Raise your hand if you’re on the Pill. Now – how many of you are on the Pill for reasons OTHER THAN birth control? Yes, I know I can’t actually see hands going up but in my mind I can picture the number shooting on up there. How? Because I see it in my practice all the time – women who are on the Pill not because they’re avoiding a baby, but because they’re avoiding the unpleasant symptoms that accompany a different unwanted arrival – their period. From acne to bloating to irregularity to mood swings that make them feel like they’re auditioning for the role of mental-patient-bitch-from-hell in the movie of their life – I’ve seen basically every PMS related reason for sending women running to the Pill for relief. And I understand – I do. After all – how are women supposed to know that this strategy isn’t a good one if their doctor practically pushes it on them and the majority of the girlfriends are in the same boat taking shelter under the same misconception?
So today I am going to tackle some of the most pervasive myths about the Pill so you can begin to understand why finding a holistic approach to tackling PMS is the way to go.
Myth #1: The Pill helps regulate your cycle
Did you know that when the Pill was first developed, it was actually illegal to sell contraceptives? Instead, the Pill was ostensibly prescribed to “normalize” periods. “Normalize” was a quaint euphemism which really just meant to be “not pregnant”. In other words: it was secret cover story that was invented to allow women to take control of their bodies and sexuality.
The Pill has many functions, but certainly not to regulate your cycle. It actually prevents you from having a cycle by making your body believe you are pregnant. The hormones you take ensure that you do not ovulate. When you do not ovulate, there will be no menstruation. Therefore the bleeding that happens in the “pill free week” is there to keep the illusion alive – it is a fake bleeding. So how can it regulate a non-existing cycle? It can’t.
A truly balance cycle comes from balanced hormones (duh!), and the Pill does not do this. In fact, the Pill influences the body’s natural production of estrogen and progesterone, which can cause women to have a hard time rebalancing after coming off the pill. It can take months to a couple of years to normalize hormones after coming off the pill.
Truly balancing your hormones happens the same way you’d successfully address any imbalance in the body: through good diet, lifestyle habits, and a positive mind. And a good seed cycle – something I’ll be addressing in my next blog post!
Myth #2: The Pill gets rid of acne
This is one I see ALL THE TIME in my practice. And guess what – it’s total BS. As I mentioned in myth #1, the Pill does not regulate your cycle and does not balance your hormones. In fact, the Pill actually exacerbates any existing imbalances, meaning that when you finally need to tackle the actual cause of your acne you’re even further behind then when you started.
Addressing acne (and all skin issues) starts with addressing gut health and liver health (since internal toxicity on the inside will present on the outside as your skin tries to detox the overflow); then we move on to the delicate process of rebalancing hormones. And it is a process. There is no quick-fix for your hormonal imbalance. You need to align these delicate hormones with care and attention. That is how you get rid of hormonal acne.
Myth #3: The Pill reduces cramping and other symptoms
I know women who go through extreme difficulties during their period. Sometimes so extreme that they are bed bound for days, and are even vomiting from the pain. Some women will experience migraines or tsunami’s of emotions that drown them in depression. If this is you and you feel a relief by taking the Pill, know that I have compassion for this situation; but you must also know that you are not helping your health. And (most importantly), if you wish to truly heal, you will need to quit the Pill and start treating the real root causes for these emotions and pain.
There are lots of natural remedies for painful or disruptive periods. Rose hip tea or cinnamon and warm coconut milk are great for cramps; a heating pad on your lower back is great for back pain; meditation, yoga and self-care practices like a massage help with moodiness; and for a longer term strategy to mood imbalances you can try taking a daily natural mood boosting supplement like GABA (best for anxiety), St. John’s Wort or 5HTP (which also helps with sleep).
But again – the only long-term solution is balancing those crazy hormones!
Myth #4: The Pill will ease Endometriosis and ovarian cysts (PCOS)
Endometriosis and PCOS are two hormonal conditions that come with a variety of symptoms. Often very extreme symptoms such as profound pain or fertility issues. If this is you, then please do not get tempted by the idea that the Pill or any other pill will magically heal the underlying root.
When the body knocks on your door with a loud knock like that, it really urges you to take care with attention and a holistic approach. The idea of changing your lifestyle may seem intense, but it certainly is not as intense as the side effects of Endometriosis or PCOS.
As I tell all my clients and followers, rebalancing the body (no matter what the issues is) takes TIME. There is no quick fix and it happens step by step and body system by body system, almost always starting with healing the gut first and foremost.
However I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t leave you with a little something delicious to help you get started on your path to healing! Enter today’s recipe for my Chocolate Maca Hormone Balancing Smoothie.
Maca is a root that’s grown in South America and has been used for its medicinal benefits for thousands of years. Not only is maca very nutrient dense, with protein, fiber, magnesium, and a higher calcium level than milk, maca is considered an adaptogen, which is a unique class of herbs that help support our adrenal glands and our stress response. Maca benefits can include increased fertility in men and women, hormone balance, PMS relief, energy, mood, and memory boost.
Like any supplement, it’s best to start with a small amount until you know how your body reacts (adaptogens can be very stimulating for some resulting in feelings of anxiety). 1 tablespoon is a standard daily dose, but starting with 1/2 teaspoon is a good idea. As always these supplements should not be used in place of physician care. Some people, including those on hormone-altering medications, or pregnant or breastfeeding moms should avoid maca.
I know it can all seem over whelming – but I promise with some time, patience and self-love you can conquer your hormone problems! And I’m here for you if you want to get started together.
The Natural Blonde
Chocolate Maca Hormone Balancing Smoothie
• 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
• ½ banana
• ½ cup steamed then frozen cauliflower (optional but recommended for liver support)
• 2 Tbsp. collagen (or vanilla plant-based protein powder)
• 1 Tbsp. Maca powder*
• 1 Tbsp. flax seeds
• 1 Tbsp. pumpkinseeds or pumpkinseed butter (or natural nut butter of choice)
• ½ Tbsp. unsweetened cacao powder (preferably raw)
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!
*if you’re just starting to use Maca start with ½ tsp. for a few days then slowly work your way up to ensure you can tolerate it.