Going Off the OCP

By: Dr. Nora Pope, ND, Aug 30, 2016
Fertility, Dr. Nora Pope, ND, The Pill

OCP..AKA Oral contraceptive pill

Going Off the OCP

Over the last 2 years, I’ve seen in a shift in attitude towards the OCP. More women in their 20s are getting off the OCP, and after 2 months of charting, they observed several signs of low progesterone or sub-fertility. Such signs can include: a menstrual bleed of 5 days, 5 days of sperm-friendly, fertile cervical fluid; a variable post-peak phase from cycle to cycle; pre-menstrual brown bleeding (PMBB) at the end of their cycles; and tail-end brown bleeding (TEBB). More women are also experiencing a prolonged Pre-Peak phase, with cervical fluid stopping and starting — a classic PCOS presentation. Other cycles reveal a prolonged post-peak phase, which can occur with luteinized unruptured follicle (LUF) syndrome.

All of these infertility signals are suppressed by the OCP.

Learning Fertility Literacy is accessible for anyone.

Lately, I have been teaching this information to teenagers and young women with developmental delays. Some miss a lot of school due to PMS and dysmenorrhea.

Teenagers feel very empowered when they observe their “White Flow.” They know that their PMS can start in the luteal phase, sometimes due to low progesterone. Diet modification and post-peak B vitamins help resolve many PMS symptoms.

Charting as an Alternative to the OCP

What started as an interest in fertility awareness has turned into a philosophical meditation on the cultural benefits of listening to fertility signals. The OCP prevents women from fully restoring their health; it also prevents the clinician from properly investigating the root cause of hormonal dysfunction.

Note the growing body of research linking conditions and OCPs:

  • Drug-induced nutrient deficiencies
  • No protection from sexually-transmitted infections; also a potential increased susceptibility to susceptibility to HPV
  • Pregnancy due to higher failure rates than reported
  • An increased risk of breast cancer; in 2005 the World Health Organization added the OCP to its list of carcinogens
  • Risk of embolism and stroke
  • Death (in 2013,23 Canadian women died who were using a leading estrogen/progestogen-containing OCP)
  • Anecdotal evidence of nausea
  • Depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Decreased fertility due to lower ovarian reserve, especially when the users were teenagers
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Gallstones
  • Glaucoma
  • Bone loss and osteopenia, especially when the users were teenagers

Finally, there is an environmental toll, as fish populations become sterile due to excessive estrogens from sewage

How Does Charting Work?

I teach women how to chart their cycles by making observations as they wipe throughout the day. At night, they record on their Cycle Chart what they feel (sensation); what they see on the toilet paper (observation); and whether the mucus can stretch (“finger test”). The fertile days, or “cervical fluid days,” are days when the woman’s cervix discharges sperm-friendly mucus that is rich in fructose and glucose and which is alkaline in nature. This cervical fluid is biochemically identical to seminal fluid.

The discovery that specific types of cervical fluid correlate to the precise timing of fertility was elucidated by 2 Australian physicians, John and Evelyn Billings. Fertile cervical fluid is produced in response to rising blood estrogen levels. The key factor in determining whether a woman’s cervical fluid is fertile is its sensation. When wiping it off, the sensation is slippery. The last day of this slippery fluid is called the Peak Day and correlates highly with ovulation and the highest blood estrogen levels. The day after the Peak Day, the cervical fluid is no longer slippery, and has much resistance. This sensation is so easily detected that even blind women can determine their fertility.

This is Part 2, to view Part 1 Click here

Dr. Nora Pope, ND, is a graduate of McGill University and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Since 1994, she’s been a user and advocate of Fertility Awareness and Cycle Charting. Since 2001, she’s treated adults and children with seizures; men and women with hormonal imbalances; Marfan’s syndrome; and chronic conditions. In her practice, she uses classical homeopathy, botanical medicine, acupuncture, clinical nutrition, and lifestyle counseling. She integrates the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ Charting System in her practice. Dr Pope harnesses drug-herb and drug-nutrient interactions to increase the efficacy of her treatments. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, tennis, the Lindy Hop, Belgian beer and merlot from Bordeaux, France. She is fluent in French. She is taking a leave of absence in 2017 and has Inactive Status.