Can Birth Control Make You Emotional
Since the introduction of the birth control pill, women have come out in droves complaining of depression and anxiety associated with the use of the pill.
And while this is a side effect listed in the package insert of these hormonal contraceptives, there are still many skeptics within the scientific and medical community that are quick to dismiss womens stories. As a result, many women have struggled for decades due to the connection between the pill and anxiety.
Ive had many patients tell stories of doctors dismissing them. They are told that these symptoms are all in their head, or that its a coincidence. And then theyre met with the next prescription for a mood-altering drug without a single pause or question as to what role these hormones could be playing.
Do Antidepressants Affect Birth Control
In most cases, antidepressants should not impact the effectiveness of birth control. Furthermore, it is okay to take both antidepressants and birth control at the same time.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Studies Have Limitations That We Must Recognize In Medicine
One of the biggest limitations is that women who are experiencing profound or negative side effects with birth control are more likely to stop taking it. Studies seeking to compare women on and off birth control, won’t necessarily account for the woman whose mood was interfering so significantly with her life that she stopped it, left the trial and cut off all communication.
These studies aim to demonstrate what the average experience is like for every woman. But when you consider that those with extreme mood symptoms are more likely to quit the studies then you have to question just what is average?
We also need to consider that many studies rely on self-reporting, which is not always completely accurate. Some women feel shame to report mood symptoms. Others figure its just par for the course.
And like many of my patients have shared with me, they didnt want to be prescribed an antidepressant or have that diagnosis in their chart So they just didnt tell their doctor.
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If You Think Your Contraception Is Making You Anxious Or Depressed Youre Not Imagining Things Evolutionary Psychologist Sarah E Hill Explains What Happens To Your Brain On Birth Control
Most women know at least one or two other women who have had a bad reaction to the pill. In fact, the question that many of us have about the pill: Why does the pill make me crazy?
Before I get into what the research says about all this, let me just address the elephant in the room the whole thing about womens sex hormones influencing mood. Which they do. This might be the worlds oldest cliché about women, but that doesnt make it any less true. Womens sex hormones influence womens moods. Mens sex hormones affect mens moods. It would be impossible for them not to.
Back to the question. To start with, all of us feel a little crazy sometimes. Life is hard and can make anyone feel anxious and overwhelmed at times. For some women, being on the pill can magnify these feelings, leading to anxiety disorders and depression. But if these things happen to you, it doesnt mean youre crazy it just means youre on the wrong pill.
Mood-related issues like anxiety and depression are super-common among women on the pill. Almost half of all women who go on the pill stop using it within the first year because of intolerable side effects, and the one most frequently cited is unpleasant changesin mood. Sometimes its intolerable anxiety other times, its intolerable depression or maybe both simultaneously. And even though some womens doctors may tell them that those mood changes arent real or important, a growing body of research suggests otherwise.
Mirena Depression And Your Mood
The link between depression and birth control isnât clear and researchers disagree. Most studies suggest there is no connection, but more evidence is needed to be sure.
That also goes for Mirena, the implant, the mini pill, and other progestin-only contraceptives. Some studies found that women using Mirena were more likely to show signs of depression. But other research has concluded that there is no connection.
One large study of women ages 25-34 found that those who were on any form of hormonal birth control had fewer depressive symptoms than those who used other types of contraceptives or none at all. The study didnât look at hormonal IUDs specifically, but did look at other progestin-only forms of birth control.
Another study found that women who used progestin-only contraceptives were no more likely to have mood swings or changes than when using other forms of hormonal birth control.
Every woman reacts differently to hormonal birth control. So itâs hard to predict how your body might respond to Mirena.
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Tame Inflammation With Turmeric
Whether you’re on these hormones or you’re coming off, turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory. So it can help drop inflammation throughout the entire body, including the brain.
Turmeric also supports liver health and healthy detoxification pathways. After all, the liver packages up those hormones and eliminates them from your body.
I recommend adding turmeric to foods, drinking golden milk lattes and taking a highly absorbable form of turmeric as a supplement to my patients.
Why Does Birth Control Cause Depression
The addition of hormones in birth control may affect an individuals mental state. While many women report improved moods while taking birth control, others may respond differently. If you notice increased feelings of sadness after starting birth control, consult a doctor to determine whether you should try a different method.
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Researchers Dont Caution Against The Pill
The authors wrote that they cant definitively say that birth control pills cause depressive symptoms. The pills might contribute to depressive symptoms, but its also possible that girls begin taking birth control pills to treat symptoms theyre already experiencing.
Because of the study design, we cant say that the pills cause mood changes, but we do have evidence suggesting that sometimes the mood changes preceded the use of the pill and sometimes the pill was started before the mood changes occurred, de Wit said.
The researchers also note that their study only looked at girls and women in the Netherlands a relatively homogenous population. A more diverse group might yield different results.
The findings dont necessarily mean that teenage girls shouldnt take birth control pills, the researchers wrote. The pill can have all sorts of benefits for girls, from preventing pregnancies to easing menstrual symptoms. But depressive symptoms could cause them to go off the pill and risk unwanted pregnancies, or otherwise affect their quality of life. For that reason, its important to keep an eye on those symptoms, the authors wrote.
The Relationship Between Birth Control Pills Liver And Hypothyroidism
Excess hormones produced by the body can stress the liver as it has to break these hormones down for elimination. The liver might become congested and sluggish due to being chronically overburdened, thereby increasing the risks of a poor immune function, high cholesterol, and risk for inflammation.
It is a well-known fact that a liver that is functioning poorly can raise inflammation. When you are working to dampen autoimmune flares and inflammation associated with hypothyroidism, the potential effect of inflammation of birth control pills on the liver is a point to consider.
When the liver is not able to detoxify estrogen, the hormone goes back to the bloodstream in a toxic form and raises the risk of complications, like menopause, hyperplasia and prostate carcinoma, endometrial cancer, cervical dysplasia, ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts, premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis, and breast cancer.
Hormonal Birth Control May Help Lower Depression Symptoms But More Research Is Needed
A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry suggests that hormonal birth control may reduce symptoms of depression among young women. Women taking hormonal birth control had fewer depressive symptoms but higher scores for cannabis use and alcohol use.
Many youth first develop symptoms of depression during early adulthood. Depression is particularly common among women, possibly due to fluctuating sex hormones. Since hormonal birth control inhibits hormonal cycling, there is reason to believe that women who take these contraceptives might experience fewer depressive symptoms, although findings on this topic are mixed.
Researcher Sharlene D. Newman set out to explore the association between the use of hormonal birth control and depressive symptoms among a large sample of college-aged women. At the same time, the study author explored how substance use which tends to be elevated during the premenstrual phase might interact with the use of hormonal contraceptives to impact depressive symptoms.
A total of 3,320 young women completed surveys that asked them about their current medication, depressive symptoms, alcohol consumption, and cannabis use. Various statistical tests were then applied to the data to determine the relationships and interactions between these variables.
Can Birth Control Cause Depression
As of 2020, more than six in ten sexually active women reported using birth control in the past year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation Women’s Health Survey. Whether you’re new to taking birth control or have been cycling through different forms of contraceptives for years, you likely have questions about how preventing pregnancy affects your mental health. You may be wondering, “Can birth control cause depression, anxiety, or mood swings?” These questions are totally valid.
When it comes to birth control and depression, there’s a lot to unpack. Ahead, medical professionals answer the burning questions you have about the birth control-depression link, and what you should do if you suspect that your birth control is messing with your mental health. Just remember: If you’re feeling depressed right now, there are resources that can help. You can make a free, confidential call to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP any time.
Headaches On Birth Control
For some women, headaches are a birth control side effect, especially at first. The estrogen in combination birth control can cause a sudden flurry in headache or migraine activity, but they tend to subside as your body gets used to the increased overall hormone levels. While you should try to be patient, headaches that persist past 3 months are a sign you should ask your doctor for an adjustment to your prescription. A birth control option with less estrogen or no estrogen at all may be a better choice. For those looking to avoid estrogen-based birth control methods entirely, there are a few options available such as the minipill or the Depo-SubQ Provera shot. These progestin-only options can protect you from unwanted pregnancy without interfering with your bodys natural levels of estrogen.
Most combination birth control pills have a set number of placebo days, meaning that you dont take any hormone-containing pills for a certain amount of time every month, and you have a period. If the drop in estrogen during these off periods still brings on headaches, you may be able to solve this by switching to a birth control pill option you can take continuously, ensuring that your hormone levels stay as constant as possible.
Natural Remedies For Depression
- B vitamins the birth control pill depletes B vitamins and this is one of the mechanism by which it likely causes depression. There are plenty of studies to show the positive affect B vitamins can have on mood. Youll need to take a daily B vitamin complex and additional B12 and B6.
- Probiotics the birth control pill disrupts the microbiome and destroys gut health. Most of the serotonin our bodies make is created in the gut. When your gut flora is off-balance, you cannot absorb the necessary nutrients you need . More research is mounting to explain the gut-brain health connection. This is cutting edge information that will soon become common knowledge. Eat fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut daily.
- Magnesiumthe majority of us are deficient in magnesium. We need magnesium to produce healthy hormone levels. Magnesium is cortisol-regulating, meaning its actually physically calming to our stress-wired systems. Its well-evidenced that magnesium can alleviate depressive symptoms.
- Exercise/movement when youre feeling depressed, working out might seem near-impossible. Thats why I suggest bodywork as an alternative a good massage of any kind can be just as helpful. Many studies point to movement helping to alleviate depression. This doesnt have to mean a spin class, it can mean a massage, or yoga, or stretches, or a simple dance break during your work day. Your body will still release those mood-boosting endorphins.
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
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How Hormones Affect Your Mental Health
Hormones possibly play a role in messing with your mental health.
A small study showed that people with depression had lower levels of estrogen during the follicular phase, or the time between the first day of the period and ovulation, during which time estrogen levels normally rise.
These changes in estrogen levels may explain the reason why people experience depressive symptoms more often in the premenstrual phase, postpartum, and in perimenopause.
Similarly, when a person is using hormonal birth control, it can alter the normal level of hormones in their body, which could possibly bring changes to their mental health.
Environmental and societal factors also play a role in ones risk of depression. For instance, a family history of mood or anxiety disorders, stressful life events, adversities during childhood, and social isolation can all cause someone to be diagnosed with depression.
Does Birth Control Make You Depressed
Some of you may then proceed to ask does birth control make you depressed? This is again very much dependent on the individual, but there have been clinical studies undertaken that show that there is a link between hormonal birth control use and greater incidence of developing or worsening depression.
However, it should be mentioned here that there are no determined drug interaction risks between antidepressants, and this applies to the most common type taken by women SSRIs. Now that that has been established, we can discuss further how birth control pills contribute to mental health issues and emotional instability.
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Adolescents And The Pill
Adolescents using COCs in the Danish study had a higher risk for being diagnosed with depression and prescribed an antidepressant than adults in the study .
Adolescents in the study Finnish study were more likely than people not using hormonal birth control to be prescribed an antidepressant for every COC formulation they studied .
A study of adolescents in the U.S. who were currently or had ever used the pill showed an increased risk for ever having experienced depression, but no increased risk for current depression . But when other factors such as age, smoking, BMI, family socioeconomic status, and whether the adolescents were sexually active were considered along with the use of birth control pills, there was no increased risk for depression .
A small study where adolescents were randomly assigned to use COCs containing ethinyl estradiol/levonorgestrel or placebo for three months showed no difference in depression scores between the two groups at the end of the study .
The key takeaway: The pill may increase the chance of being diagnosed with or treated for depression, but the specific pill formulation may make a difference. Overall, it appears as though COCs do not have a harmful effect on mood reported by users, but this may vary between individuals.
How Hormones Impact Your Mental Health
There is reason to believe that hormones play a role in depression. Women are about twice as likely as men to have depressionâa difference that begins during puberty . One small study showed that people with depression had lower estrogen levels during the follicular phase . Changes in estrogen levels may explain why some people experience depressive symptoms more frequently in the premenstrual phase, postpartum, and in perimenopause .
When a person uses hormonal birth control, it can change the natural level of hormones in their body and could possibly cause changes to their mental health.
Environmental and societal factors likely affect the risk for depression as well . A family history of mood or psychiatric disorders, adversities in childhood, stressful life events, and social isolation all make it more likely that someone will be diagnosed with major depression .
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Do Oral Contraceptive Pills Help With Endometriosis
The endometrium is a thin layer of tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus. This tissue thickens, breaks down, and bleeds during each menstrual cycle. People with endometriosis sometimes simply called endo have endometrial-like tissue that grows outside of the uterus. It may cover other reproductive organs such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, or even grow on the outside of the bowels.
The endometrial-like tissues that grow outside the uterus can cause severe pain during the menstrual cycle. Other common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding resulting in large blood clots during the menstrual cycle
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain while urinating
- Pain during bowel movements
Most people with endometriosis experience worsening symptoms during their menstrual period. Hormonal oral contraceptives thin the lining of the uterus, which can lighten menstrual bleeding and reduce endometriosis pain associated with menstrual periods.
Another member also commented on the pain reduction due to taking birth control pills, Feel as though the birth control pills control my pain, and as soon as I stop them its so much worse.