How to Balance Hormones Without The Pill
ByKatarina Meister, ND •October 10, 2023
Although hormonal contraception was designed to prevent pregnancy, most women are not actually on the pill for contraception. More and more women are using the pill to regulate their periods, reduce menstrual cramps and pain, reduce acne, and/or manage PCOS and endometriosis. The pill is often the only tool a traditional gynecologist can offer women for their female hormonal imbalances. Women are consistently looking for natural alternatives to the pill for managing non-contraceptive complaints, as well as their intuitive drive to understand their bodies and hormones better. This is where I think naturopathic medicine shines- providing more resources and alternative treatment options for optimizing a woman’s health.
Many women want to balance their hormones naturally without the side effects of hormonal contraceptives. There are many effective options to naturally reduce PMS, menstrual pain, inflammation, acne, mood swings, and so much more. I have also seen how nutrition plays an important role in balancing hormones. Transitioning off the pill might mean that your acne comes back… or your periods are heavy. This does not mean you have to live with these things forever! Taking steps to dig deeper can help to shine a light on areas that are causing the problem in the first place.
If you are on the pill, it is recommended you take a multivitamin with folate.As the pill depletes the following nutrients: B2, B5, Folate (B9), B12, Vitamin C, and Zinc.[i] The most notable is folate – which helps protect against neural tube defects for pregnant women, which may occur before a woman realizes she is pregnant. While the pill does help lower risk of contraception, it is still possible to get pregnant while on the pill. In fact, 50% of pregnancies are unplanned.[ii] Women who are planning to conceive shortly after using oral contraception are at risk of low folate status. This is why it is critical that women during childbearing ages should supplement with folate while taking the pill and immediately following usage.[iii]
Top causes of hormonal imbalances:
- Poor nutrition
- Overtraining or over-exercising
- Thyroid disorder
- Poor liver clearance
- Gut dysbiosis
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- Nutrient deficiencies (Iron, B12)
- Endocrine disruptors
For those looking to balance your hormones naturally continue reading to learn more:
[i] Webb JL. Nutritional effects of oral contraceptive use: a review. J Reprod Med. 1980 Oct;25(4):150-6. PMID: 7001015.
[ii] Finer LB, Zolna MR. Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006. Contraception. 2011 Nov;84(5):478-85. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2011.07.013. Epub 2011 Aug 24. PMID: 22018121; PMCID: PMC3338192.
[iii] Shere M, Bapat P, Nickel C, Kapur B, Koren G. Association Between Use of Oral Contraceptives and Folate Status: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2015 May;37(5):430-438. doi: 10.1016/S1701-2163(15)30258-9. PMID: 26168104.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.