It’s no secret that hormones play a major role in terms of both our physical and mental health. But did you know that hormonal birth control can also have an effect on your emotions?
Yes, it’s true: Birth control can affect your mood and mental health both positively and negatively. So, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks for making an informed decision about what works best for you.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at the effects of hormonal birth control on women’s mental health. Also, we will explore ways to cope with these effects.
Overview of Hormonal Birth Control & its Components
Hormonal birth control is a popular form of contraception in which synthetic versions of the hormones progestin and/or estrogen are used to prevent pregnancy. These hormones are found naturally in a woman’s body, and they work to regulate the menstrual cycle, suppress ovulation, thicken cervical mucus, and alter the lining of the uterus.
Hormonal birth control can come in many forms—from oral pills to injections, implants, patches, and vaginal rings. Depending on which type you choose, hormonal birth control can last anywhere from one month to a few years! All types have proven effective at preventing pregnancy but their impacts on women’s mental health may differ.
Effects of Hormonal Birth Control on Women’s Mental Health
Many studies have been conducted over the years exploring the effects of hormonal birth control on women’s mental health. Unfortunately, the results are far from unanimous, but some patterns do emerge.
For instance, researchers have found that hormonal contraceptives can cause a decrease in libido—which can lead to depression or anxiety in some women. In addition, they also have reported an increase in depressive symptoms and emotional instability in some women taking hormonal contraceptives.
While more research is needed on this topic, it is important to note that the effects of contraception vary from woman to woman. If you are experiencing any adverse mental health effects from taking hormonal birth control, speak to your doctor about other options that may be suitable for your needs.
Common Side Effects of Using Hormonal Birth Control
When it comes to hormonal birth control, understanding the potential side effects is important. When it comes to mental health, some of the side effects of using this type of birth control may include:
The most common mental health side effects are depression and anxiety. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that hormonal contraception causes depression—rather, it’s associated with an increased risk for depression in some people.
- Mood Changes
Some women using hormonal birth control report feeling more anxious or depressed than usual—these are known as mood changes. It’s important to note that there is no scientific consensus about whether or not these mood changes are caused by taking birth control pills or other types of hormonal contraceptives.
However, some research suggests that there could be a link between certain types of hormonal birth control and an increased risk for depression and mood instability in some women. Therefore, if you experience any drastic change in your mood while on the pill, talk to your doctor immediately so they can decide if your contraceptive needs to be changed or discontinued altogether.
- Cognitive Function Changes
Hormonal contraceptives can also impact cognitive functions such as memory, concentration, vigilance, and reaction time. Some studies have found a decrease in these functions up to two years after discontinuing the use of contraception containing progestin-alone or combinations containing progestin and ethinyl estradiol (EE).
In addition to this, some other downsides of hormonal birth control on women’s health include:
- Sore Breasts
- Weight Gain
- Liver Tumors
It’s also important to note that not all women experience these mental health side effects when taking hormonal birth control—but it’s always wise to carefully weigh the risks and benefits before making a decision about your contraceptive method!
Tips for Managing Mental Health with Hormonal Birth Control
Managing your mental health when taking hormonal birth control can be a tricky task, but it helps to be aware of the risks, so you’re prepared. Here are some tips to help keep your mental well-being in check:
- Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
When you’re on hormonal birth control, one way to reduce the risk of experiencing depression is to make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can cause feelings of irritability and depression, so aim for around 8-9 hours each night.
- Stay Active
Exercise is essential for overall health and well-being, but even more so if you’re taking hormonal birth control. Physical activity releases endorphins which can help reduce stress, regulate emotions, and give an overall feeling of well-being.
- Talk About Your Feelings with Friends or Family
Don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling with trusted friends or family members — it’s important to have emotional support as well as medical care when managing your mental health. Even just having someone to vent to can be a great stress reliever!
Having the right mindset going into using hormonal birth control is key — know that it works differently for everyone and that it’s okay to talk through your feelings with a doctor or therapist if needed. With the right attitude and these tips in mind, you’ll be off to a great start toward managing any potential effects on your mental health.
What to do if You Experience Mental Health Changes with Hormonal Birth Control?
If you’re using hormonal birth control and you’re experiencing mental health changes, you’re far from alone. It’s important to take your mental health seriously and take action if you’re not feeling like your usual self. Here are some options:
- Talk to Your Doctor
Your doctor is there to help you understand potential risks, side effects, and what other methods of birth control might work better for you. Asking your doctor questions can help you make the best decision for yourself and your body.
- Change Your Method of Birth Control
You could switch to another type of birth control that doesn’t impact your hormones as much to see if symptoms improve. Non-hormonal IUDs are a great choice since they don’t affect hormones at all. Of course, talk to your doctor before making any changes or trying something new so they know what’s going on with your body and health.
- Monitor Your Symptoms Closely
It’s important to be aware of how hormonal birth control is affecting your mental health so that you can talk to your doctor about it in detail and make decisions together about how best to protect your mental health going forward. Keep an open dialog with your doctor so they can answer any questions or concerns that come up.
Although there is indeed some evidence linking birth control to mental health issues, it’s important to keep in mind that for some women, the benefits outweigh the risks. Overall, it’s important for any woman considering birth control to do their research and speak to their doctor about their health history and any potential risks.
It’s also important to focus on creating a supportive environment for women who have experienced mental health struggles related to birth control. It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is unique and to be open to listening and understanding the struggles of others.
Ultimately, understanding the effects of hormonal birth control on women’s mental health is key. Doing research, speaking to a doctor, and creating a supportive environment are just some of the ways that women can be empowered to make the best decision for their mental health.