Ask An Herbalist: Birth control withdrawal symptoms.

Gavi asks:

Hi there!
I am 18 and recently stopped taking birth control (combination pill) after 2 years because It made all of my symptoms much worse and I didn't like the idea of messing with my natural cycle! I've done a lot of research and heard about people breaking out with bad acne or having other withdrawal symptoms and that certain herbs can help. So I am taking DIM, Maca and Evening Primrose to balance hormones and also Wild Yam which should be effective as partial birth control after a few months. I was wondering if there is anything I should be worried about with taking these supplements together? I also take allergy herbs and vitamin C for my seasonal allergies and am on Lexapro. Thank you so much!!!!


Hello Gavi!

I am so happy to hear you have taken the journey into having a real menstrual cycle again! Many women don't know that when they bleed while on birth control that they are not actually having their period. Anyhow this is what I would do if I was in your shoes. I'd stop taking all of the reactive herbs you've mentioned here and give my body a break from the crazy forced up's and downs of hormones and dive deeply into optimum nutrition by drinking nourishing herbal infusions daily and making sure i ate a well varied diet with good levels of healthy grass fed animal fats.

First I would begin drinking a few cups of stinging nettle infusion daily shoot in hot months i can drink up to a cold quart a day! Nettle is a powerhouse of nutrition she even blows blue green algae out of the water! She not only quickly rebuilds true lasting energy she supports healthy adrenals which in turn helps our hormones regulate. Also she will do more for your seasonal allergies in the long run than allergy meds(I see that you actually say allergy herbs not meds in either case Nettle is great for seasonal allergies I'd also suggest Golden Rod tincture.) or vitamin C pills. Which both can do damage when taken long term. 

After drinking a nettle infusion for 3-4 days in a row i would switch to red clover infusion, she is an amazing healing ally to women. She will help regulate hormones very gently, nourish our womb, prevent cancer also if you use her during your cycle your cramps will be much less and the spotting/light flow that can sometimes come from use of birth control can be quickened and if you find your flow now is violent she will calm it, a beautiful gentle regulator that tastes amazing warm with some sweet cream! But as she is a natural blood thinner (just like any pain med you've used for cramps) you don't want to drink her for more than 3-4 days in a row. Which is fine because after 3-4 days I would switch to my next healing ally.

Comfrey(hybrid/garden variety not wild) this ally does not mess around at healing us from the inside out. Lovingly known as knit bone for her ability to quicken the healing of broken bones and her crazy high levels of calcium. But in your case she will heal your skin and prevent the acne you are concerned about. My teenage son uses an infusion daily as a face wash and has almost no acne after just a month of daily use. She is also an amazing healer of gut and vaginal health just from drinking a humble cup once for a few days. She is the main ally I use in all of my tallow based face creams that many love.

When you get to the end just start all over again with the Nettle! I promise in a matter of a few months with daily use of herbal infusions your mind will be blown with how much better you feel and i'd be pretty shocked if you weren't back on a steady cycle. When you find yourself on a normal to you cycle I would start tracking my ovulation week, which would in reality be more reliable as a partial birth control than wild yam especially since many women use wild yam with success I might add to increase their fertility!

One last thing I'd like to talk on a bit again. Healthy animal fats. Healthy fats from ethically raised grass fed animals are so vital in a woman's body especially when it comes to hormone regulation and general reproductive area health, shoot health in general. Even if you are a vegan consider adding in just a cup or bone broth and a cup of plain whole milk yogurt daily like a supplement. Your body will thank you for it! 

No need to be intimidated on making herbal infusions here's a short simple video that shows just how easy they are!

Kindest Regards,

April G.

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