You know us - we believe that birth control has a necessity to say the least. Not all hormonal and non-hormonal options work for everyone, we firmly believe that we can find a birth control option that’ll do right by you. Most of us will probably switch contraceptive methods at some point in our lives and there is a lot of arbitrary advice on “how-to get off hormonal birth control”. I’m sure you’ve also seen the videos telling you to go on a “low-carb diet” or “drink this concoction to detox your liver”, hence the creation for the “however-many-days birth control cleanse”.
What is a birth control cleanse?
So what the hell is it exactly? Most birth control cleanses promote themselves as a way to “balance your hormones and cycles” as you stop your hormonal birth control. The supposed outcome of the birth control cleanse prompts liver function, supports uterine health, and prepares your body for pregnancy. Don’t get us wrong, we are open to all innovative health products, but we have a couple questions…(okay maybe we’re a little biased).
Dr. Thara Vayali, ND, from Reya’s medical team said this about the birth control cleanse, “Cleanses are hot marketing lingo with little substance to what it means for any one product. Granted that some cleanse kits may have valuable nutrients and herbs for any menstruating person, in no way do you need to clean something out of you after taking birth control.”
We think it’s important to remember that these “cleanse” products are not miracle workers.
What you might experience after stopping birth control
It’s not uncommon for you to experience some changes post-birth control. According to Healthline, these are some of the symptoms you might experience:
menstrual cycle irregularities
Birth control and fertility
One of the most troubling claims we have with birth control cleanses on the market is that it’ll help “prepare your body for pregnancy”. We think that’s a bit off-putting to say the least. To say that your body needs some type of cleanse after birth control to become pregnant, is basically insinuating that birth control harms your fertility - which totally isn’t true.
So you might wonder - how long after stopping birth control can you get pregnant? Well, there’s lots of different answers to that, depending on your contraceptive method. For something like the combination pill it might take 1-3 months to get pregnant versus the ‘mini pill’ which might only take days. Perhaps one of the longest forms of birth control might be something like the Depo-Provera shots, which might take 10-18 months before you next ovulate. This timing is different for everyone, and we’re here to remind you to be kind to your body in this process while it finds its biological rhythm.
Another common question that might come up would be;
It’s absolutely safe! There was definitely a time where there were some misconceptions that surrounding birth control and miscarriages. Luckily, that’s been disproven to be true.
Do I need supplements to replenish my hormones after birth control?
Short answer - you don’t need to worry about taking additional steps to “balance” out your body post-birth control. Even these “cleanses” say, “...your body is pretty amazing and, as we said before, can handle this process on its own...it takes 3-6 months for the body to eliminate the unwanted hormones and re-regulate.” But they also don’t claim to fast-forward that process? It all seems a bit unclear, so we reached out to our Reya Medical Team to hear more of their thoughts:
Reya’s own, Dr. Rahima Alani, MD, says that, “when we use hormonal birth control, just the way our bodies absorb the hormone(s), our bodies also have ways to break down the hormone(s) and eliminate it. So the idea that we need to take additional vitamins/supplements to "cleanse" our bodies from our birth control just doesn't make sense.”
Dr. Thara Vayali, ND, also notes that - like how “deciding on the best birth control option for you is an individualized approach; selecting nutrients and herbs that are appropriate for hormonal symptoms is also individualized. Detox in a box is not based on individual physiological needs.” What we can take away from this is - though the ‘cleanses’ may not be harmful, there is no science behind the product to back-up the fantastical claims.
We’re going to have to say - save your money! If you’re coming off birth control and are experiencing some abnormal symptoms, the best thing to do is have an in-depth conversation and personalized plan with a medical professional about your experiences.
For the rest of us, we can rest assured and just keep doing what we’re doing. Dr. Rahima Alani, MD, reminded us that really the best thing, “for most people, it will likely include eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular physical activity…” So if you’re going to spend the extra time and effort, we rather you organize a healthy meal plan and go for a nice walk.