Birth control is one of the most popular contraceptive methods, with experts estimating that as many as 50 million women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 72 use birth control. Birth control is quite effective, but can cause some significant side effects, including depression. Depression that occurs while taking birth control can be mild or severe. In the following short article, we discuss the relationship between birth control and depression and answer related questions such as: can going off birth control cause depression.
Birth control pills are a hormonal form of medicine that work to prevent pregnancy. The pills come in a pack and you are supposed to take 1 pill every single day. Birth control is safe and if you always take your pill on time, effective.
There are a few different types of birth control. We will cover these briefly before we explore the relationship between birth control and depression.
There are two different types of birth control pills, including combination birth control and progestin-only birth control. The main difference between the two is the presence of estrogen in combination birth in addition to progestone.
Combination birth control pills are named as such because they contain a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, referred to as progestin in its synthetic form. Estrogen is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle. It is primarily produced in women by the ovaries, although the adrenal glands and fat cells also generate small amounts of estrogen. Progesterone is a sex hormone released by the ovaries that plays a role in the hormonal cycle.
The following are a few of the different types of combination birth control pill.
Monophasic Pills: These pills are used in 1-month intervals; each active pill provides the same hormonal dose. During the last week of the cycle, you can skip (or take) the inactive pills and still have your period.
Extended-cycle Pills: These pills are usually taken in 13-week cycles. You may take active pills for 12 weeks, and during the last week of the cycle, skip or take the inactive pills and have your period.
Multiphasic Pills: Similarly to monophasic pills, multiphasic pills are used in 1-month cycles and provide different levels of hormones during the cycle. When you are on the last week of the cycle you can take or skip the inactive pills. You will still have your period.
Progestin-only birth control pills are oral contraceptives that contain the hormone progestin. Progestins work by causing changes in the uterus. After the amount of progestins in the blood drops, the lining of the uterus begins to come off and vaginal bleeding occurs. Unlike hormonal birth control, the progestin-only pill does not contain the female hormone estrogen.
This pill works by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus in an effort to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus. For maximum effectiveness, it is recommended that you take the progestin-only pill at the same time every day.
Birth control is known to lead to mood swings which can sometimes worsen into depression. It is thought that birth control brings about depression by changing the hormone levels in women. These hormones help to regulate bodily processes like mood.
One study conducted in Denmark found that women who used birth control were 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to women who did not take birth control. The study also showed that the same women were 40 percent more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant or seek help for depression from a licensed therapist or physician. Results showed that birth control was especially likely to contribute to depression in women between the ages of 15 and 19.
Although it has been proven that birth control can contribute to depression, research has also shown that going off birth control may have a similar effect on the brain and mood. Some women experience a plethora of symptoms in the months after they stop using birth control. The most common of these symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
Depression may be one of the most common side effects after you stop taking birth control, but it is not the only one. Among the many side effects of stopping birth control are cramps, acne, and PMS symptoms. It may also take a while for you to get your period back.
In addition to depression and mood swings, the most prominent side effects of birth control include the following:
For a more extensive list of birth control side effects, as well as tips on how to manage them, click here.
The relationship between birth control and depression is complicated. In some cases, birth control causes depression, and in others it may actually help alleviate it. For many people, birth control actually helps them manage their mood and regulate their mental health by improving their outlook and relationship with their sexual health. Here are a few ways in which birth control can help alleviate depression:
Many people list accidental pregnancy as one of their greatest fears. Unexpected children can place emotional and financial strain on many couples. Using birth control can help give couples that feeling of control and power back, knowing that they are significantly less likely to experience an unwanted pregnancy.
Birth control may be able to alleviate and improve some of the most common symptoms of depression, including feelings of sadness, loss of interest, and difficulty sleeping. It is thought that birth control alleviates depression through hormonal changes and modifications, however, evidence on birth control and its ability to improve depression is inconclusive.
The relationship between birth control and depression is complicated. In some cases, birth control causes depression, and in others it may actually help alleviate it.
Each women experiences different side effects from birth control. If you experience depression or excessively negative thoughts while taking birth control, it is important to seek help from a licensed mental health therapist or practitioner.