When To See A Fertility Specialist
If youre under 35 and have been trying to conceive for 1 year or more without success, talking with a fertility specialist may be beneficial .
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, evaluation and treatment from a fertility specialist may also be recommended after 6 months of trying to conceive for women over 35 and even sooner for women over 40 .
You may also want to consider consulting a fertility specialist if you or your partner (
- has had three or more miscarriages
- has difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
- has irregular periods, a heavy period, or no periods
- has a history of sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea
For more information on when to see a fertility specialist and what to expect during your visit, check out this article.
How Can I Boost My Fertility
Many factors can affect fertility, several of which may be out of your control, such as your age, genetics, and medical history.
However, doing your best to get all the nutrients necessary to support reproductive health from either food sources or supplements is a great way to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
What To Ask A Healthcare Provider
If there are any concerns, ask a healthcare provider about what medications or supplements could be affecting birth control. Some patients can benefit from a medication review with a pharmacist. At this appointment, the pharmacist can review all over-the-counter medicines, prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements that a patient is taking. The pharmacist has specific knowledge about what drugs and supplements can cause interactions or side effects and can advise patients accordingly. For more information, speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider.
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How To Stay Healthy While Taking Birth Control Pills
The pill itself is designed to change how your body functions. It prevents pregnancy by using hormones to control your ovaries and your cervix. Since every woman is different, however, there might be varying reactions to taking the pill. To limit these reactions, you could take some preventative steps, like providing support to other bodily functions, such as the immune system and the cardiovascular system.
Much like when taking any other medication, it’s important to maintain your overall health and wellbeing. Eat healthily and exercise moderately to keep your bodily functions in tiptop shape. You might also want to consider using supplements that offer nutrients to support your bodily functions. Zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D all play essential roles in maintaining and strengthening bodily functions.
SimpleHealth‘s clinical staff and team of doctors worked closely to determine the needs of those on birth control pills. From there, they formulated these multivitamin supplements to help fill those gaps. Each pill contains vitamin D, vitamin B , riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and zinc. These are nutrients that help support your cellular function, immune system, and energy supply while you are on birth control.
Supplements That May Interfere With Birth Control
Hormonal control of ovulation has been available to women since the early 1960s with the introduction of the pill. Initially, dosages of estrogen and progesterone were available only in pill form, but in 2011 they are offered as injections, patches and implants. All hormonal methods prevent ovulation by maintaining sex hormones at high levels throughout a womans cycle. Some supplements may interfere with the actions of hormonal birth control, which can lead to unplanned pregnancies.
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Birth Control And Zinc Deficiency
Zinc is present in many body cells and is important for boosting the bodys immunity. According to the World Health Organization, zinc deficiency is seen in almost 31% of the population.
The changes in the body due to the external intake of estrogen via oral contraceptive use may increase the bodys utilization of zinc and lower the zinc carried in the blood.
While not all studies report on zinc deficiency, most of them have shown that even a small dose of birth control pills decreases zinc levels. As well, the reduction is associated with the duration of oral contraceptive use.
Zinc deficiency during pregnancy may result in growth retardation, stillbirth, and preterm delivery. Zinc supplements may thus be useful to support women on birth control pills.
B12 Deficiency And Birth Control Pills
Vitamin B12 is critical for proper metabolism converting food to energy. You also need it to make DNA. The only significant dietary sources of B12 are animal products, leaving vegans and vegetarians at major risk of deficiency. Because B12 requires stomach acid to extract it from food, people with lower stomach acid due to age or medication use are also at risk of low levels.
Though researchers dont understand the mechanisms at play, several studies have found that serum B-12 levels are lower in women taking oral contraceptives.1, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
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Should I Avoid Taking Supplements With My Birth Control
There are some supplements that may change the way your body processes the hormones present in your birth control pills. Since your body depends on these hormones reaching a certain level to be effective at preventing pregnancy, anything that might reduce hormone levels could potentially change effectiveness. For example, St. Johns Wort, a supplement commonly used for mood, may speed up the breakdown of estrogen by the liver.4 On the other hand, a supplement that may slow down the breakdown of estrogen could make hormone levels higher than expected increasing the likelihood a woman may experience side effects with her medication.5
Can You Take Prenatal Vitamins And Birth Control
Yes. While taking birth control and prenatal vitamins at the same time is safe, eventually you need to come off birth control in order to become pregnant. Furthermore, most women start taking prenatal vitamins once they have already stopped using birth control to prepare for pregnancy. These vitamins are not medically necessary, but can be beneficial for women who fall short on key nutrients such as iron and folic acid.
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Does Calcium Affect Birth Control
Although the relationship between calcium and birth control is relatively insignificant, some contraceptives could lead to decreased bone density. Therefore, it may be recommended that individuals who take birth control also take calcium supplements in order to maintain bone health and decrease their risk of developing osteoporosis.
Which Vitamins Should I Take While On Birth Control
There are no additional vitamins necessary but Birth control is associated with some decrease in some nutrients and each person is different. Evidence for actual nutritional deficiencies due to the use of oral contraceptives is still insufficient, and more research is needed. It may be recommended that an individual takes various supplements and/or alters their diet to account for these changes. More specifically, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium, and Folic Acid may be beneficial to take for maximal health. The amount and type that you need may vary, so its always a good idea to consult a doctor prior to starting anything new.
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The Birth Control Pill Is Known To Deplete Key Nutrients In Your Body
The Pill can deplete your body of B12, B2, B6, Selenium, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, & Folate. These are important nutrients that drive critical biochemical pathways in our bodies. It is important to supplement with a multivitamin alongside the Pill to prevent these long-term nutrient depletions.
After discontinuing the Pill, it will also be prudent to continue taking a multivitamin for a minimum of three months to ensure that these nutrient levels are fully restored. In fact, most women actually benefit from having a quality multivitamin as part of their daily routine. Think of your multivitamin as an insurance policy. You take it in case your diet does not provide you with all of the necessary nutrients.
How Does One Come Off Detox From And Rebalance Their Hormones After Hormonal Birth Control
The post-pill or post-IUD aftermath varies but the challenges it may bring are often surprising. Your doctor may tell you that the acne you have 6 months after is unrelated to quitting birth control, but that couldnt be farther from the truth! If you are still on the pill, I recommend reading my post on how the pill really works?first, then come back to this one. Im not a doctor and this more holistic-based 7-step protocol may not work for everyone, but I have changed my focus to balancing womens hormones naturally this past year by becoming a Certified Hormone Specialist through The Institute of Transformational Nutrition, and Ive learned so much! I wish I had this info when I quit the pill 5 years ago.
Once again, Im not against using birth control, I think all women should have the choice but we are not getting the full story and that is a problem. Women dont know what they are getting into before going on a medication that turns off their hormonal system and natural rhythm. Until they are fully equipped with knowledge of how the pill works, how it may affect their bodies as well as all possible side effects, only then do I believe she can make an educated decision about her reproductive health. Education is lacking in a major way .
Your body must reestablish equilibrium someday, you know? What is the alternative? Staying on the pill until menopause?
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How To Balance Hormones While On Birth Control Pills
While there are numerous benefits to birth control pills, some women experience side effects that are hard to swallow. Common combination formulations like Ortho-Tricyclen, Yasmin, Yaz, the Nuva Ring , and Ortho Evra administer synthetic estrogen and progestin into your body to inhibit the natural hormones that make you ovulate, which fools your body into thinking its already pregnant. Pretty clever, hormones.
But playing tricks on your body can really throw things off kilter. Aside from weight gain, bloating, migraines, tender and even enlarged breasts, and a lowered libido, perhaps the worst potential side effect is that insidious feeling of anxiety or depression that makes some women feel like theyre riding an emotional roller coaster.
If youre not ready to give up on your birth control method just yet, it might be time to experiment with your diet to naturally re-balance these chemical messengers. Whether youre getting these nutrients through food or supplements, you may be surprised what a difference they can make.
1. Folic acid, riboflavin , vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc may be depleted when using hormonal birth control or experiencing hormonal imbalance. Supplement these nutrients if youre not getting enough in your daily diet.
2. A DHEA supplement can also help balance testosterone and estrogen levels.
Illustration by Karley Koenig
Start Charting And Get Your Hormones Tested
I would start charting as soon as you stop taking the pill. Take notes and keep track of any and all symptoms in an app or in a journal, as well as when bleeding starts and stops. Do you feel cramping mid-cycle? That could mean you are ovulating which is a great sign that your body is working to get back into balance!
3 months after quitting the pill, it may be worth it to get your hormones tested, if you are curious to know where your levels are at. Its a great time to test nutrient levels too (you must ask for a FULL blood panel with iron, all the b vitamins, zinc, etc., otherwise they wont test them.
There are at-home hormone testing kits that make it super convenient and easy to see where you are at. This information will guide you in accessing steps to take depending on what imbalances you may have. I use the Womens Health and Fertility Test from EverlyWell to see where Im at for peace of mind! You can then bring the results to your doctor or naturopath so they can help guide you in steps to take.
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Your Body Will Very Likely Transition Back To Your Pre
If you initially started taking birth control pills for specific symptoms such as acne, painful or irregular periods, heavy flows, severe cramping, or PMS, expect that these symptoms will very likely return, and in some cases, in even greater severity than before starting the Pill. Again, the reason for this is because the Pill simply suppresses these symptoms. It does not address the underlying root cause of your symptoms.
As a functional medicine nutritionist specializing in hormone health, I am passionate about helping my clients take proactive steps when it comes to transitioning off the Pill. I also support women who have recently come off the Pill and are experiencing a resurgence in their hormonal and menstrual-related symptoms. Here are the initial steps that I recommend to stay proactive or in the event you are experiencing symptoms again:
Do Postnatal Vitamins Have Any Side Effects
Postnatal supplements dont usually have any side effects.
You may feel nauseated after taking prenatal vitamins, especially if the supplement requires you to take a large number of pills. If this is the case, try a protein powder supplement or a chewable supplement instead.
If your postnatal supplement is high in iron, it may cause constipation. However, taking the right form of iron can help reduce the risk of constipation.
Iron bisglycinate is a form of iron thats less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects like constipation than other forms of iron, such as ferrous sulfate .
Drinking plenty of water, eating a fiber-rich diet, and getting enough exercise can help . Talk with a healthcare professional if youre experiencing severe or prolonged constipation.
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What Are Birth Control Pills
The birth control pill or “the pill” contains hormones aimed at preventing pregnancy. It is easy and convenient to take, and also relatively easy to get. You simply have to visit your doctor, who will ask you a few questions and ask you to go through several tests before giving you a prescription.
Any form of contraception is advisable for those who aren’t ready for motherhood. However, Planned Parenthood states that the pill has been proven to be 91 to 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, depending on how regularly you take it. They go on to say that despite its effectiveness, there might be some adverse side effects.
Taking Your Pill Inconsistently
The pill always comes with the same piece of advice: take it at the same time every day. But how necessary is this, really? Luckily for combination-pill users, the answer is not very necessary. Thats right, if youre on a combination estrogen-progestin pill, you only have to take it once a day to ensure pregnancy protection. Youll even be protected if you miss a pill, so long as youre not on the first seven days of a new pack. However, if youre on progestin-only pills, you have to take them within the same three-hour window every day. In any case, its good to take the pill at the same time every day so you build the habit of taking it. If you have trouble remembering, use your phone. Set alarms and reminders so youll never miss a pill.
Know what else stops birth control from working? Easy access. SimpleHealth aims to provide better accessibility to women’s healthcare. That’s why we designed an online service to get a prescription and have your birth control deliveredfor free. Start your doctor-designed consultation to see what the buzz is about.
Interested in starting birth control? Get your prescription online and your refills shipped right to your door .
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Birth Control And Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium is part of more than 300 processes in the body from the bones to the brain. To be fair, oral contraceptive use isnt the only reason for low magnesium levels since experts estimate that more than 50% of the US population is deficient.
Many studies have shown that oral contraceptives reduce serum magnesium levels.1, 34, 35, 36, 37 Other studies indicate that supplementing with estrogen and calcium in post-menopausal women has a similar effect.38
Can Birth Control Lead To Drug Interactions
Birth control pills typically do not cause severe drug interactions. However, because most forms of birth control contain hormones, there are some cases where these hormones may make certain medications or vitamins not work as well. What vitamins interfere with birth control? Heres what to know about supplement options.
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Does Vitamin D Affect Birth Control Pills
Vitamin D does not impact the efficacy of the birth control pill, so it can be taken at the same time. However, this may not be necessary because those who take birth control tend to have higher levels of Vitamin D in their systems. On the other hand, once an individual stops taking birth control, their heightened level may drop. For this reason, they may want to consider taking a Vitamin D supplement, as it is beneficial for bone health.