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Motherhood is an exciting journey, but not without its fair share of drama. One challenge that you may face is finding the perfect birth control method that suits your lifestyle and family planning goals minus the potential mood swings.
While birth control primarily serves to prevent pregnancy and regulate menstrual cycles, you might wonder: does birth control make you moody? Let us explore this question and dissect how it might affect your mental health.
First things first, understand that every woman’s experience is unique, and not all women will react the same way to various birth control methods.
Getting to Know Birth Control
Birth control, or contraception, encompasses various methods to prevent pregnancy. But for the sake of this article, we will focus on hormonal birth control because, well, they are the ones that can influence your emotions a bit.
There are many birth control options out there, and the choice you make depends on your health, family planning aspirations, and your need for protection against sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor is your go-to guide to help you figure out which option is your best match. Below are examples of hormonal birth control options:
- Birth Control Pills are oral medications that contain hormones (usually estrogen and progestin) to prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus, and make the uterine lining less receptive to a fertilized egg.
- Birth Control Patch: A patch containing hormones is applied to the skin, releasing hormones into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy.
- Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera): An injection of a progestin hormone given every three months to prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation and thickening cervical mucus.
- Birth Control Implant (e.g., Nexplanon): A small, flexible rod is inserted under the skin of the upper arm, releasing hormones to prevent pregnancy for several years.
- Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) are small, T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus by your doctor. Available as hormonal (releasing progestin) or non-hormonal (copper) varieties.
- Emergency Contraception: This is a form of birth control used after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure. It is often called morning-after pills and can prevent pregnancy if taken within a specified time frame.
- Contraceptive Vaginal Ring: A flexible plastic ring inserted into the vagina, releasing hormones to prevent pregnancy.
RELATED READ: Breastfeeding as Birth Control: Does It Work?
Understanding Hormonal Birth Control
Hormonal birth control operates by altering the hormonal balance in your body. The pills usually contain synthetic forms of estrogen and progestin, mimicking the hormones naturally produced by your ovaries.
These hormones regulate your menstrual cycle and prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovaries).
Additionally, hormonal birth control thickens cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to reach an egg, and thins the lining of your uterus, reducing the likelihood of implantation if fertilization occurs.
All these combined actions help prevent pregnancy.
The Mood and Hormone Connection
To understand how birth control might affect your mood, let us talk about hormones and emotions.
Hormones like estrogen and progesterone have a say in your brain chemistry. They can influence neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, chemicals in your brain that generally cause positive mood and emotional well-being.
However, too much serotonin can tip the scales toward anxiety, which is why some women notice changes in their mood while on birth control.
How Birth Control Can Play with Your Mood
Now, the impact of birth control on your mood is like a fingerprint—unique to you. Although some women may find their mood sailing smoothly, others might experience a bumpier ride. It is all about individual differences. With that being said, here are ways hormonal birth control can affect your mood.
Hormonal birth control can mess with your natural hormonal balance. These fluctuations may affect neurotransmitters associated with mood regulation. Some women may be more sensitive to these changes, leading to mood-related side effects.
Pre-existing mental health conditions:
If you have a history of depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, hormonal birth control may interact with these. You should discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider to help you decide the best contraceptive option for you.
While some birth control methods can improve skin conditions, such as acne, hormonal changes might also stir up skin issues, potentially impacting self-esteem and mood.
Not all hormonal birth control effects have side effects. For some women, they reduce premenstrual symptoms like mood swings, irritability, and depression.
Additionally, it can provide relief from conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, potentially improving overall mental health.
RELATED READ: PMS VS Pregnancy Symptoms: How To Tell The Difference
Choosing the Right Birth Control
As a woman, you really can not shy away from the topic of birth control. We have established that hormonal birth control is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy. However, the side effects on mental health are worth considering.
So, choosing the right one is necessary. Find below some tips that can guide you:
Consult a Healthcare Provider:
Speaking with your doctor or a healthcare provider can help you choose a birth control method that aligns with your health needs and lifestyle. Do not hesitate to ask about different options and their potential mood effects.
Monitor Your Mental Health:
Keep an eye on your emotional well-being while on birth control. If you notice significant mood changes, don’t keep it to yourself. Discuss the news with your doctor promptly.
Consider Non-Hormonal Alternatives:
If you are worried about the effects of hormonal birth control on your mood, explore non-hormonal options like barrier methods (e.g., condoms), copper IUDs, or fertility awareness methods.
Do not forget the power of lifestyle. Diet, exercise, and stress management can influence your mood. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce mood-related side effects of birth control.
Coping strategies for hormonal birth control
Embarking on the hormonal birth control journey may come with a few twists and turns, but fear not. There are some friendly tips to make this journey a breeze. Here are some helpful strategies to cope with hormonal birth control:
Keep the Communication Lines Open:
Maintain a transparent line of communication with your healthcare provider. Share any worries, mood changes, or side effects you might be feeling. Your provider can offer insights, adjustments, or alternative options that better suit your well-being.
Keep a Mood Journal:
Track your emotional well-being in a mood journal ( a diary for your feelings). Jot down any shifts, highs, or lows you notice throughout your hormonal cycle or birth control journey. This record can be a valuable reference during discussions with your healthcare provider.
Give yourself a little check-in regularly. How are you feeling? Are there any patterns or trends in your mood? This self-awareness can empower you to make informed decisions about your reproductive health.
Explore Non-Hormonal Options:
If hormonal birth control doesn’t align with your emotional needs, consider non-hormonal alternatives. Options such as barrier methods, copper IUDs, or fertility awareness methods provide contraception without hormonal influence.
Adjust Your Lifestyle:
Fine-tune your lifestyle to support emotional well-being. Focus on a balanced diet, regular exercise, and effective stress management. These factors can contribute to minimizing mood-related side effects.
Lean on Your Support System:
Share your experiences with trusted friends, family, or a partner. Having a support system provides understanding and encouragement. Sometimes, a supportive conversation can alleviate the emotional aspects of hormonal birth control.
Take the time to learn about the specific hormonal birth control method you’re using. Understand how it works, its potential side effects, and what to expect. Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your reproductive health.
Incorporate Stress-Relief Techniques:
Integrate stress-relief techniques into your daily routine. Whether it’s mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities you love, finding moments of calm can positively impact your mood and overall well-being.
Make self-care a priority. Set aside time for activities that bring joy and relaxation. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a warm bath, or enjoying a hobby, moments of self-care can recharge and uplift your spirits.
Know When to Seek Professional Help:
If mood changes significantly impact your daily life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Mental health professionals can provide support, coping strategies, and interventions tailored to your needs.
Do not forget that your journey with hormonal birth control is unique. You can navigate the path with greater confidence and well-being by incorporating these practical coping tips and staying attuned to your body and emotions.
Alternatives to hormonal birth control
If hormonal methods are not your cup of tea, fear not. Non-hormonal birth control methods, like copper IUDs and barrier methods, will generally not stir up your hormonal balance and are less likely to cause mood changes. Here is a quick rundown of some non-hormonal options:
- Condoms: Male and female condoms are physical barriers that prevent sperm from reaching the egg. They also provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Diaphragm: A diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped cup that is placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix and prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
- Cervical Cap: Similar to the diaphragm, the cervical cap is a small, cup-shaped device that is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix and block sperm.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs):
- Copper IUD: Unlike hormonal IUDs, the copper IUD does not release hormones. It creates an unfriendly environment in the uterus for sperm and eggs, preventing fertilization.
Natural Family Planning:
- Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM): This involves tracking menstrual cycles, monitoring basal body temperature, and observing changes in cervical mucus to identify fertile and non-fertile periods.
- Calendar Method: Avoiding intercourse during the estimated fertile days based on past menstrual cycles.
- Withdrawal Method (Pull-Out Method): This method involves the man withdrawing his penis from the vagina before ejaculation, reducing the chance of sperm reaching the egg.
- Spermicides are chemical substances that kill or immobilize sperm. They can be used alone or in combination with barrier methods.
- Surgical procedures like tubal ligation for women or vasectomy for men permanently prevent the release of eggs or the passage of sperm.
Remember, while these methods are available, their effectiveness varies, and they might not guard against sexually transmitted infections. Your healthcare professional is your best guide to picking the most suitable non-hormonal birth control method based on your health, lifestyle, and preferences.
While hormonal birth control is a safe contraceptive choice for many moms, you should be aware of its potential impact on your mental health. Mood changes are possible! Some women may be more sensitive to these effects than others.
Remember, every woman’s experience is different, and open communication with your healthcare provider is the solution. Together, you can find the best contraceptive option that suits your needs while prioritizing your mental well-being. Stay informed, listen to your body, and look after yourself, super moms!