Can Birth Control Cause Anxiety
Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on January 4th, 2021
Use birth control to stabilize your hormones. Get your birth control delivered to your mailbox by signing up for Pandia Healths FREE delivery services of birth control = #PandiaPeaceOfMind.
Did you know you can use birth control to stabilize your hormones? Get your birth control delivered to your mailbox by signing up for Pandia Healths FREE delivery services of birth control = #PandiaPeaceOfMind.
Around 264 million people worldwide suffer from ananxiety disorder. And women are nearly 5 times as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men. Anxiety can cause many significant problems in daily functioning, and severely impact a persons quality of life.
A common question were asked is, Can taking hormonal birth control cause or alleviate the symptoms of anxiety for women? This article will explore what an anxiety disorder is and if birth control has any impact on anxiety.
Depression And Anxiety Among Reproductive Aged Women
Depressive and anxiety disorders are among the leading causes of disability in the United States and worldwide.1 Compared to men, U.S. women are 70% more likely than men to experience a depressive disorder and 60% more likely to experience an anxiety disorder.1 Approximately 12% of women will experience major depression in their lifetime 8.4% will experience a depressive disorder each year.1 Women experience anxiety disorders at even higher rates, and anxiety disorders are highly comorbid with depression.1 And while common, depression and anxiety disorders often go undetected and untreated among reproductive aged women.1,2 In recent years, less than half of U.S. women ages 1544 with a major depressive episode received a mental health diagnosis and less than half received treatment.1,2 Moreover, poor, unemployed, and less educated women experience higher rates of mental health disorders and lower rates of mental health detection and treatment than their socially advantaged counterparts racial/ethnic minority women receive mental health care at even lower rates.1,2
Ready To Take Control Of Your Cycle
So many people feel like theyre at the mercy of their menstrual cycle lacking the roadmap to effectively navigate their moments of melancholy and bursts of inspiration.
Armed with more information, we hope to put power back in the hands of people everywhere who are adversely affected by their menstrual cycles and hormonal contraceptives.
The Daily Cycle Diary is not therapeutic in nature or design, and it isnt suitable as a form of psychological treatment. If you are concerned about your wellbeing and your menstrual cycle, please see your GP or consult with an , including Lifeline.
To join the Daily Cycle Diary as a member of the general public, visit this link to register or contact at the Evolution, Conflict and Equality Laboratory in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences for more information.
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Loss Of Libido & Fatigue After Stopping Birth Control
This was something Paige wasnt too happy about either. You see, her doctor had told her the answer to her low libido was as simple as stopping that pill. However, as a doctor who has helped thousands of women recover their hormones after using synthetic birth control, I can assure that you that a missing libido post-pill is more the norm. Libido and energy levels in general go hand-in-hand and you may suffer from fatigue after stopping birth control, only worsening the situation. And just like your mood, the only way to get your libido back is to kick that pill and to take steps to reset your hormones.
Eating libido supportive foods like dark chocolate, pineapple, spinach, and oysters are beneficial foods to get you and your libido back together.
Nourishing your adrenals is a huge part of your overall hormone health, including reclaiming your sex life, which is why it is one of the key topics I address in my Post-Birth Control Hormone Reset Program. For Paige adaptogens, along with a hormone friendly diet and daily mind-body practices were exactly what she needed to get her libido back on-line and take her orgasms to the next level.
Can Going Off Birth Control Cause Depression
Birth control affects every woman differently. Some women may notice significant changes when coming off birth control, while others will notice no changes at all.
No studies so far prove that coming off birth control can cause depression. However, some women may experience changes to their mood if they cease their hormonal contraception.
One study found that in some women, being on hormonal contraception can stabilize symptoms related to mood and may reduce mood-related symptoms in women with psychiatric disorders. Women with psychiatric disorders who experience improvements in mood related to taking hormonal birth control may notice a worsening of symptoms when they cease use.
Due to the changes in hormones, some women may feel more irritable or experience mood shifts when they come off hormonal birth control. Other women may not notice this at all.
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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, wont 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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Emerging Research: Nomegestrol Acetate With 17
Currently, all available oral contraceptive pills affect mood. We have shown that nomegestrol acetate with 17-beta estradiol is better tolerated by women with mood disorders.30 Our pilot study was a single-site clinical follow-up study that assessed the tolerability and subjective mood response to nomegestrol acetate 17-beta estradiol. Based on a sample of 49 women, we showed that women report a positive mood response and reduced self-reported overall DASS-21 score after taking nomegestrol acetate with 17-beta estradiol compared to previously used oral contraceptive pills.30 Future research with a larger sample is required.
Nomegestrol acetate with 17-beta estradiol is a monophasic preparation with an extended regimen of 24 active pills followed by four placebo pills. The drug can cross the bloodbrain barrier, interact with serotonin receptors and regulate cerebral blood flow to the amygdala, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and many other areas of the brain involved in depression.31 Women who develop depression soon after taking other oral contraceptive pills may better tolerate nomegestrol acetate with 17-beta estradiol. This is consistent with its successful use in clinical practice for the off-label treatment of mood symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder.30
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Happy Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to breaking down stigma and supporting those with mental illnesses and their loved ones. To honor the month, here are a few ways that birth control can help support your mental health and help you say #ThxBirthControl.
It can give you a sense of control
As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, I rely on my IUD to give me peace of mind in a world where I otherwise feel out of control. A queer friend of mine with an anxiety disorder prefers to use birth control pills to completely suppress her period. For her, being in control of when and if she gets her period is not only convenient, but also reminds her that shes in charge of her body. All our experiences are unique, so always speak to a health care provider and mental health professional about any questions you have.
It can alleviate some causes of depression
Hormonal birth control can help alleviate the depression symptoms associated with conditions such as premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder . For many people, birth control helps to manage and even improve their moods and overall mental health.
There are many types of birth control. How can you know which will best fit your needs? A conversation with your health care provider is essential. Here are some of the things you may want to consider:
Anxiety After Stopping Birth Control: What You Need To Know
Anxiety is a mood disorder with physical and psychological effects. It impacts everyone differently but is usually characterized by intense feelings of worry and concern. Anxiety symptoms are wide-ranging and include butterflies in the stomach, difficulty concentrating, nausea, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and light-headedness.
Evidence¹ shows that anxiety in women tends to fluctuate according to hormonal changes. Significant hormonal changes typically occur during puberty, the time period after giving birth, and during menopause. It is also very common for anxiety to increase before menstruation as many as 58%¹ of women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder , a mood disorder that causes severe anxiety.
There is a strong link¹ between hormonal fluctuation and anxiety. Since hormonal contraceptives like the birth control pill, intrauterine device , injection, and implant work by changing your hormone levels, withdrawing them can trigger or worsen anxiety.
It can be worrying if you have anxiety symptoms after stopping hormonal birth control, but this is quite normal. Although anxiety is temporary for many women, it is helpful to know how long it might last and when to see a doctor
Have you considered clinical trials for Anxiety?
We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Anxiety, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available – and be a part of finding a cure.
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What We Know So Far
As mentioned above, birth control has not been proven or disproven as a cause of depression. However, many women complain about depression as a side effect. It is crucial that we do not take these claims lightly as depression is a serious illness that must be approached with sensitivity and caution. To be dismissive could be life threatening to some. If you or anyone who may be close to you are facing these symptoms, get in touch with a specialist to help talk you through it. We need to take care of our minds in order to take care our bodies, lives and those we love.
Do Antidepressants Such As Lexapro Affect Birth Control
No, antidepressants such as Lexapro do not affect birth control. However, if you are taking any other medication, it is critical you talk to your doctor before starting birth control to avoid any negative reactions.
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.
For a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, their fears must be considered out-of-proportion to the situation, not age-appropriate, and also impair the persons ability to function normally. There are many different types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Anxiety disorders are incredibly common and will affect up to 30% of all U.S. adults at some point in their lives. Though anxiety disorders are common and often debilitating, they are highly treatable. A combination of medication and talking therapy can go a long way to treating most cases of anxiety. Medications commonly used to treat depression, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, are also used to treat anxiety disorders.
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Birth Control And Depression
In the largest epidemiological study to date, researchers followed over one million women ages 15-34 for 13 years and found that women were more likely to be diagnosed with depression after being given the pill. In fact, women prescribed combination pills were 23% more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants.
This is concerning, but perhaps the most startling finding was that teens were 80% more likely to develop depression when prescribed the combined pill. The progestin-only pill wasnt much better, increasing teens risk 2 fold.
This was a groundbreaking study because it was the first time a study of this size showed a relationship between birth control and depression. While other studies have been unable to show a definitive association between the pill and depression, this study finally gave women a good look at the risk of birth control and depression.
Increased Suicide Risk
A more recent study has shown youngwomen who use hormonal contraceptives, including the birth control pill, the ring, IUDs and the patch have three times the risk of suicide compared to women who have never used hormonal birth control.
Epidemiological studies can have many variables that make it difficult to show cause and effect. But, these findings should give us all pause with regards to how freely hormonal contraceptives are prescribed.
Who Is at Risk for Depression on Birth Control?
No Jason Bourne Is Not The Real Cia
Some womens vulnerability to anxiety and mood disorders may be explained by their estrogen levels, according to new research by Harvard and Emory University neuroscientists presented in this months issue of Biological Psychiatry.
Low estrogen levels can make women more vulnerable to trauma at some points in their menstrual cycles, while high levels of the female sex hormone can partially protect them from emotional disturbance, the research suggests. Since birth control pills affect estrogen levels, they might one day be used to help prevent post-traumatic stress.
Depression and anxiety disorders are twice as common in women as in men, but the reason for this gender difference is unclear. The new work, reviewed by Harvards Mohammed Milad and colleagues in a commentary, suggests that women are most at risk for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder when their estrogen is low during the menstrual cycle.
PTSD is a disorder of recovery, said author Milad, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital . Men may be less at risk because testosterone, the male sex hormone, is converted into estrogen in the male brain, and so is more stable in their brains than in womens.
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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.
Whats The Deal With Dosage
You BC dosage might affect your mood. This might be extra true if you miss a dose or take it at different times. You should totes try to take the pill at the same time each day.
Stopping the pill can trigger a bunch of different symptoms. You might feel like you did before you started the pill. Patience is key here. It takes time for your body to reset itself.
Pro tip: You should finish your last pill pack before you quit cold turkey. If you stop in the middle it can mess with your cycle. Irregular periods are hella annoying and can make you crankier than normal.
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How Will It Affect Any Preexisting Conditions
If you have any preexisting conditions, youll want to talk with a healthcare professional about how different birth control might impact your condition or any medications you take.
This is especially important if you have a history of depression, PMS, PMDD, or another mood disorder, since some people have reported a worsening of symptoms after starting hormonal contraceptives.
A good place to start is with your healthcare professional, if you already have one you like.
You have other options, too:
Mental Health Unintended Pregnancy And Reproductive Outcomes
Women with depression and anxiety experience an elevated risk of unintended pregnancy, and those pregnancies may be more likely to end in induced abortion, compared to women without depression and anxiety.3 Depression and anxiety are precursors to a host of negative perinatal and postpartum outcomes, including maternal and infant morbidity, obstetrical complications, preterm labor, stillbirth, low birth weight, and antepartum and postpartum depression,4 especially when pregnancies are unintended. Poor, underinsured, undereducated, and minority women disproportionately suffer mental health morbidity, low rates of detection and treatment and adverse reproductive outcomes, including unintended pregnancy.1,2,5
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