I first had my menstural cycle at 10 1/2, a pretty young age to start. It was dark, heavy, clotted, and painful and much to my dismay lasted for anywhere from 8-14 days each month. I'll never know if the Chemo I had as a child created an imbalance, but once I expressed concern with my flow, the immediate response was "just take birth contol" - just like that.
At that time, we didn't really know what the difference was, take a pill, period is manageable, simple and easy right? Well, not exactly. I couldn't have known it then because there wasn't much education around it, but the pill would be masking my symptoms that were alerting me to an imbalance in my body and would then further disrupt my body's ecosystem once off the pill about 14 years later.
But, since I was dealing with a doozy of a cycle, it sounded like a good option after awhile.
To be honest, it was terrifying and often I would just lay in the shower for hours just to avoid having to worry that a sneeze, cough, or jump would cause me to leak through a super tampon and through my liner.
I’ll also never forget the day I went to my High School for the first time as an 8th grader to tour the school and meet some fellow upperclassmen. I wore these adorable white capris with wedges, a floral top, and made sure to do my hair. You never know! I was chatting with some new acquaintances when suddenly one of them ran over and wrapped his black sweatshirt around me. I had thought it was hot in the auditorium, but the reality was that I had gotten my period and bled through my pants so badly – and I’m quite sure many people saw before someone helped.
I think that partially shaped my hatred for my flow and was one of the reasons I decided to go on the pill. In addition to that, I had hyperhidrosis where my armpits were so sweaty that I would have to always wear black clothing just to hide that fact that even when it was freezing, I was sweating. I couldn't have known then that it was my hormones going crazy, but I knew I wanted a solution
I started to take packs of birth control pills back to back through advice from my OBGYN at the time, to only get a period every 2-4 months rather than monthly since they continued to be long, heavy, & painful. I didn’t realize was that years later, the pill would impact me in a different way, one that wasn’t so supportive of my health journey. And I would come to find out that my diet could have helped me all this time with both issues.
Flash forward to June, 2018 coming off the pill, I knew I had been preparing my body for this day by supporting it with a whole food plant-based diet and lots of exercise. But by lots, I mean lots, and I was way too thin at 99lbs for my 5’4” frame. Sure, I was stoked to see all of the muscles I had worked so hard to build and to have less than 10% body fat but because I didn’t have my cycle as a clue to my overall health, I had no idea the havoc all of this was causing and no idea what I was in for.
I'd love to continue to share my journey with you, to shed some light on what happened to me and how I used food, acupuncture, and stress relief as medicine to help stablize my system and heal. This is by no means meant to scare anyone away, because to be honest everyone is so different. I have friends who came off of the pill and were fine!! However, I know enough of us are affected by the pill this way and it impacts fertility and so much more so I think it's important to share and to talk about. I'm not a doctor so read at your own will, don't try anything I've done just because I've done it. Consult your doctor, do your own research too ... but if we can help each other by talking about these things, I think we can all heal a little more!