biggy coming off the pill- they were BAD, even with 1/2 a tube of your miracle cream!!)... I'm not trying to second guess the acupucturist... she is a 60 year old Chinese woman and the advice she gives my friend sounds like a lot of the stuff I read on this site. But I told her to hold off until I got your opinion. She goes to the acupucturist for headaches which I think are from the excess estrogen in her system, but this is the first time she told them she was on the pill.

Thank you, Wray!! :) Lynn

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Dec 14, 2012
Best Way to Stop Birth Control Pills
by: Wray

Hi Lynn So pleased the progesterone is helping you, and very relieved you avoided the bio hormones, always have oestrogen and sometimes testosterone included. It is better to wean off gently, although I do recommend starting the progesterone at least a month before doing so. The pill usually comprises an oestrogen half and a progestin half. So if she ignores this, and treats it as one drug and follows the protocol for coming off HRT etc, it should be fine. This is the link to the page Coming off HRT, the Pill etc, saves you looking for it. I'm glad she has a friend who can advise her, as it can be a bumpy road. I can't say whether she will get headaches, but hope not! We do have pages on the 'headaches, rage, acne' that she suffered from. Understanding why they occur can help, see Migraines, Aggression and Acne. If a headache should start, she should rub the cream all over her neck, under her ears and over her face. This gets to the problem quickly than applying it elsewhere. Please advise her about using it at least twice a day too. It really doesn't matter how many times it's used, the idea it to stop any unpleasant symptoms. Let me know how she gets on. Take care Wray

Dec 14, 2012
More questions about stopping BCP
by: Lynn

Thank you so much for your comments, Wray. My friend was advised to alternate one day on/one day off from BCP to start the weaning process. She decided to give it a try a few days ago- she skipped a day and had a mild headache by the end of the day- nothing she couldn't handle, but the next day when she took her pill, her left hand was shakey and the left side of her face was numb. That went away in about 20 minutes but then she got a MASSIVE headache- I let her borrow some of my NATPRO and it helped. But I think your method seems much milder, even though it takes longer. I am printing out that page for her and I will be ordering several tubes of NATRPO for her... it will be her Christmas present!

Here are our questions:
1. Her pill is Alysse and it has .02 estrogen and .10 progesterone in all 21 pills and then 7 days of sugar pills. For many years, she has been taking the sugar pills for 2-3 days and then starting the new pack. I used to do the same thing because the headaches from the drop in hormones was ridiculous- my doctor said this was safe and apparently, hers did also. So, while she is doing this method of weaning off, should she ignore the whole 'week off" and just found the weaning process?

2. Back to her pill, there isn't an oestrogen half and a progesterone half like you mention it could be, its the same exact pill for all 21 days- does that still make it okay to do the weaning process?

3. In your opinion, is the one day on, one day off too harsh to start with? What is that doing exactly and why do you think it made her so sick? She said it felt like she was withdrawing and then loading up again- what will happen if once armed with plenty of NATPRO if she does go cold turkey?

4. The main reason she wants to go off the pill is because it isn't doing any of the things it used to do for her... used to keep her slim, keep her energetic and happy and calm... is it normal for a pill that once worked for all of these things to stop working once a woman reaches the mid-40's? I think she is wondering if it is the pill that is doing this. She is TERRIBLY bloated- and the morning after the acupuncturist appt, she had a waist again... she didn't take the pill that night and still had the waistline. The next day was her 'on' pill day and by that night, she said all the bloat had come back- I didn't see her then, only after the acupuncture treatment.

Any insight you could give would be wonderful!! Thank you for your guidance... there is just too much information out there. We've both made appointments with the same natural doctor but new patients can't get in until February 25th... that's over 2 months away! That should say something about the help that women are craving!

Much love to you Wray- Lynn from WV

Dec 15, 2012
More questions about stopping BCP
by: Wray

Hi Lynn How anyone could recommend doing one day on and one day off beats me. That's a 50% reduction, far too fast! Far too harsh. That would prolong any side affects, better to go cold turkey and get it over and done with. But I would never recommend that either. How kind of you to give her some for Christmas! Thanks for giving me the info on the pill, I forgot some of them have sugar pills. She must avoid that section, as it would cause a sharp drop in the hormones. And she would get the same reaction she had trying the one off/one on pill protocol. Re your number 2, it makes it easier to do the weaning process. It's much as I said previously, ignore the oestrogen half and progestin half which is how I thought her pill packet was designed. Even using the progesterone I wouldn't recommend cold turkey, it took you 6 weeks to recover. The drop in the synthetic hormones would still cause problems, but if after a month on the progesterone she wants to try it, she can. But be prepared! The Alysee contains levonorgestrel, a progestin plus ethinyl estradiol, see here. I'm amazed she felt well on it. Levonorgestrel has been shown to lower progesterone levels, plus impeding the blood flow in the uterine arteries, see here. This is another paper here. Levonorgestrel is derived from testosterone, so has androgenic properties. It's the progestin used in the Mirena IUD. You might like to read these comments here from women who've used the Mirena. Our hormones do change over the course of Peri-menopause, even when being being suppressed by the synthetics. They don't stop all ovarian function, just lower the production of the hormones, plus of course stopping ovulation and as a consequence, progesterone. She's evidently making excess oestrogen as this causes water retention and bloating. Luckily progesterone is an excellent diuretic, see our page on Traumatic Brain Injury. Glad you've both found a doctor practicing natural medicine, a rare breed! Blessings to you too, take care Wray

Jan 09, 2015
Coming off progestin-only birth control
by: Cait

Not sure if this thread is active but I'm desperate so figured it couldn't hurt to ask!

I’m 30 years old and I have been on birth control since I was probably 16 or so, but about 20 months ago I was switched (because of issues with migraines) to a progestin-only (synthetic progesterone) pill. With this type, you never take placebo pills (aka you never give your body a break). So, for the last almost 2 years I've been taking synthetic progesterone every day. I shudder thinking about it now :(

About 2 1/2 weeks ago I decided to quit taking my pills - I just wanted to see what "normal" would feel like after 14 years! Had I known what I was in for I probably would’ve weaned off slowly and/or checked myself into rehab!

The timing was already bad since I was just coming down with the flu but at the time, I didn’t even think about the fact that stopping BC would have any side effects. Boy was I wrong. I knew something was different than the normal flu due to the immediate onslaught of terrible anxiety! I was "certain" I had some terrible illness and/or going crazy and I was constantly crying because all I wanted to do was feel better. I was feeling so nuts that I thought maybe the holidays had brought on a psychotic break and this was it, time to check myself into the mental hospital.

After doing tons of research I guess it’s no wonder as soon as I quit my "daily dose" of progesterone cold turkey I had some issues.

I have not gotten my period yet and I don’t even know when to expect it (my periods were so irregular on the pill thats part of the reason I decided to stop). I have been having cramps off and on for the past week but nothing more than that.

My question is: can I use progesterone cream to help me over this hump until things get back to normal? I swear I could deal with any side effect but the anxiety has been the worst and like I hear many women say "I just want to feel like myself again."

I have also heard of people getting relief from Chasteberry/Vitex but wasn't sure if you can use both?

Thank you so much!

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