birth control pills

Cycle Syncing and Birth Control: What You Need to Know

Jul 06, 2023Sari Eitches, MD

One of our most common questions is whether you can practice cycle syncing if you are on hormonal birth control. Let’s delve into the concept of cycle syncing and its relationship with birth control. Understanding how these two aspects interact is essential for making informed decisions about your reproductive health. 

Cycle syncing is an approach that involves aligning lifestyle choices and activities with the different phases of your menstrual cycle. It recognizes that hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle can affect various aspects of a woman's well-being, including energy levels, mood, and productivity.

The menstrual cycle typically consists of four phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal. Each phase is associated with distinct hormonal changes and may impact different aspects of your physical and emotional state. Cycle syncing aims to optimize your lifestyle choices, such as exercise, nutrition, and self-care, based on these hormonal variations.

Birth Control Methods and Hormonal Regulation:

Birth control methods are commonly used to prevent pregnancy or manage certain health conditions. It's important to note that different forms of birth control can impact your natural hormonal cycle.

  • Hormonal Birth Control:

Methods such as combination birth control pills, progestin-only pills, hormonal patches, injections, and progestin- based intrauterine devices (IUDs) contain synthetic hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. These hormones can suppress ovulation, alter cervical mucus consistency, and thin the uterine lining to prevent pregnancy. As a result, the natural hormonal fluctuations associated with the menstrual cycle are modified or suppressed. 

For many of the hormonal forms of birth control, the monthly bleed is a “withdrawal bleed” which has some physiologic differences from the menstrual period that occurs about 2 weeks after ovulation in someone who is not using hormonal birth control. However, many of the concepts of cycle syncing can still apply: both a withdrawal and a period are associated with a decrease in circulating sex hormones, blood loss, and uterine cramping. Therefore, cycle syncing practices that allow for these rhythmic symptoms- such as downshifting exercise intensity and supplement cycling (Lunar Sync’s phase 1 targets blood loss and cramps)- can be helpful regardless of whether you are taking hormonal birth control.

  • Non-Hormonal Birth Control:

Non-hormonal methods such as barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms), copper IUDs, and fertility awareness-based methods do not introduce synthetic hormones into the body. These methods work by either preventing sperm from reaching the egg or by tracking and avoiding fertile days in the menstrual cycle. Some of these methods require cycle tracking and cycle awareness which happen to be foundational to cycle syncing. So these methods complement each other well.

Considerations for Cycle Syncing and Birth Control:

When it comes to cycle syncing and birth control, it's essential to consider the following factors:

  •  Personal Goals and Preferences:

Cycle syncing can be an empowering way to connect with your body's natural rhythms. If you choose to use hormonal birth control, it may alter or suppress the hormonal fluctuations associated with the menstrual cycle, potentially impacting your ability to effectively sync your lifestyle choices.

  •  Health Conditions and Symptom Management:

Certain health conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, may require specific hormonal interventions for symptom management. In such cases, consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial to determine the most suitable approach.

  •  Individual Response to Hormonal Birth Control:

Everyone's body reacts differently to hormonal birth control. Some individuals may experience side effects, while others may find relief from symptoms like menstrual pain or heavy bleeding. Understanding your body's response to hormonal birth control is important for assessing its compatibility with cycle syncing goals.

  • Professional Guidance:

To make informed decisions about cycle syncing and birth control, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs and reproductive goals. They can also discuss alternative birth control options or modifications to hormonal birth control methods to align with cycle syncing practices.



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