emotional side effects the pill

Emotional Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

The emotional side effects of birth control pills have been reported by women since the introduction of the pill in the 1960's. Anxiety, mood swings, depression, and feelings that something is not quite right are among the many emotional symptoms my patients express after beginning the pill. And they are not alone. Jump on any online forum of women chatting about birth control side effects and you will read thousands of women reporting that their mood changed when they started birth control.

Emotional Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

Sadly, women are often dismissed when they question the impact of the pill on their mood. Why is that? Because while women's stories are consistent, there hasn't been substantial science to show causation.

That's right. Because we lack a study to show causation women's stories are dismissed.

Never mind she's the one living in her body.

Never mind women have reported this since the early trials of the pill.

Never mind it is on the package insert as a known side effect.

As a doctor, I believe we shouldn't need a research study to believe our patients. And your doctor shouldn't wait for a study to believe you. If you're reporting new onset of mood symptoms after starting birth control then that deserves some investigation.

Hormonal birth control has been associated with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood Swings
  • Crying easily
  • Irritability
  • Being prescribed anti-depressants
  • Increased risk of suicide

The Birth Control Pill Is Associated with Emotional Side Effects

Sure, we don't have the studies to be able to say the birth control pill causes depression, anxiety, or other less favorable emotional states. But we do have studies showing associations.

In a 2016 study in JAMA, it was found that in women who began the combination pill (ethinyl estradiol and progestin) there was a 23% increased likelihood they'd be later prescribed an anti-depressant for their mood symptoms.

Studies have shown young women who use hormonal contraceptives, including the IUD, have three times the risk of suicide compared to women who have never used hormonal birth control. Yikes!

The connection between our mood and birth control is such an important part of the conversation before a woman begins birth control and certainly while she is on it. This is why I wrote an entire chapter about the mood-birth control connection in Beyond the Pill.

Chapter 9, Take Charge of Your Mood Swings, Anxiety, and Depression is aimed at helping women understand how hormones in general can be at the root of their mood symptoms and provide solutions on what to do about it. I also detail what we do know from the research regarding the emotional side effects associated with the birth control pill.

In this chapter of Beyond the Pill you'll learn:

  • How the pill can make you feel depressed
  • The two primary risk factors for developing depression while on the pill
  • How the pill interferes with your serotonin production
  • The connection between anxiety, your hormones, and the pill
  • How the pill causes nutrient deficiencies—and what you can do about it

And you'll get in on the key steps of the Brighten Mood Mastery Protocol (EMBODY) to fast track your healing and ditch those unwanted mood symptoms.

By the way, when you grab Beyond the Pill anywhere in the world in any format, I'm also including some gratitude gifts (because I'm so grateful for your support). One of the gifts includes a video interview with my dear friend Dr. Joan Rosenberg where we discuss strategies for managing anxiety naturally.

Grab your Beyond the Pill Book Bonuses Heres!

Solutions to Heal Your Mood

In Beyond the Pill I take you through the full protocol I use in my clinic. One of the steps is to consider beginning supplements. I review 9 different supplements that can help and within the book, I guide you in understanding how they can offer support.

One in particular I find is helpful for many patients in supporting their overall mood and health is Turmeric Boost.

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Boost

Whether you're on these hormones or you're coming off, turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory that 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.

Depression, Mood Swings, Weight Gain – Maddy's Story

Weight gain, mood swings and severe depression were the main side effects Maddy experienced with going on the pill. As I explain in Beyond the Pill, there are several reasons why we can experience weight gain on hormonal birth control and there are several studies that have shown a correlation between hormonal birth and depression.

For Maddy, she struggled for years with severe depression after beginning hormonal birth control. It was finally after she met with a therapist who encouraged her to track her cycles and come off of birth control. Maddy wasn't totally ready for what came next.

Maddy experienced post-birth control syndrome symptoms and lost her period for a year after discontinuing the pill. Her periods were regular prior to starting hormonal birth control, so this was a new experience for her. But her mood improved in a short period of time and her mom actually said to her after she came off the pill, “wow, we finally got Maddy back!”

Maddy discusses how dietary shifts helped her get her period back and improve her health overall. I hope you enjoy this discussion and the other Beyond the Pill discussions on my channel.

Maddy's Story of Mood Swings, Depression, and The Emotional Side Effects of Birth Control Pills



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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is one of the leading experts in women’s medicine and is a pioneer in her exploration of the far-reaching impact of hormonal birth control and the little known side effects that impact health in a large way. In her best selling book, Beyond the Pill, she shares her clinical protocols aimed at supporting women struggling with symptoms of hormone imbalance, including Post-Birth Control Pill Syndrome and birth control related side effects. A trained nutritional biochemist and Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Brighten is the founder and Clinic Director at Rubus Health, an integrative women’s medicine clinic. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and has been featured in prominent media outlets such as Forbes, Cosmopolitan, ABC news, and the New York Post. Read more about me here.