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Checklist to Ditch Birth Control

What you need to know to come off the pill and IUD

Welcome to the Checklist!

So that's it, you're done with hormonal birth control!

Sometimes when you know, you know. And you're ready to take action asap.

I know the feeling, because I hear it constantly from women in my medical practice, and I was in the same position too! Twice! I stopped the pill after 7 years, and then took out the mirena IUD after 3 years.

For those of you who don't know me, I’m Dr. Maya Matthews, a Naturopathic Doctor with a burning passion to revamp the women's healthcare system and give women their power back!

And you know the biggest thing that took away my power and the power of my patients?

Hormonal birth control.

Yes of course having control of our reproductive rights is a HUGE deal, but not at the expense of knowledge and consent about the medical treatment of our bodies!

Here’s my problem with hormonal contraceptives:

  1. They're given out like candy to teens (I should know, I was a teen when I started the pill!)

  2. We are told that they fix our hormones

  3. They increase our risk for depression and anxiety

  4. They pause brain-ovary communication

  5. They can cause weight gain

  6. They squash your libido and sex drive and cause vaginal dryness

  7. They can worsen your stress response

  8. They cause nutrient deficiencies and detox issues

 

I'm not here to convince you to get off hormonal birth control.

That is entirely your decision, and obvs you have the right to do whatever you feel is best for your body!

And should you decide that you're over it, I can help!

This checklist will go over the top 5 things that I recommend in my private medical practice for women ready to ditch hormonal contraceptives.

So, your birth control likely wasn't used only to treat your period problems, it also had the obvious role in contraception!

There are lots of options to consider if you're still trying to prevent a pregnancy, especially if you want to avoid more synthetic hormones messing with your body!

Here are a few non-hormonal options to check out:

1. The copper IUD


This is a small device, inserted into the uterus that repels sperm using copper, which creates a slightly inflammatory environment in the uterus. This can stay implanted for up to 10 years. Due to the inflammatory nature of copper, I've seen it cause heavier periods and slightly more period cramping.

2. Fertility awareness tracking

You can predict when you ovulate by checking your temperature under the tongue every morning.  Since you can only get pregnant for up to 6 days per month around ovulation, if you avoid unprotected sex during those times, then you can gain confidence in tracking your cycle to avoid a pregnancy!

 

Here are 2 of my favourite options for women wanting to dive deeper into fertility awareness tracking:

  • Tempdrop: Wearable tech as an armband that tracks your temperature easily all night and sends the info to an app for analysis about your fertile window.

    • Get 10% off your first order with code "DrMaya" here

  • Natural Cycles: A thermometer and corresponding app that helps predict your fertile window for analysis.​​

3. Barrier methods like condoms or diaphragms

Condoms are getting better and more comfortable, and there are always new brands coming out with chemical-free ones that don't upset your vaginal ph with funky lubricants.

Oh hi!! Did I mention I’m a Naturopathic Doctor?

 

But hey, shameless plug or not, your family doctor likely isn't the right person to help you transition off birth control.

It's not their fault, they may not fully understand the risks of hormonal birth control. After all, in terms of pharmaceuticals, hormonal contraceptives are the best way to “treat” hormone problems. (ahem...clearly no one in that field has heard of the herb vitex or the importance of balancing your brain-ovary connection).

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So with that being said, get yourself a team of healthcare professionals who can fully support your desires and advocate for your autonomy!

Here are some suggestions:

  • Naturopathic Doctor

  • Holistic Nutritionist

  • Acupuncturist

  • Herbalist

Not only can this team help transition you off birth control, but they can also help you treat any potential hormone imbalances that come rearing their angry head after you stop.

Your poor body just spent how many years dealing with the onslaught of synthetic hormones?!

Time to give your liver some love!

Our liver is the first organ to filter out anything you put into your body. Everything from coffee, and alcohol, to Tylenol or hormonal contraceptives gets put through your liver. 

A sluggish liver is gonna mean slow hormone detox, and maybe even those hormones hanging out in your system longer and causing more havoc!

The first step to supporting your liver? Munch on some liver-loving foods like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts. I aim for 2-3 servings daily. These veggies are full of the compound called I-3-C which is then converted to DIM. This compound is a super cool plant enzyme that actually boosts liver function and helps the liver detox the body. 

Our body needs vitamins and minerals for hormone function.

But do you know what’s absolutely wild?

The pill makes you deficient in the exact nutrients your body NEEDS to fix its own hormones!

And what’s the best way to replenish your body of these vitamins and nutrients that were robbed from your body?

Whole foods!

I love a good meal full of veggies, whole grains, protein and fats.

If the food you’re eating has an ingredient list, put it back on the shelf because it's not gonna help you here.

My fav way to start the day with whole foods? A smoothie!

Try this hormone-healthy breakfast smoothie within 2 hours of waking up:

  • ½ banana

  • ½ cup of berries

  • ½ avocado

  • 1 tbsp flax seeds

  • handful of spinach

  • ¼ of a zucchini

  • almond butter

  • 1 serving of protein powder

  • spices to taste: cinnamon, ginger, cocoa powder

  • nut milk to desired consistency

Look at you go!

You made it off the synthetic hormones, you found another contraceptive option, you said buh-bye to the liver toxins and you filled your body with amazing nutrients!

But now, those hormone problems that were swept under the rug before starting the pill? Well they're back, and they're not happy about being ignored!

Even better, your body is likely dealing with another wave of hormone chaos after the sudden drop of synthetic hormones!

First, we’ve gotta figure out what sort of hormone imbalances we’re dealing with. Then you need a protocol to support your recovery from the pill AND rebalance your hormones to avoid period problems in the future!

If you're curious about your hormone levels, check out my hormone balance quiz here.

The last piece of the puzzle here​ is to actually take action. If you loved these tips and you're looking for more ways to heal your body after coming off birth control, you've gotta check out my free 5 Day Hormone Reset Challenge!

In this challenge, I'm dropping into your inbox daily with a quick 5 minute video with specific action steps to help guide you through the process. 

Join the challenge here.

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