Not getting a period after stopping birth control pills is a common condition called post-pill amenorrhea. Usually post-pill amenorrhea resolves within six months, but it may last longer, and irregular menstrual cycles can persist for as long as two years after stopping birth control pills. Women who had irregular cycles before taking birth control pills and women with lower body weight are more susceptible to post-pill amenorrhea, but any woman can be affected after stopping birth control pills.
Essentially, post-pill amenorrhea occurs because the body has become accustomed to the synthetic hormones in birth control pills and does not naturally produce the hormones that cause ovulation and build-up of the uterine lining. Menstrual cycles begin to regulate as the pituitary gland relearns and reawakens hormone production. There are a number of alternative post-pill amenorrhea treatments that can facilitate hormone production.
Conventional post-pill amenorrhea treatment is hormone therapy with estrogen blockers such as clomiphene citrate. Estrogen blockers for post-pill amenorrhea may take several months to work and can cause side effects such as hot flashes, nausea and ovarian hyper stimulation. Women who become pregnant while taking clomiphene have an increased risk of miscarriage. Below are several alternative post-pill amenorrhea treatments that can help get your period back after stopping birth control pills.
Vitex is the most common natural remedy for post-pill amenorrhea. As a post-pill amenorrhea treatment, herbalists say that Vitex should be taken daily for several months. It is best to start taking Vitex for post-pill amenorrhea soon after stopping birth control pills, but you can begin taking it at any point. Vitex, also called Chaste Berry, can be found in the supplement aisle as either a pill or a tincture. Unlike post-pill amenorrhea treatment with clomiphene, Vitex has very few side effects. It has been shown to increase the luteinizing hormone, the hormone responsible for ovulation, and regulate hormone levels and pituitary function.
Chinese herbs such dong quai, ginseng, shu di huang and dioscorea root can help to regulate hormone levels and support reproductive health to help alleviate post-pill amenorrhea. False Unicorn Root (Chamaelirium luteum) has a normalizing effect on the ovaries and is used to treat many women’s health issues, including menstrual irregularities.
A trained herbalist will be able to recommend the best herbs or herbal combination for treating post-pill amenorrhea. Most herbs should be avoided if you become pregnant, so take extra precautions to prevent pregnancy while taking herbs for post-pill amenorrhea, and stop taking the herbs if you believe you are pregnant.
Because the liver processes hormones, including sex hormones, a liver cleanse may be a useful natural remedy for post-pill amenorrhea. If the liver is not properly breaking down hormones, it can cause or aggravate a hormonal imbalance such as post-pill amenorrhea. Avoid intense liver cleanses that include drinking olive oil, and choose natural remedies of liver cleansing such as milk thistle, dandelion root and peppermint. Herbal combinations for liver cleansing and liver cleansing teas are available at most health food stores.
Since stress is also a common cause of amenorrhea, yoga is an excellent post-pill amenorrhea treatment for both the body and the mind. According to Iyengar yoga instructor and women’s health specialist Laura Golub, supported inversions are one of the best natural remedies to increase the hormonal communication between the pituitary and the reproductive organs. Ideally, inversions should be held for 3 to 5 minutes each, and supported by props such as chairs, bolsters and ropes to promote relaxation in the pose. Inverted yoga poses for post-pill amenorrhea include Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), Downward Facing Dog (Adho Murka Svanasana), Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana) and Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana). Other beneficial yoga poses for post-pill amenorrhea include Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana), Triangle (Trikonasana) and Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana).
Acupuncture is a common alternative treatment for infertility, and can be used as a post-pill amenorrhea treatment, perhaps in combination with other natural remedies for post-pill amenorrhea listed above. According to the American Pregnancy Association, acupuncture can improve ovarian function and increase blood flow to the reproductive system. Acupuncture treatment for post-pill amenorrhea may last for two to three months. Always choose a certified professional acupuncturist and discuss your health concerns with them so that they can target the proper points to treat your condition.
Gynae Online; Post-pill Amenorrhea; Dr. M.D.Mazumdar
WebMD; Clomiphene citrate for infertility
American Pregnancy Association; Treating Infertility using Acupuncture
Natural Health Solutions for PCOS; Vitex (Chasteberry), Fertility and PCOS
Liver Doctor; The Liver can affect your hormones and your weight; Sandra Cabot MD
Ovulation Calculator; Herbs for Fertility and Pregnancy