Dr. Jolene Brighten on Breaking Up with Hormonal Birth Control
We're talking hormonal birth control, from hereon-in referred to as HBC. Why we're on it, how to come off it, and the healthiest and most effective ways to leverage HBC for your body. We share our very own medical advisor Dr. Jolene Brighten's own journey as part of our #CycleStories series.
How was your 'breakup with HBC', as you put it?
When I stopped birth control after 10 years I found myself experiencing acne for the first time in my life. I also lost my period, which was a shock since my periods had always been regular before starting the pill.
What can you expect, if someone reading this is going to make the decision to come off HBC?
If you’re going to come off birth control and don’t want to get pregnant then you definitely need a new method of preventing pregnancy. If you’re stopping hormonal birth control, it is possible that you’ll have a delay in the return of your period and subsequently your fertility. Since those hormones affect every system in your body and may have lead to nutrient depletions and other issues, you may struggle with additional symptoms.
What do you wish you had known about the process?
I wish I had known that I could have a rebound of testosterone production and develop acne after stopping. I also wish I had prepped my body like I detail in my book Beyond the Pill so that my transition off HBC was easier.
Hear Dr. Brighten share more learnings on coming off HBC - and other cycle-related moments - via our IG Live watchback here.
And don't forget, you can read more about Hummingway co-founder Ashley Greene Khoury's own personal journey coming off HBC here.