This past March I emailed you asking for guidance on stopping hormonal birth control. You said to just stop, and I did. And I couldn’t be more thankful. My body feels SO much better. I didn’t realize how much it was affecting my mental health as well. I’m getting rather frustrated still because my body is in the readjustment period. But I’m accepting it. I’m cherishing my body and learning it’s needs and I have noticed so much improvement. I can’t seem to get away from the hormonal acne quite yet, but I’m progressively incorporating dietary changes and I’m noticing great results with that – and for all aspects of my health. As for STM, I’m getting better at remembering to take my temperature, but I’m having some serious trouble figuring out my cervical mucus. Every time I check it looks the same. Sometimes my panties show more discharge and I get excited! A change is happening! But when I go to check out what is happening at the cervix, it always looks like the same non-elastic, clumpy stuff. Perhaps my body just still hasn’t fully recovered from the Pill? It felt like I finally ovulated again last cycle (at least because of some cramping).
There are two parts to this question I want to answer.
First, I want to touch on coming off hormones and a little about what you can expect timing-wise:
So you’ve been off hormonal birth control for about 4 months. That isn’t a very long time yet. I wanted to take a moment to answer your question because I actually get so many concerns from people coming off of hormones and wondering why something hasn’t normalized yet or when it will.
The best rule of thumb that there currently is (which is based on relatively limited amounts of research) is to give yourself about a month off of hormonal birth control per year you are on it for “normalization.” Keep in mind, too, that hormonal birth control other than the pill can vary from this, as well. For example, you need to wait 3 months after you get your last shot to even be considered “off of hormonal birth control.” I have people coming off the Mirena vary greatly, some returning to normal cycles right away and others (unfortunately, this seems more common) have cycles that are off for a long time.
Does this mean that you definitely will not normalize before that? No, but it does mean that you can’t rule out hormonal birth control as a cause of your issues until that time has passed.
However, that does NOT mean you can’t start to do anything about the problems, it just means you might want to hold off in doing anything more than simple, general, nourishing practices in order to fix them.
What about cervical fluid when coming off hormonal birth control?
Ahhh, cervical fluid. Even people not coming off hormonal birth control can get confused when they haven’t been instructed how to properly check and decipher their cervical fluid. When you are coming off hormonal birth control, it’s even more difficult.
Always always always: The first step of understanding your cervical fluid is checking your cervical fluid correctly. It’s hard to tell based on this question exactly how your technique is, but I will say a lot of women can not rely on panties to tell them about cervical fluid at all. Internal checks can also be tricky, especially if you aren’t familiar with telling your normal vaginal moisture/mucus from cervical mucus. I definitely recommend starting with toilet paper checks, and only trying other options if that does not work for you. You can learn more about different checking techniques (and well as a bunch about deciphering your cervical fluid) in the cervical fluid masterclass.
Alright, back to cervical fluid while coming off of hormones. First of all, like with a lot of hormonally dependent processes, cervical fluid can be FUNKY after coming off of hormonal birth control. You can see a variety of different things while regulating, but the most common thing I see is constant less-fertile cervical fluid, with either no or very little increase around ovulation.
Generally, it’s good to wait it out for the requisite period of time before worrying, but I will tell you one thing I have seen work really well for a lot of people: Evening primrose oil. I do not normally recommend evening primrose oil for hormones and definitely not for any long term use (because I also see it make hormones crazy in people who take it long term), but I have seen a large amount of people take it for one cycle only before ovulation and it seems to jump start their cervical fluid production.
If you continue to struggle with constant cervical fluid, check out this video I did about that for ideas on why it may be happening.
What are your biggest struggles with and/or questions about cervical fluid?