For many women, taking birth control medication is a necessity in the interest of the type of passionate, spontaneous, and supremely enjoyable sex life they want to have with their partners. It’s nice to have the reassurance that these medications are as safe as they are effective, and come without much in the way of disadvantageous side effects for women. Now, to be perfectly honest, very few women if any will ever be receptive to the suggestion that they’re being overly emotional. That’s perfectly fine, but it’s also fair to ask can birth control make you emotional?
That’s a question that may be more likely to be asked by women who are already predisposed to more severe mood or emotional swings. That can be the case for both women AND men, but the fact of the matter is that men – at least for now (a male birth control pill is in development) – don’t have to be concerned about adverse reactions of this type to pharmaceutical medication. Indeed, ‘can birth control make me emotional?’ isn’t a query we can’t expect to hear from any man anytime soon.
For women, however, it’s one that is worthy of some clarification for all the many women of different ages who use birth control. Let’s get to the bottom of whether birth control makes you emotional is an indisputable fact, or if it’s not as much of a far-reaching truth as some suggest it is.
Less Control, Less Balance
The first important thing to consider is that hormonal birth control can actually help keep mood swings related to PMS and PMDD (premenstrual depressive disorder) in check. So, the long and short; can birth control make you emotional? Yes, it can but it may well not. Many women find that hormonal birth control actually works to elevate mood and raise energy levels, and it is true that hormonal balance response is very much dependent on the individual woman’s physiology, and endocrine levels and her natural hormone regulation processes.
But let’s take a more elemental and systemic look at why do birth control pills affect emotions and mood.
It’s likely that the finding of a UCLA research study is the best way of us doing that succinctly. This study determined that the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex of the brain become thinner in women taking birth control pills. These regions of the brain are pivotal in determining how a human is able to regulate their emotions. The expression ‘not too high, not too low’ is a good fit here.
Then there is also the role of how oral contraceptives promote oxidative stress, and this stress makes it even more challenging for a woman to ‘overrule’ certain emotional triggers.
Another reason why birth control makes you moody and emotional is the way that oral contraceptives deplete certain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that deplete 2 of the major brain neurotransmitters – serotonin and GABA – that regulate mood and promote a state of emotional balance. Among these, Vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc are the most noteworthy.
Lastly, oral contraceptives promote a gradual rise in copper levels in the body, and this also undermine emotional balancing as the copper messes with catecholamine levels and result in the woman being ‘overstimulated’. How this can factor into over-emotional responses should be fairly self-explanatory
Does Birth Control Make You Depressed?
Some of you may then proceed to ask – does birth control make you depressed? This is again very much dependent on the individual, but there have been clinical studies undertaken that show that there is a link between hormonal birth control (and any type of oral contraceptive) use and greater incidence of developing or worsening depression.
However, it should be mentioned here that there are no determined drug interaction risks between antidepressants, and this applies to the most common type taken by women – SSRIs. Now that that has been established, we can discuss further how birth control pills contribute to mental health issues and emotional instability.
Can Birth Control Cause Anxiety?
This will of course cover the next most common query ventured on this subject, that being can birth control cause anxiety? It can, and for much of the same hormonal imbalance and genetic response predispositions we’re highlighting here.
The synthetic hormones in depression and anti-anxiety medication increase thyroid and sex hormone binding globulin, and this lowers the levels of testosterone and thyroid hormone available for circulation.
Estrogen and progesterone are sex hormones incorporated into birth control medications, and they do impact the way the person processes emotional impulses. These risks appear to be more pronounced for younger women, and especially so for those taking progestin-only birth control pills.
Can birth control make you emotional? It certainly can, but what you can take from this today is that the extent to which it might is really very much dependent on your unique physiology as a woman. Don’t assume that it will and make family planning and healthy sex life decisions based on the possibility of something.
Does birth control make you depressed? Anxious? Again, it can but it may well not and you shouldn’t also immediately attribute any mental health concerns or need to take antidepressant medication with your use of birth control.
Birth control pills with lowers does of estrogen and progesterone may be a better choice for women who have emotional issues from birth control pill use. Last but not least, having a partner who is both extremely loving and understanding of the female condition (as fortunately most men are) is very important for a healthy relationship.
Learn more about Birth Control by browsing our other blog posts and options pages.
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