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Why I Have Opted into Holistic Women's Health - The latest of my journey

In todays modern age, a vast majority of us as women regularly use synthetic birth control methods. However, did you know the side-affects of this medication can have detrimental effects on your health today and even down the road!? This has been a topic that I have had a lot of conviction around and I would love to share my journey with you as I safely wean from the medication and restore my health.


I’ve been on a contraceptive birth control pill for the last 9 - 10 months for Accutane. Now that my treatments are complete, I would love to get off of birth control pills and track my cycle naturally. I wanted to record my own personal journey as personal research and for others to reference when they are going through the same journey. The reasons that I have decided to transition to natural pregnancy prevention are:


I don't feel like myself. I have low libido, lower energy, and I have noticed that I really just am a meaner person on birth control. To be honest!


I don’t feel as though I need birth control to balance my hormones. I originally got on birth control in order to be able to take accutane for my cystic hormonal acne. Now that the acne has subsided, I would like to see if I can get off birth control and still maintain clear skin so that this can be my reality in the long run. (note: birth control does not truly balance your hormones)


I am not very good at taking a pill every single day, especially when my schedule changes.


I want to be in touch with my own body and have the least amount of synthetics running through my veins as possible. This goes along with my beliefs against ‘Big Pharma’ putting a band-aid on all of our issues instead of finding root causes and treating ailments at the root. Band-aids don't work! But, I digress. That is a topic for another day.


Healthy pregnancy - of course, I do not want children for a very long time. I do want to have them and be as healthy as possible when that time comes. Hormonal birth control depletes the exact nutrients + minerals your body needs for a healthy pregnancy (per Dr. Jolene Brighten, Beyond the Pill). It can take up to 12 months to fully recover after getting off the pill.


Healthy aging - oftentimes, hormonal birth control can decrease your progesterone levels. Progesterone is known as a youth associated hormone because it runs higher during your youth. Overtime, if your progesterone decreases, your estrogen can gain control and increase aging by taking oxygen from the mitochondria of cells. The body needs thyroid hormones, cholesterol, and vitamin A to produce this hormone well, which are usually depleted when taking hormonal birth control.


With the increase in aging and estrogen taking oxygen from cells, this can also cause increased wrinkles, cellulite, and other skin issues that come with aging.


Thyroid health - birth control depletes you of nutrients that are essential for thyroid function. I want to prevent thyroid or any autoimmune issues that can occur later in life after taking the pill for so long


I posted a poll on my Instagram a few days ago asking if anyone has tried tracking their cycle or balancing their hormones naturally and to much of my surprise, many women did not even know what this was! That shows a huge flaw in the education and medical systems— that women of childbearing ages don't even know their options or that they can potentially be in control of their reproductive health naturally.





THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE


Today I will cover what the menstrual cycle is. This will be the basis for myself as I get off of the contraceptive pill. I am approaching what is called menstruation— which is my period. When this starts, I will be at the beginning of my menstrual phase and this will be the time that I no longer take the birth control pill after my sugar pills run out.


The menstrual cycle is known to last around 28 days on average. However, this can vary from woman to woman. Some cycles have been known to last only 21 days, while others can last up to 35 days. As I said before, menstruation starts on the first day of your period and lasts until the day before you get your next period. During this time, you get through 2 different phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. Each last 12-16 days each.


Menstruation and the Follicular Phase


The follicular phase is the first phase of the menstrual cycle and starts with your period. Your period will last 3-6 days on average for healthy women. Your period, also known as menstruation, can be known as a sub-phase during the follicular phase. During this time, your body is shedding its uterus lining and preparing itself for ovulation. You cannot get pregnant during this phase.


As your follicular phase progresses, your estrogen levels will rise and fall once you start to ovulate, which happens at the end of the follicular phase and goes into the start of the luteal phase. A rise in estrogen can mean many things.


Ovulation


When a woman ovulates, her body is thickening the lining of the uterus, releasing an egg from the ovaries, and is readying the body for conception of a baby. This 5 day window happens at the end of the follicular phase and goes into the luteal phase.


Luteal Phase


Once a woman has ovulated, she is then in her follicular phase. This phase is when the corpus luteum (cells in the ovaries) release progesterone in order to thicken the uterus lining so that a fertilized egg can attach to the wall and grow. If not pregnant, the corpus luteum dies, and that is when the uterus lining is shed, starting the menstruation (period) phase again, beginning a new menstrual cycle.



I would like to add as a caveat that when you are on a hormonal birth control pill, you do not have an actual period. It is a pharmaceutical-induced weakening of the uterus lining from the absence of real hormones causing it. 🙂



I will blog more in depth about each phase as I go through them so that we all have a better understanding of what is happening during each phase, how we can trouble-shoot symptoms during each phase, and what nutrition and fitness best-practices there are for each stage.

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