The idea of pushing a reset button for your body – and your fertility – after coming off birth control can be tempting. But is it realistic? Or necessary? Ob / Gyn Ashley Brant, DO, sets the record for birth control cleansings.
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What is a birth control cleanser?
Birth control pills are products – mostly beverages – that are sold on the assumption that your hormones need to be rebalanced and your uterus detoxified after you have had a birth control. These often include vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements such as chasteberry.
“Most contraceptives are like a multivitamin. But they are not approved or regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” said Dr. Brant.
Manufacturers claim the type of birth control methods that release synthetic hormones into your body (we look at you, pill) upset your body’s natural state. They claim they are sowing your devastation:
- Hormone levels.
- Deliver health.
- Uterine health.
How long does birth control stay in your system?
“Most birth control methods are completely out of your system within a few days,” says Dr. Brant. “That’s why you take birth control pills every day – it wears off within 36 hours. There is no harmful build-up of hormones in your system. ”
The effect of an intrauterine device (IUD) lasts slightly longer. “But even the most conservative estimates say your body is clean of synthetic hormones within a week of the IUD being removed,” explains Dr. Brant.
The one exception? The Depo-Provera® injection, a progestin-only contraceptive injection that you receive every three months. Progestin is the synthetic version of progesterone, a hormone that naturally releases your ovaries.
“While the injection’s effects are meant to last for at least three months, there is evidence that it can take up to a year before fertility returns to your last shot,” says Dr. Brant, “but there is no evidence that taking vitamins or supplements speeds up that process.”
Do birth control cleansers work?
In short, no. “A cleansing is not necessary after birth control. There is no evidence that taking vitamins helps you process the hormones in birth control faster. Your liver processes most reproductive hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, quickly on its own, ”explains dr. Brant.
Side effects of birth control cleansing
While you do not need to do one, Dr. Brant says that there is probably no harm in birth control cleansers. “However, there have been a few case studies where people over-the-counter have overdosed on vitamins, so beware of that potential risk,” she warns. “The quality of vitamins and supplements can also vary from product to product.”
Another possible side effect of birth control cleansing has to do with your profit point.
“They are a marketing ploy. Manufacturers are chasing people’s fears and worries about hormones so you will buy these expensive products, ”she says. “Taking a prenatal vitamin would be much cheaper for similar potential benefits.”
But what about postpartum birth control syndrome?
The term “postural contraceptive syndrome” was first coined in 2008 in a book written by a doctor / herbalist. Now known as post-birth restriction syndrome, naturopathic doctors describe it as a set of symptoms that can occur after you stop using birth control pills. These symptoms may include:
- Digestive problems, including gas, bloating and upset stomach.
- Fertility problems.
- Hair loss.
- Irregular, heavier or more painful periods.
- Gain weight.
But here’s the catch: “Postpartum restriction syndrome is not a medically accepted term. It is not well defined and does not have diagnostic criteria in the medical field, ”says Dr. Brant. “Birth control often treats and prevents these troublesome symptoms – so it is more likely that birth control masked these problems when you were on the pill, not that the deviation from birth control caused it.”
It is also important to note that the idea that birth control negatively affects future fertility is more superstition than science. In fact, studies show that it does not affect your ability to conceive after you stop using it.
But if you just do not feel right after coming down from birth control, says Dr. Brant about self-treatment with a cleanser is not your best option. “Rather talk to your doctor,” she recommends. “It is rare for ovulation to take a while to come back. Most people will start ovulating again within one to two months. But if not, there are things we can do to get you back on track. ”