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Getting Your Period Back After Birth Control

At Naturna, we see many women seeking to restart the reproductive aspect of their cycles after
years of being on oral contraception. Being on the pill essentially replaces your body’s natural
hormones with a strategic combination of synthetic ones that are designed to prevent
ovulation. The pharma-hormones trick the brain into thinking the ovaries are doing their
monthly thing, when in fact they are put into suppression mode. When the ovaries don’t
release an egg, pregnancy can be averted. Controlling the cycle in this manner can have side
benefits such as minimal PMS symptoms and relatively light monthly bleeds. For obvious
reasons, birth control medications can make some aspects of a woman’s life much more
convenient!

However, after the ovaries have been asleep in this way for a stretch of time, it can take a bit of
effort to wake them up again, and for the internal dance of hormone signaling between the
brain and ovaries to get back into homeostasis. Restoring your body’s internal hormone balance
is good for more than just fertility. Natural estrogens and progesterone are important for
healthy mood, metabolism, skin, hair and bones.

For some women, resuming regular ovulation happens naturally given a little bit of time,
perhaps as quickly as within a month or two. For others, it can take several or even many
months. When the motivation for going off birth control is a desire to get pregnant, the extra
time and uncertainty of this reset period can be a source of serious frustration and anxiety. This
is where the practitioners at Naturna can be a huge help.

Aside from the post-pill syndrome, there are other possible reasons for amenorrhea, such as
underweight, over-stress, or PCOS—all of which are potentially masked by the pill cycles. An
important question we’ll ask is what your periods were like before birth control. If they were
regular, and there are no other complicating issues, then chances are good that your cycles can
return with a modest amount of effort. Acupuncture is a phenomenal treatment modality for
regulating the menstrual cycle. Among other things, acupuncture stimulates the body to
regulate itself, enhances blood flow to targeted areas and is deeply calming for the nervous
system, which is necessary to allow for healing to happen. As a bonus, you are likely to see
improvements in related symptoms (if they are present), such as acne, anxiety, and poor sleep.

In addition to acupuncture treatments, we’ll talk with you about ways to optimize nutrition and
lifestyle habits to support the treatments, and recommend key herbs and/or supplements that
will enhance your efforts and fortify any deficiencies, and in turn help shorten the time frame
to achieving regular ovulation. Along the way, we’ll partner with you to fine-tune the treatment
approach in response to any changes in your condition or symptoms that may arise as the
healing process unfolds.

References:

Cochrane, S., Smith, C. A., Possamai-Inesedy, A., & Bensoussan, A. (2014). Acupuncture and
women’s health: an overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in
women’s reproductive health. International journal of women’s health, 6, 313–325.
https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S38969

Hwang J. H. (2019). Treatment of postpill amenorrhea with abdominal obesity by traditional
Korean medicine treatment focused on pharmacopuncture and moxibustion: A case report.
Medicine, 98(35), e16996. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000016996

Zhou, J., Yang, L., Yu, J., Wang, Y., & Liu, Z. (2017). Efficacy of acupuncture on menstrual
frequency in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: Protocol for a randomized, controlled
trial. Medicine, 96(47), e8828. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000008828

Manhattan Acupuncture and New York City Fertility Center